Update: The Lowell no longer serves afternoon tea.
A review of the afternoon tea at The Peninsula hotel in New York with photos of every course from the tea sandwiches and the scones to the sweets.
The Peninsula New York
The Peninsula New York is a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, right on Fifth Avenue.
The entrance to the hotel is on 55th Street and upon entering through the doors, take the grand staircase up to the mezzanine level.
Afternoon tea is served at the Gotham Lounge where guests can also go for a light snack or a cocktail.
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Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula New York
Afternoon tea is a set menu, meaning you don’t choose any of the food listed. You get EVERYTHING that’s listed.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to fast for two days before since everything is bite-sized and tiny.
Afternoon tea is priced per person and each order comes with a pot of tea and three tiers of food.
If you want to learn the comprehensive history of afternoon tea, check out this book.
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Menu
The Peninsula New York does three kinds of afternoon tea.
Traditional Afternoon Tea
$85 per person
This is the one I usually get since it’s the classic tea service. It’s served on a three-tiered tray with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets.During the holidays, this is replaced by the Holiday Afternoon Tea.
The Grand Afternoon Tea
$350 for two people
The Grand Afternoon Tea includes everything from the Traditional Afternoon Tea and it’s priced for two people at $350. Why so much? It comes with Champagne and caviar.
Children’s Afternoon Tea
$45 per person
Afternoon tea customized for kids — think peanut butter jelly tea sandwiches. (Get my peanut butter and jelly tea sandwich recipe.)
Menu and prices may change at any time so please contact the hotel or check their site for latest info.
Do I Need to Make a Reservation?
The Gotham Lounge takes reservations but it’s not required. However, I always recommend making reservations since it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Do I Wear for Tea at The Peninsula?
The dress code is smart casual, which is what I suggest for almost all afternoon teas.
By smart casual, you should look put together and neatly dressed. I would avoid wearing sneakers.
How Long is Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon tea usually lasts about two hours. It’s a leisurely and relaxed affair so be sure to enjoy every minute.
What Time is Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula?
Afternoon tea is served daily from 2:30PM – 5PM.
I always recommend that you make your reservation earlier rather than later in the afternoon since it may get a bit more busy and noisy after work hours.
I usually make my tea time at 3PM which leaves room for a light dinner.
Good for Large Parties?
The Gotham Lounge can accommodate large parties but the space is masculine so it wouldn’t be my first pick for bridal or baby showers.
How Does Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula Work?
Before the server arrives, decide on which afternoon tea you would like and the tea you want to drink.
If you’re undecided with which tea to choose, go for one of the house blends (Peninsula Morning Blend or the Peninsula Afternoon Blend).
When the server is ready to take your order, let him or her know you would like to order the afternoon tea and your tea selection.
The tea will arrive first to the table followed by the food on a three-tiered tray.
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Tips
- It’s a little easier to get a table for afternoon tea at The Peninsula than other luxury hotels so if you don’t have a reservation and want tea, go here since chances are good you’ll get a table.
- I prefer the seats in the back by the windows for best light and coziness.
- If you don’t finish everything, ask for it to be packaged to take home.
Staying at The Peninsula
Stay at The Peninsula if you’re looking for a luxury hotel experience in Midtown Manhattan. Excellent service and great location for tourists.
Get a spa treatment if you want to splurge a bit more. I stop in at the hotel every few months to restock on Biologique Recherche which is a French skincare line that they use at the spa.
Check rates: booking.com
Gotham Lounge Setting: ★★☆☆☆
I don’t love the look of the Gotham Lounge, it looks like a business class airport lounge and feels very corporate.
A plus is that the tables are spaced far enough apart so you don’t feel like you’re joining in on the next table’s conversation.
A lot of business suits can be seen here and I will never forget the time Kathy and I had afternoon tea across from a table of four men in business suits who had ordered afternoon teas.
Four three-tiers of food stood there untouched the entire time during their two hour meeting. At the end of the two hours, the servers came by and asked them if they were done. THEY SAID YES AND THE UNTOUCHED AFTERNOON TEA TRAYS WERE TAKEN AWAY.
I was horrified. What a waste!
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Service: ★★★★★
The service here is excellent. I tried pouring the tea and spilled it all over my side of the table and a server came right over to assist me.
He stopped by to pour my near empty teacup throughout the tea service. All done with a smile.
The Peninsula Tea & Tea Selection: ★★★★★
The tea selection is very good with a nice variety. I like that they have blends and whole leaf teas like Bai Mu Dan.
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Savories: ★★★★★
Excellent presentation of savories. The perfectly made tea sandwiches were pure eye candy. Delicious. No stale or cold bread here. Each person gets four perfectly made, crustless tea sandwiches.
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Scones: ★★★★☆
Two scones per person and they were a nice, manageable size. Served with jams, lemon curd, and clotted cream, they were soft and fluffy on the inside with a crusty thin exterior.
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Sweets: ★★★☆☆
Nicer than the year before when I went, with a good variety of sweets. The hazelnut mini cakes were good but nothing wowed me.
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea Overall: ★★★★☆
It’s a solid afternoon tea although not the best.
Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula
700 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS:
Daily, 2:30PM – 5:00PM
Traditional Afternoon Tea, $85 per person
Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula New York in 2013
In 2013, The Peninsula’s afternoon tea was $55 and it was one of the most expensive in the city.
The Gotham Lounge definitely had a more of a airport lounge look going.
The tea, was served loose leaf (as they always should).
The three-tiered mess compared to now was a bit less put together.
The sandwiches are a mess and really sloppy looking. However, they were still delicious and fresh.
This was an odd one. They served three scones for our part of two. I don’t know why they didn’t serve us a total of four scones so we can have two each.
The sweets were a miss then too. The cakes were too dense and didn’t really taste too fresh. They definitely had a store-bought quality to them.