I’ve always had a great fondness for tea. I still remember peering into our living room as a child and watching the grown-ups take part in what seemed to be a ceremonious occasion. With teacups in hand, they socialized and reminisced about the past as they slowly sipped on the warm brew. Once in a while, someone would notice me eyeing the ceramic pot and gently pour some tea into a saucer so I could partake in the festivities. I became obsessed. Not only did I love the taste, but I was particularly enchanted by the social gatherings; there was something really special about friends coming together to enjoy a pot of tea. So, as many little girls do, I began hosting my own tea parties (naturally, a select group of my stuffed animals were invited)! Flash-forward a couple of decades, and I’m still fascinated by tea culture. So when the Windsor Arms Hotel invited me to indulge in their Afternoon Tea service, I was beyond thrilled.
Nestled on the main floor of the Windsor Arms Hotel, The Tea Room has been serving elegant loose-leaf teas since 1927. The space is oozing with character and divided into three distinct rooms: the Purple Room, a French-style Lobby Tea Room and the Russian Red Tea Room.
When my photog and I arrived, we were warmly greeted by our server, Madison, who guided us into the Purple Room. The space was elegant, but not stuffy: long, wispy curtains adorned the windows, beautiful paintings lined the walls and plush, purple chairs dotted the room. We were seated by the fireplace (an original from the 20s) and given ample time to look over their extensive tea menu.
They have over 40 loose-leaf teas to choose from – everything from Earl Grey and White Tea to Masala Chai and Tisanes (herbal/fruity/floral teas that are naturally caffeine-free). After a long deliberation, I decided to go with the Earl Grey with Roses. It was a nice take on the classic tea; the rose petals rounded out the citrus notes of the bergamot and made for a creamy blend. My photog’s tea was quite different: with hints of vanilla, chocolate and mint, Once Upon A Tea was a rooibos blend that was soothing and mellow.
As we chatted over tea (Downton Abbey styles), our server brought over a tiered tray of goodies: fresh scones, tartlets, petit fours and delicate finger sandwiches (cucumber with sundried tomato paste and dill cream cheese, smoked salmon and wasabi sour cream with salmon caviar, and grilled chicken with granny smith apples, citrus mayonnaise, greek yogurt and chives). Although it didn’t look like a substantial amount of food at first glance, we quickly discovered that the petite treats were quite filling!
We were most impressed by the warm goat cheese and caramelized shallot tart and the scones. In fact, the blackberry and lemon scones were the best I’ve ever had! Served with devon cream and house-made preserves, they were light, fresh and buttery.
Whether you go for the delectable scones, wide range of loose-leaf teas or just to take in the charming ambiance, the Afternoon Tea service at the Windsor Arms Hotel is a luxurious indulgence that I highly recommend!
Some things to note…
- Do yourself a favour and book a reservation before heading over for tea; they serve 700-1000 people a week and can get quite busy!
- Afternoon tea is served daily at 12:30 pm, 1 pm, 3 pm and 3:30 pm. All seatings are a maximum of 2 hrs. Cost: Mon-Fri $38/person, Saturday and Sunday $45/person and holidays are $50/person.
- They’re also the only tea room in the city that serves twilight tea daily at 5:30 pm and 6 pm. Cost: $45/person and $50/person on holidays.
- Oh, and if you want to step up the fancy AND feel good about it, wear a fancy hat to tea and donate $5 to Look Good Feel Better (a charitable organization that supports women with cancer).
Special thanks to Windsor Arms Hotel for hosting us. As always, all reviews and opinions are entirely my own.