Few things are as hedonistic as an afternoon tea ceremony at a luxury hotel. Ritz-Carlton in Berlin combines both concepts elegantly while showing a completely different side of the German capital.
A noble tradition
The concept of Afternoon Tea – or High Tea, as some people call it – can be traced back to early 19th century Britain, where a young Duchess would complain about having ‘a sinking feeling’ in the late afternoon. At that time, it was not common to have lunch, only breakfast and late dinner, so the Duchess began enjoying a pot of tea and a light snack in the afternoon to stay energetic. Other nobles quickly picked up the tradition and the rest is history.
What the Duchess of Bedford invented more than 200 years ago, can now be enjoyed all over the world. From Bombay to Berlin, people are reserving tables weeks and months in advance at popular venues and luxurious hotels, just to experience the noble art of Afternoon Tea. It’s not only a cosy way of spending a few hours in the company of friends and family; Afternoon Tea is very delicate and can easily substitute lunch. Just make sure to have a snack early in the day. It usually begins around 4PM, but most hotels offer it between 2PM and 6PM.
A luxurious refuge
Being a resident of Berlin, I decided to explore the Afternoon Tea scene beginning with Ritz-Carlton at Postdamer Platz. Now, anyone with a slight knowledge of Berlin, knows that Potsdamer Platz can be quite a chaotic scene. It’s not “typical Berlin”, but it’s certainly a typical big city venue! Cars passing by, tourists crowding in all corners and commercials popping up everywhere you look. So when you enter the elegant lobby of Ritz-Carlton, it’s like entering a completely different world. The hotel is inspired by Berlin’s past and present, so while it’s definitely classy (as with all other RC hotels), it still has an urban dynamic to it.
I won’t go into details with the hotel as such, but I’d like to highlight the Afternoon Tea sessions, which are carried out every day in the marble-floored Tea Lounge. Here, you can sit back, relax and forget about the outside world for a couple of hours while you indulge in homemade treats and more than 65 selected tea sorts. And you can do so whether you’re staying at the hotel or not.
A savory Afternoon Tea experience
While the service on this particular day was a bit slow, it was certainly worth the wait. I’m gluten intolerant (luckily, the only side-effect of my pregnancy!) so after having informed the lovely waitress about this, the kitchen began preparing a serving full of gluten-free treats for me. That included scones without gluten. And they were just as delicious as the regular ones. The tea sommelier presented a large range of different tea variants, and then came the cakes, pastries and scones with jam, lemon curd and whipped cream. A slightly modern interpretation of the traditional Afternoon Tea session, but nevertheless savory and tasty.
As a hotel, Ritz-Carlton in Berlin offers a beautiful contrast to the city’s often rough character. Their Afternoon Tea is an obvious choice if you need a little extra pampering – and it’s a great way to relax in the hours between shopping and dinner. The hotel is located right in the heart of the city and a stone’s throw from all the major sights and attractions. Price per person: €40 (€48 with a glass of champagne).
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