Saturday, November 21, 2015

Afternoon tea at St. Regis New York: Modern luxury with gilded age past

Rachel ready for afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel New York
A trip to New York in July was filled with ties to the Gilded Age, staying at the Waldorf Astoria, visiting the Vanderbilt mansion and afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel.

The Astor legacy still part of Manhattan
Inspired by these historic places, I am now reading up on the one per centers of the 19th century. "When the Astors Owned New York" by Justin Kaplan is an interesting, easy read about this family dynasty that were instrumental in creating the luxury hotel industry. John Jacob Astor IV built the St. Regis in 1904, seven years after the opening of the Astoria Hotel (later to be combined with his cousin's Waldorf Hotel).

Gilded moldings, muraled walls and crystal chandeliers keep the ties to the past
Afternoon tea at St. Regis has been on my wish list since 2007, when I took a one-on-one tea tour of Manhattan with Elizabeth Knight, former tea sommelier of this beautiful hotel. During the tour, we made a quick stop to view the tea lobby, but we didn't have time to partake in a full-blown afternoon tea.

Contemporary and vintage mix well with tasty treats and excellent service
It's been remodeled to a more contemporary decor since my last visit and looking just a little different than its photos in Bruce Richardson's, "The Great Tea Rooms of America",  it still has the familiar and elegant flourishes, with ties to its rich origins, such as the muraled walls, gilded moldings, and imposing crystal chandeliers.
Now the tables are covered in grey tablecloths with sleek, suede cushioned chairs in a matching hue. The table china is contemporary in design as well, white, glossy and unadorned except for the flowery-edged plates of the three-tier serving tray.

Savories include  tea sandwiches along with a mini quiche

But, of course, what makes the afternoon tea exceptional is the food and service and, in our experience, found both scored high. Savories came in a variety of offerings, including traditional tea sandwiches along with a mini quiche. 

Yummy scones were served with cream, lemon curd and jam.
Scones were delicious and served with cream, lemon curd and jam. Desserts were beautiful and tasty with an assortment of cookies, macarons, and chocolate treats.

Tealeaves was the tea that was used. We chose the St. Regis' house tea as well as the organic jasmine pearl. Both were brewed to perfection.

Tealeaves tea is served
Our waiters were most accommodating, bringing us the tea container for personal inspection when we asked about the tea, and sending us home with a St. Regis "doggie bag" of sweets and savory leftovers to be enjoyed later at our hotel.

Showcase exhibits photos from movies filmed at St.Regis
After tea, Rachel and I did a quick tour of the St. Regis, ending up (no surprise) in the gift shop. A showcase along one hallway exhibits photos from famous movies filmed at the hotel, including "The Godfather" and "The Devil Wears Prada".  We say, afternoon tea should receive top billing!

Enjoying afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel

Apres tea, going home with a sac de chien,
An afternoon tea at the St. Regis is a delightful blend of the past and present served up with delicious sweets and savories. Contemporary comfort with vintage flair, you'll feel among the top tier with tea at St, Regis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great and yummy time. And you both are looking spectacular. Enjoyed your post.