Disappointment at Ritz Carlton Pasadena afternoon tea
We've done most the big hotel tea's (Bel Air, Biltmore, Four Seasons, Peninsula, Regent Beverly Wilshire) so Ritz Carlton was the last on our hit list. So to do something different for our anniversary (6 years), I made the reservation about 3 weeks ago. The room is quite pretty as is the rest of the hotel. We arrive and the room is about half full, but there is only one person working the room (other than the overly loud piano player) and it takes 10 minutes to get the one persons' attention. We are seated and given one menu (they only have one they tell us). After about 10 minutes we are visited by the waitress who takes our order and the speed of the rest of afternoon is just fine. What isn't fine, is by the time we get our food, the room is now 80% and LOUD. So loud I can barely hear my husband across a tiny table. I have never been to a tea like this before. It wasn't relaxing, it wasn't feeling particularly elegant.
The tea sandwiches were tasty, the scones and cream quite good, disappointment that there was no lemon curd. The sweets were disappointing to the point that we barely finished them. They seemed quite stale and overly done with butter (and not in a good way).
After paying the bill, over $60 with tax and tip, I realized going forward, I'd rather get a good steak.
We had tea at the Bel Air today. The room was decorated very nicely for the holidays and felt cozy. The tea choices were good ones, the waiter recomended their holiday blend and it was excellent! The sandwiches were a bit of a disappointment. This group has dined at the Peninsula and at Casa Del Mar, but I think these sandwiches left me the least satisfied. 4 pre-plated sandwiches, one with smoked salmon and caviar that was good, one open faced with cucumber and cream cheese? one with a thick slice of cheddar cheese and some kind of meat (chicken?) that I chose to pass and one other that had a half of green olive and was completely unremarkable.
The scones were pumpkin and with a dish of lemon curd (excellent) and a dish of cream. The next tier of the rack had little muffins with candied fruit and lttle chocolate cups with a filling of fresh berries and some kind of custard. I didn't partake but the general concensus was very positive.
The final tier had 3 kinds of cookies. An oatmeal, a chocolate chip (very good) and one more that I didn't taste. There was more than enough food and the service was excellent. We also had a glass of chardonnay, but that might have been arranged by our hostess. All in all a good, but not fabulous treat.
The Ritz-Carlton tea I had was loud too for the first half (a group of gals were having their bachelorette party there) but it was nice afterwards with the pianist. We sprang for the Royal Tea & the champagne cocktail & goblet of berries were quite good.
And oh wow - lemon curd, I don't think I've seen that at a tea... ever! (except for when I have 'em @ home with my ginger scones)
I went to the Biltmore & Beverly Regent Wilshire too, and frankly I still haven't found a hotel tea that I thoroughly enjoy (or worth the value for me...) The Regent Wilshire tea was nice but portions are too small (could've been error on our part/expectations, in our past experiences, afternoon teas could've been a meal itself,) and there was no lemon sorbet in a chocolate cup that everyone raved about. :(
Of course, wallet allowing, I'm always open to new suggestions for great tearooms, in or out of hotel.