It’s that nostalgic, luxurious, 19th century sort of feeling. Perhaps the ornate chinaware, the crystal chandeliers or the vibrant drapes that make Afternoon Tea at the Hotel Windsor create the feeling. I think it’s the art behind it. The practices, traditions and history behind Afternoon Tea make it an art form of itself.
There’s a few simple rules, and by few I mean more then you can remember. Some such as: 1) Your teaspoon should never be left in the teacup whilst drinking. If no longer needed, your teaspoon should be placed on the right hand side of the saucer. 2) Never gesture with your teacup or hold it mid-air. 3) And the list goes on….
If you find yourself in the magical city of Melbourne, it is a must do. Where else would you do it then at one of the oldest grand hotels in the world? The Hotel Windsor is an event of itself, the history is rich as it first opened in 1883. Walking through the long halls filled with large chandeliers and stunning flower arrangements is a reason enough to come into the hotel, but then there’s the claim to fame.
The Afternoon Tea at the Hotel Windsor can be great for a special occasion or great way to spend a cold winter day or even summer afternoon. As the Hotel Windsor invited me to Afternoon Tea, I couldn’t resist the invitation to experience this magic.
A little background: Melbourne was in large settled by the British (still a British colony), so the way of life such as tea is strongly instilled in the lifestyle here in the city. Hotel Windsor lies in the parliament district where many of the royalty would come stay at when in the city. So when they say it’s the “Grand Hotel”, it is, as many of the visitors back in the day were royalty or in law.
Back to the tea. After getting a quick run down of how this sort of thing goes, you start with a glass of champagne and three tiers of deliciousness. Warm scones, little puff pastries stuffed with gruyere and hams, and of course the iconic tea sandwiches. As you start off with these, you start to choose your tea. There are plenty too choose from, my preference, the white peony rose. The tea comes in a piping hot kettle with milk and sugar on the side. As you pour your tea, it can be sweetened and of course a drop or more of milk is customary. After finishing your three tiers, your eyes gaze to the middle of the room, and for good reason.
“Perhaps it was the multiple tiered chocolate fondue fountain or the plethora of decadent treats, but suddenly I forgot that I had already consumed a meal’s worth of food.”
As you walk up to this “roundabout” of carefully crafted desserts, there becomes this inner battle. Your plate is only so big, of course you could take two trips, but lets be logical for a minute, how much can we fit in one trip? Creme brûlée, petit fours, carrot cakes, macaroons, chocolate cakes, fruits, croquembouche, and the list goes on. After a fill up, you head back to your table to start another decision process. Which one first?
Afternoon Tea beckons this idea of luxurious British, well-mannered lifestyle. For a day you can feel like a prince or princess and the Hotel Windsor knows how to treat you like one (their service was out of this world). Wear your best outfit; dresses or proper blouses, suit jackets and good shoes. Lift your elbow up and carefully pour back a cup of cultural history.
Thank you to the Hotel Windsor for this out of world experience, already craving to do this soon again.
Fun fact: The Windsor has been serving Traditional Afternoon Tea every day since 1883. This is the longest running Afternoon Tea service in Melbourne and Australia.
Tip: Take tea on the weekend has they have the chocolate fountain!
*As always all opinions are my own, the Hotel Windsor welcomed me as a guest.