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Hotel Bel-Air - Afternoon Tea (Holiday)

Hey guys,

I will be celebrating my birthday and I've always wanted to do a ladies' afternoon tea ( I never have). I didn't realize how fast these places book up! I was able to snag a reservation at Hotel Bel-Air although I have read some bad user reviews about it on Trip Advisor and CitySearch websites. Can anyone elaborate on the afternoon tea experience at Hotel Bel-Air? Would it be better to save the $55/ person and do a nice lunch somewhere else?

I appreciate any input.


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  1. The Peninsula in Beverly Hills also does a nice tea..the Bel Air Hotel is beautiful but I have only been there for lunch, not tea.

    2 Replies
    1. re: holleygolitely

      Thanks! I actually am on the waitlist for the Peninsula ( I read some amazing reviews). But seems like it will be a long shot since I was told that there are 10 parties waitlisted before me!

      1. re: lemonbalm

        Tea at the Peninsula is worth waiting for. You might want to have lunch someplace nice this year (maybe the Ivy?) and go to the Peninsula next year. I've heard that the Ritz Carlton has a nice tea, but I don't know first hand.

    2. Next time I am definitely making my reservation at the Peninsula a month in advance!

      I just found out that Barney's Greengrass restaurant can accomodate my party as well. How is it there? That leaves me with these 2 options: Hotel Bel-Air or Greengrass?

      Opinions? I also have friends coming in from San Francisco. So I want to show them a good time as well.

      Thank you!

      2 Replies
      1. re: lemonbalm

        I haven't had high tea at the Bel Air, but I've had some great dinners and brunches there. I think it's a beautiful place for a special occasion.

        1. re: LMelba

          A group of us from work did tea there last holiday season. It was very nice, service was good and their holiday tea blend was very nice. I think it would be better food than the Ivy! I loved my experience at the Peninsula, but that was 4 years ago. The only one I didn't enjoy the food at was Casa del Mar. Peninsula is definitely #1 but the Bel Air was very nice.

      2. I've had afternoon tea at the Bel Air many times. It's quite good and definitely on par with the tea at the Peninsula. If the weather is nice, the patio is quite pleasant.

        1. Although Hotel Bel-Air is a really lovely location, I don't think their high tea is worth what they charge. It's decent, just terribly overpriced. I've had others recommend the Peninsula, so it may indeed be worth the wait.

          1. Thanks for all the input. I think I may keep my reservation and just see how it is. I'm definitely reserving for the Peninsula soon.

            1. I"ve been to both. (excuse me, but why are people responding without information?)

              The settings for both are fine, the peninsula is a bit more relaxed and has the feel of a hotel lobby, albeit an elegant one. The bel-air is served on the patio and in the dining room (the hotel doesn't have a real lobby to speak of).

              The bel-air had a larger selection of savories and sweets. The peninsula was more limited but the food was of very high quality. The tea itself, both are fine. I don't remember what the peninsula cost but I believe it was a bit less expensive than the $55 you quoted (which I think is a bit high).

              The peninsula describes the space as "the living room". It's just an extension of the lobby as I recall. you sit either at small tables or if you're a large party on a couch. options are $19, 29, 39, 49, based on scones or sandwiches "caviar cake" etc.

              The bel -air offers but one tea at $49. IN DECEMBER ONLY (as per website) they have a special $55 holiday tea. For $6 difference, I wouldn't call it a deal breaker.

              I will say that for what you get, the $39 option at the Peninsula is certainly fine. The less expensive options don't get you much but the experience, and frankly, I don't find the room at the peninsula lovely or enthralling or anything enough to warrant that. To be fair, both are quite expensive but have nice settings and are fine for a special occasion.
              On these kinds of occasions, i don't know what etiquette demands. I don't know if it's customary for your friends to pay for themselves and for you, as you've chosen the location, or if you are the hostess and are to buy for yourself and your guests. then again, i'm unaware of the means of everyone involved, so I'll just say Tea at the Bel-Air is a lovely experience. It's priced to be out of the daily course of things for most people, but it's a great way to celebrate a special occasion and the patio and dining room are beautiful. Then again, i've had breakfasts (birthday breakfasts) at the bel-air on the patio for a bit less than $49 or $55 a head and the food was marvelous and the service impeccable.

              In the neighborhood, quite nice and a bit less expensive, look at Ingrid's cafe on little santa monica towards century city
              price at diff levels - $10 -$24 with a special for two at $60 (2x30)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jerome

                Wow extremely helpful post! Thanks!

              2. Have been to the Hotel Bel Air MANY times for afternoon tea. If you have never been I can highly recommend this place it has a certain tourist appeal, as for a traditional tea...it is rather odd to be eating in a restaurant rather than a lobby lounge but the location is incomparable if you have never been. Beyond that the Peninsula is ok, service is spotty if there are saudi's there because they will cater to them. Another excellent choice is the Montage in Beverly Hills or the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Hope this helps

                1 Reply
                1. re: ju1244

                  The entire Hotel Bel Air is closed for the next year and half to two years for a complete remodel. Check back in 2011 for an update.