English High Tea
Post wedding just the two of us afternoon soiree --- would like it to be special and elegant. Judging from the posts, it looks like the Willard, Mayflower, 4 Seasons, Ritz, Hillwood, Jefferson, Park Hyatt have tea and the works, but since some of these posts are a little dated, I'm interested in some recent experiences. Do you have any rants or raves about any of these places, or other suggestions?
Avoid the Willard. It used to be my favorite spot years ago, but the food has really gone downhill. They serve you in the main hallway (used to be in one of their restaurants) - so you feel on display throughout the service, as you are literally sitting in the hall! Also the tea sandwiches are on very dry, stale bread - but it seems they are meant to be that way - we sent ours back, they sent out fresh sandwiches and they were still stale tasting. The only decent things about the whole experience were the harpist and the tea itself - I believe they have a "tea sommelier" - and their teas (loose leaf) are the most amazing, aromatic teas I have ever tasted. The harpist was also a nice touch. However, I go for the full experience, so with the bad food and bad atmosphere, I would not go back. The Four Seasons is decent, the Ritz in Tysons Corner is decent and I have also enjoyed the Park Hyatt and the Jefferson (before they closed for renovations).
I had tea at the Jefferson and loved it. Their House tea is a mix of English Breakfast and Earl Grey. The best were the scones that they didn't put into the oven until you arrive. So around about the time you get to letting your tea steep a cool a bit enough to drink, they come piping hot out of the oven. The tea sandwiches were pretty forgettable -- the noraml cucumber and salmon affairs. I like the little touches like the clotted cream and the quiet service.