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afternoon tea at hotel - suggestions?

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My mother is coming into town this weekend and I'd like to take her to the quintessential mother-and-daughter experience: afternoon tea. My investigations tell me that L'Espalier (weekends only) and Aujourd 'hui (every day) are among the tops; Park Plaza also offers tea service as well.

I'm looking for a traditional experience, i.e. loose leaf teas, finger sandwiches, petit fours. Does anyone have a favorite location that you can highly recommend?

Thank you!

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  1. The Taj and The Harbor Hotel both have great afternoon teas and I'd rank these as the best in town for a typical afternoon tea treat. L'Espalier's is excellent too but lacks the relaxation (although the food makes up for it). The tea itself is outstanding at Park Plaza but is let down severely by food, service and the setting there. The new Ritz and the Four Seasons (you say Aujourd'hui but actually it's in the Bristol Lounge) both have very uninspiring modern afternoon teas that I wouldn't recommend.

    I've detailed and reviewed all the 11 afternoon teas in town on www.bostonteacup.com I hope it's helpful.

    1. This topic has come up a few times in the past year - this thread has a pretty good rundown of the options:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/479374
      Do a search on the board, though, and you should find several worthwhile threads.

      For many years I was quite fond of tea at the Bristol Lounge (afternoon tea at the Four Seasons is served there, not at Aujourd'hui) but my last experience, about a year and a half ago, was awful. I would like very much to try the Taj and the Boston Harbor Hotel, but haven't yet gotten around to either.

      1. L'Espalier has all that you're asking for plus it's gone after August. I would pick it over the hotel for the beautiful back bay townhouse experience. Ask for a table in the window over looking Gloucester st.

        1. Doesn't the Boston Public Library have a tea room? Or am I misremembering.

          2 Replies
          1. re: resipsaloquitor

            Yes, in Novel Restaurant on the first floor near the courtyard and Cafe.

            http://www.bpl.org/general/restaurant...

            That's the link. Any reports? I haven't tried it yet but may put that on my list if anyone has good things to say.

            1. re: resipsaloquitor

              Sebastians is in there and it is awful

            2. While not in a hotel, Upstairs on the Square has tea in a very fun setting. Check out the menu at http://www.upstairsonthesquare.com/me...

              1 Reply
              1. re: sailorblue

                It's funny, I've never had afternoon tea before in Boston and I just made a spontaneous reservation yesterday to go to Upstairs on the Square. I'm glad so many people seem very fond of it. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.