For years I’ve wanted to try tea at a fancy place in New York. And finally, the time came. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to have afternoon tea at Baccarat Hotel – sipping and noshing all by myself – and it was fantastic. I thought maybe you’d like to hear about my afternoon tea at Baccarat in case you’re considering having tea there too. Here’s what you should expect.
A lavish setting with crystal that goes on for days.
The interior of Baccarat Hotel blew me away. I could’ve been in Paris, but I was on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. Tea takes place in the Grand Salon, which was inspired by the Gallerie de Glaces in Versailles. I knew the decor would be opulent and beautiful, but it was more breathtaking than I could’ve imagined, and surely more dramatic in person than in photos.
Some of the seating is almost throne-like, with faux fur covering the backs. Other areas have plush, comfy sofas or leather club chairs. The crystal chandeliers are a focal point, but there’s so much to take in – every square inch is thoughtfully curated. Pillows, fringe, drapey cascades of fabric, and tons of glass everywhere! Plus, delicious red roses. And the crowd? Surprisingly hip and stylish. I felt like I was in NoMad or NoLIta rather than Midtown.
Three menus to choose from.
I went with the Prince of Wales English Tea at Windsor (classic tea with both sweet and savory bites). But there’s also the Sultan Abdülaziz Turkish Tea at Dolmabahce Palace (for two, and includes Middle Eastern flavors in the canapés), and Tsar Nicholas Caviar Tea at Tsarskoye Selo (for two, and includes Petrossian caviar). Decadent.
A tea sommelier.
Yes, really. Baccarat has an exclusive partnership with Mariage Frères teas and Gabrielle Jammal can recommend and answer tea and pairing questions. You’ll have about 20 teas to choose from, and several belong to the sommelier’s selection.
I am by no means a tea connoisseur, and I’m not a huge tea drinker either. But the tea at Baccarat was the most flavorful and delightful tea I’ve sipped. I went with the exclusive Baccarat Blend to accompany my Prince of Wales English Tea. The tea is from South Africa and made from blended Rooibos. The fragrance is red fruit, spices, and vanilla. I find myself craving tea when I’m sick, but I could swill this tea every day! It was that good.
The food doesn’t just look pretty.
It tastes amazing. Expect canapés and petit fours (finger foods that are the norm for tea) along with fluffy scones alongside Devonshire cream and seasonal gelée (jelly). I saved those and ate them later. 🙂
Champagne is optional, but I highly recommend! I mean, if you’re going to live it up, you might as well go all out. I chose a glass from one of my favorite champagne houses: Ruinart. I sipped a 2004 Blanc de Blancs and a single glass made my tea extra special.
Afternoon tea at Baccarat Hotel is a one-of-a-kind affair, but it is pricey. The English tea is $80 per person, and if you’d like a glass of champagne, it’s $110 or $125. The other tea menus are considerably more expensive. Check out the complete menus here.
To me, tea here is for a special occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary, or in celebration of a personal accomplishment. We all need to pamper ourselves now and then!
I was a guest of the hotel because I was covering for a review in The Telegraph, so I did not pay for my tea. Now that I know what to expect, I can imagine saving up and splurging sometime in the future. Having afternoon tea at Baccarat Hotel is an experience I’ll never forget.
Address: 28 W 53rd Street
Time: 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. (I recommend making a reservation.) 212 790 8867
What to wear: City chic. I wore dressy pants and a tunic top with black stilettos. Some people were way more casual than me, but dressing a little nicer adds to the elegance. Wear something fashionable that you’re comfortable in. And revel in the glamour. Enjoy!
Have you ever had afternoon tea at Baccarat Hotel, or anywhere in NYC?
Top photo via Baccarat Hotel. All others by me.