By Laura J. Downey
It’s been said that tea was a time for socialite Caroline Astor to “host gatherings with her closest intimates.” And since I rarely have time to get together with some of my dearest divas, I recently took a page from Mrs. Astor’s book. When my girls came to visit me from New York City, we went to The St. Regis Atlanta for Afternoon Tea in the gorgeous tea room at Astor Court.
We relished our nearly three-hour experience at a table next to the 750-plus-pound handblown glass chandelier. It began with our waiter Joseph Warren showing us a case filled with teas. My favorites included a black tea called Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which is a delightful combo of passion fruit, pomegranate, and vanilla, and Harmony, an herbal tea infused with peppermint leaves, chamomile flowers, all-spice, and orange blossoms. But for me, no tea setting is complete without a glass of bubbly! So once our flutes arrived, I made a toast to my girls honoring our nearly 20-year friendship.
One of my favorite parts about having tea is waiting for the scones to arrive at the table. I feel like a little kid waiting to open presents on Christmas Day. When our maple scones arrived, I immediately took one out of the basket and applied jam to it. It was quite the treat—a perfect crunchy outside and soft, doughy inside. That held us over till the tiered circular tray arrived with finger sandwiches such as curried chicken salad (think red grapes, curry mayo, crispy apple and mustard cress on a sesame brioche roll), roasted ham, and crab salad (including butter lettuce, preserved lemon, paprika and smoked cheddar gougère).
After savoring the sandwiches, I immediately went for the tarte tatin and pumpkin pie with vanilla cream. Other sweet options included the apple cider coffee cake, seasonal squash bread pudding, and the chestnut éclair. When it was all said and done, we were more than 100% satisfied. This exquisite experience is to be shared with special friends throughout the year. And if your little ones want to join you next time, take them to Tea With Santa. They can indulge in a peanut butter and jam sandwich or fruit brochettes (bite into berries, pineapple, grapes, melon, and mint syrup) before digging into confections such as a winter wonderland cupcake, peppermint layer cake, gingerbread cookie, or Christmas rice krispies. This fun fete comes with the option to take photos with Santa Claus and his hardworking elves.
No matter the time of year, it’s always the perfect time for tea. Schedule your reservation for an unforgettable experience with friends or family.
Details: The St. Regis Atlanta, 88 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta, GA 30305, marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/details-1/atlxr-the-st-regis-atlanta/