Inspiration Destinations USA New York World’s Best Afternoon Teas 

World’s Best Afternoon Teas 


From lavish le goûter in Paris to quintessentially British spreads in London and caviar service in New York – these are the world’s best afternoon teas. 

We have Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, to thank for the delicate tradition of afternoon tea. As dinner was served fashionably late in 1840, her four o’clock hunger would strike, bringing forth a tray of baked delights. Passed down through generations, this pre-dinner ritual has made its way to the far-flung corners of the globe. From 19th-century opulence in Singapore to globetrotting delicacies in New York, here is our guide to the best decadent pastries, freshly made scones and loose-leaf tea the world over.   

Join us for tea in London on the new season of Luxury Escapes TV, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details.

The Plaza, New York

The Palm Court, The Plaza New York.

Afternoon tea doesn’t get much more iconic than that at The Plaza Hotel. This century-old institution serves its renowned afternoon tea until 4pm from Thursday to Monday, under a resplendent stained-glass dome. Decadent morsels are delivered on a silver wheel and guests can choose from three tiers of indulgence – the Plaza Signature Tea includes a classic New York salmon bagel, freshly baked scones, as well as fluffy sandwiches, while the upgraded Grand Imperial Tea adds champagne and a caviar service. Of course, there is a globetrotting tea selection, which includes a rare Chinese green tea rolled by hand.  

The Kensington, London  

London is the spiritual home of the afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is a tradition deeply brewed into England’s history, so it’s no surprise that London’s The Kensington hosts one of the most opulent afternoons in the world. Its bespoke '80 Days Around the World’ teatime is inspired by Jules Verne’s headstrong hero Phileas Fogg and his attempted circumnavigation of the globe. Follow in Phileas’ footsteps as you’re transported to the far-reaching corners of the world, starting in Yemen with cheesy flatbread, then to India for spiced chutney sandwiches and south to Singapore for pandan and mango delights. This is an afternoon fit for a monarch. 

Raffles, Singapore 

 Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is one of the last remaining great 19th-century hotels and after careful restoration, its palatial heritage has never shone brighter. Be reminded of the extravagance of yesteryear in The Grand Lobby – a place where famous parties once roared and now the elegant setting for an award-winning afternoon tea. Savour a refined selection of amuse-bouche including homemade scones, elegant finger sandwiches and seasonal Singaporean delicacies alongside a curated selection of teas and champagne. Afterwards, be sure to stop by the hotel’s Long Bar, home of the iconic Singapore Sling. 

Observation Deck at 300, Abu Dhabi  

Abu Dhabi is notorious for indulgence and this afternoon ritual is no exception. Sip teas you soak up ear-poppingly high views over the city and Arabian Gulf at the Observation Deck at 300. Hors d’oeuvres are served on a tiered silver platter, which dazzles with the reflection of ruby-red strawberries, delicate tarts, poached salmon and fruity scones. Libations include an unlimited pour of earl grey tea, but the Zinggreen Frost mocktail – made with green tea, lemon and honey – beckons as an icy alternative. 

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong 

Tiffin, The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

The grandeur you have come to expect of Grant Hyatt merges with a distinctly French influence, resulting in the signature afternoon tea at Tiffin, located within Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Served daily until 5pm, this special affair includes a three-layer salver of freshly baked sweet and savoury delicacies, which might include dried blueberry scones with homemade Sicilian lemon curd or a foie gras mousse and fig choux puff. If the table selection doesn’t quite satisfy your hunger, you can help yourself at live dessert stations and an ice cream counter. Even the drinks menu is unique – we recommend sampling the Tiffin Signature Cocktail with English Breakfast tea, Campari, gin, orange juice and egg white.  

The Langham, Melbourne

The Langham, Melbourne has a time-honoured tradition of opulent tea times that date back to 1865 – this is the ornate-china-and-finger-sandwich magic that all your high tea dreams are made of. Live your fairy tale fantasy with bubbly champagne and three tiers of fluffy pastries, scones and sweets made by the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef. A tea sommelier is also on call to determine your perfect blend. For little ones, a Fantasy Afternoon Tea with an equally scrumptious selection is available throughout the week.  

The Londoner Hotel, London

The team at The Stage within The Londoner Hotel take their Champagne Afternoon Tea very seriously, so if you’re looking for a place to pop a bottle and celebrate a special occasion – this is it. The setting is full of glitz and glam, so expect intricately assembled sweets like yuzu yoghurt gateaux, top-shelf bubbles – from Veuve Clicquot to vintage Dom Perignon – and tea from The East India Company’s reserve cellar. Located in the heart of London’s West End, this delicate tasting experience makes for the perfect pre-show soiree.  

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Paris 

Bar les Ambassadeurs, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel.

There are few hotels in the world that boast a reputation quite as illustrious as Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel. This historic luxury venue is the former estate of many a famous French architect, craftsman and artist as well as being the favoured Parisian stay of presidents and celebrities alike. This legendary hotel is dripping in gilded decadence, particularly the cosy Jardin d’Hiver dining room, which hosts the Le Goûter des Lords from Friday to Sunday. Drop clotted cream atop fresh scones, feast on lobster rolls and raspberry pavlova and refresh your palette with a thick Parisian hot chocolate or French 75 cocktail – it’s Parisian high tea as you’ve never experienced before.  

Feature image: The Kensington, London.

Join us for tea in London on the new season of Luxury Escapes TV, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out From “Brr!” to Brilliant: Our Melbourne Winter Guide

About Sofia Calvert
Travel and lifestyle writer → born in Australia, raised in Asia and the South Pacific. Loves craft cocktails and long walks to the hotel pool.

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