Raise a Pinky for Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

Ever since binge-watching Downton Abbey last fall, I’ve been secretly yearning to make high tea part of my daily existence. Alas, modern life doesn’t really allow for that; I’ve had to make do instead with an occasional 3 p.m. Lipton-and-bakery scone combination. So I was pretty excited to learn that The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester is offering what might be the closest thing this side of the pond to a Downton-style afternoon English tea service.

The Ritz’s Hudson Valley Afternoon Tea, served in the Lobby Lounge every Saturday and Sunday in January and February from 2 to 4 p.m., does not disappoint. On a day when freezing rain pelted the glass windows outside, my coworker and I reveled in a prime spot by the lobby’s large modern fireplace, happily indulging in the warm glow and the scrumptious edibles.

Photo by Amy r. Partridge 

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The service includes two options: afternoon tea ($45), or afternoon tea with a mimosa ($55). We chose the latter (When there is an option that includes a mimosa, is there really another possibility??), and thoroughly enjoyed the crisp combination of Lamberti Prosecco with Hudson Valley apple cider and a caramel rim. A wide variety of tea — which arrives in chic white individual pots — includes selections such as Earl Grey Crème, English Breakfast, and Gingerbread Black Tea, among others. Next comes a triple-tiered tower of traditional assorted tea sandwiches (our favorite was the Brie on cranberry-walnut bread with fig paste); homemade scones served with strawberry jam, Devonshire cream, and a made-at-the-hotel Hudson Valley apple butter that I promise you’ll want to spread on everything; plus a generous helping of petit fours that includes fruit tarts, butter cookies, macarons (we fought over the coffee-chocolate one), and chocolate opera cake.

Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

And while you’re at the Ritz, having tea, don’t worry, there are no opera gloves or pearls required; it’s a thoroughly friendly and casual environment. The approach, according to Inderpal Chawla, the hotel’s Chef De Partie, is to fuse the traditional tea service with an updated local flair, centered on renowned Hudson Valley flavors. “Our afternoon tea is a great representation of seasonality in Westchester County,” Chawla says.

RELATED: Celebrate Hot Tea Month in These Hudson Valley Tea Rooms

While you don’t get Carson as your butler, you do get the attentive service that the Ritz is famous for, which includes constantly checking to ensure that your tea pot is filled with piping hot water. All in all, it’s a lovely, cozy, indulgent way to spend a winter weekend afternoon. You may never want to leave.

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Reservations for afternoon tea are required (the hotel only takes 20 reservations per day on Saturday and Sunday) and can be made by calling the Lobby Lounge at 914.467.5717.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester
3 Renaissance Sq, White Plains

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