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Feb 21, 2012 10:26 PM

Afternoon Tea: Belvedere vs Langham vs Montage vs Huntington Library's Rose Tea

We are thinking to have an afternoon tea for a birthday in a really nice setting. Of course, we care about the food, not just the setting.

Has anyone been to some of these places, and can recommend which one we should choose?

or any other place!


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  1. The tea at the Huntington Library, which I do enjoy, is (from what I understand; haven't been to the hotels) a much more casual affair, and this is reflected in the price. Also, it is a buffet (with service for the tea and scones).

    Of course, for the Huntington, you also have to pay admission. But you get to visit the Huntington Gardens & Library for that admission fee. Obviously, that's a completely different experience from a more formal tea at a fancy hotel which does not include meandering around various gardens & admiring the Huntington collection.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jack Flash

      The Huntington tea is definitely casual, and only worth doing if everyone wants to walk around & check out the gardens, which are lovely. I've also tried tea at the Hotel Bel Air (nice but overpriced), Tudor House in Santa Monica (decent, but also casual) & Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena (charming and very English, but a fairly small room, so its workability would depend on the size of your party). If it matters, Rose Tree Cottage was the only one on the list that offered a truly bottomless pot of tea. Their reservation procedure is a bit quirky, so definitely call ahead to sort it out if you want to try it.

      1. re: Jack Flash

        A potential bonus with the Huntington is the Japanese garden reno is pretty much complete and ready to reopen, and it's the garden's 100-year anniversary as well...

      2. I had the Langham tea recently and thought it was terrific. It's a lovely setting, and the food was very good. You can also add champagne. I also hear good things about the Montage. But I haven't done that personally.

        1. I was hoping to hear about the Peninsula's from someone who has done it as I'm on a similar hunt, and I've always been curious about their tea and food. I've seen ladies afternoon tea'ing it on numerous occasions on my way up from valet to the spa. My only observance from those passings by is that the Peninsula's afternoon tea looks pretty formal.

          Does anyone know if Bazaar at the SLS Hotel still has one? It's not described on their website.

          2 Replies
          1. re: waterisgood

            Afternoon tea was moved from the Bazaar to Tres a while back.

            I enjoyed tea at the Langham. Food and desserts are outstanding and the atmosphere is elegant, but not stuffy. The lobby lounge looks out into the Horseshoe Garden.

            I've seen the tea house at the Huntington Library and it's definitely not on par with the other places on your list in terms of setting. I have friends who've had the tea there before, and they report that the food is very average.

            For non-occasions, I usually go to Tea Rose Garden on Raymond in Pasadena.

            1. re: waterisgood

              Agree with everyone's assessment about the Huntington. The only reason to do this is to add-on to something else (in our case a family outing). The food is nothing to get excited about and the atmosphere is less than elegant. When we went, there were kids running around and the food was served buffet style.

              We went to the Peninsula several years ago, and it was the polar opposite. It was quiet, with a harp player in a corner. You select your tea and what kind of food. Then they serve it in a sliver pot, and the food comes to you on a sterling multi-level platter. Quality of the food ranged from pretty good to very good. You can also order champagne if you wish.

            2. Had tea at most of these places and nothing has yet blown me away (compared to other cities, say). Langham was three years ago and it may be different now. The food was just not ultra yummy (sandwiches, scones, etc.). I think, by the way, Chado is solid, if not amazing. I know decor and ambiance is a big part of it, but tea stuff can be so crazy-yummy if it's done well, and I haven't experienced that in L.A. (but have three times over in, say San Francisco, amongst other cities).

              1. I've been to all of these places. The Penninsula has a very elegant and quiet atmosphere. There is usually a harp player. The high tea is pricey but very good and high quality. If you are not dressed nicely, they will give you major attitude. The Montage high tea, is a better deal. It is less pricey, still elegant, but more casual. The Langham, while, not as elegant, was very generous with the portions, and pretty reasonable. The Huntington is a casual buffet, but if you have never been to the museum, and are going, it is a fun place to have tea; especially if the weather is nice. If you are looking for an elegant tea, I also like the Polo Lounge, in the B.H. Hotel. Although it is pricey, I like that they make sure and give everyone one of everything. If you sit outside, it is beautiful, and great people watching. In Pasedena, there is The Rose Tree Cottage, which has a very good and substantial high tea, run an establishment that looks like a house. It is run by a British family. The Millenium Biltmore, in Downtown L.A. Also has an extremely nice, and elegant high tea. It is not as pricey as the ones on the westside, and the old architecture in the hotel is famous. You would probably recognize it from many movies.