Afternoon Tea at The Lowell

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Update: The Lowell no longer serves afternoon tea.

The Pembroke Room, inside The Lowell hotel in NYC is one of my favorite afternoon tea spots. My review of the tea service includes the service and the food.

Pembroke Room

Pembroke Room at The Lowell

The Lowell is a boutique luxury hotel in New York City and it’s one of my favorite places to have afternoon tea. I’ve gone many, many times over the years and it’s one I recommend over and over again.

On the second floor of the hotel is the Pembroke Room where afternoon tea is served.

I fell in love with this hideaway tea spot the minute I entered the room years ago and it will always have a special place in my heart.

A DISCLAIMER: I go to the Pembroke Room for afternoon tea at least three times a year and each time it’s a perfect experience. HOWEVER, I’m hearing from readers that they are having less than ideal tea experiences when they go. When I’ve gone, it’s been on a quiet weekday with one other person which I think makes a difference.

Obviously they should offer great service and quality regardless of when and how many people are at tea service but it does seem to vary. Check out the comments below to read other people’s experiences.

RELATED: Complete List of Places in New York City for Afternoon Tea

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What is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a light meal in the middle of the day consisting of a pot of tea and three courses of tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets.

It’s a set menu which means you don’t pick each individual food item. You get what everyone else gets. You do get to pick your tea.

To learn more about the history of afternoon tea, I recommend this book.

Pembroke Room Afternoon Tea Menu

There three options on the afternoon tea menu:

The Classic Pembroke Tea
$63 per person
This is what I always order. It includes five tea sandwiches, warm scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, and an assortment of tiny sweets. Don’t forget this comes with a pot of tea.

The Pembroke Royal Tea
$73 per person
It’s the same food as The Classic Pembroke Tea but with a choice of either a glass of Rosé, port, or a sherry.

The Lowell Imperial Tea
$110 per person
You get Champagne and caviar in addition to the The Classic Pembroke Tea.

The menu and prices may change at any time so please contact the hotel at 212-838-1400 or check their site for latest info.

Do I Need to Make a Reservation for the Pembroke Room? 

Yes, always make reservations for any afternoon tea. Call 212-838-1400 or email [email protected] to make a reservation.

It’s best to reserve at least 24 hours in advance.

What Do I Wear for Tea at The Lowell?

Smart casual. No ripped jeans or sneakers, please.

How Long is Afternoon Tea at The Lowell?

Tea service usually lasts about two hours. Take your time enjoying each course.

RELATED: Is High Tea the Same Thing as Afternoon Tea?

What Time is Afternoon Tea at the Pembroke Room?

Afternoon tea is served Wednesday – Sunday from 2PM – 6PM.

The Pembroke Room starts dinner service at 5:30PM so I wouldn’t make afternoon tea reservations too late in the day since sharing the dining room with the dinner crowd may not be as relaxing.

Good for Larger Parties?

Yes! The Pembroke Room has a middle section of tables that can be pulled together to create a large table for bigger parties.

How Does Afternoon Tea at the Pembroke Room Work?

Select one of the three afternoon teas on the menu: the Classic Pembroke Tea, the Pembroke Royal Tea, or the The Lowell Imperial Tea.

No need to figure out the food since everything listed on the set menu you select comes with the tea service.

After selecting the one of the set menus, pick a tea.

RELATED: 21 Afternoon Tea Etiquette Rules

The Lowell Afternoon Tea Tips

  • If you’re looking for an afternoon tea for one, the Pembroke Room is the perfect place to go.
  • The best seats are the banquettes at the corners of the room. If they’re not busy they’ll seat a party of two at those tables so don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Pembroke Room isn’t open for tea Mondays and Tuesdays.

Staying at The Lowell

If you’re looking for a quiet, low-key but completely luxurious hotel in NYC, stay at The Lowell.

The Lowell was voted the best hotel in NYC by Travel & Leisure readers and it seems to be a popular spot for celebrities.

Most suites include a kitchen and the style of the rooms feel more like a luxury apartment than a hotel room so it’s great for families.

Check rates:

The Lowell afternoon tea

Pembroke Room Setting: ★★★★★

Tucked away, this elegant room is the perfect setting for tea service. You would never know this place was here unless you knew to seek it out.

The Pembroke Room is only used for tea service in the afternoon and it’s usually nice and quiet — just how I like it. It’s ideal for an intimate gathering with friends or for small bridal or baby showers.

Pembroke Room Afternoon Tea Service: ★★★★★

Knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive, the service is excellent as always.

Never intrusive, the servers appear out of thin air when you’re looking for more hot water and know to leave you alone when you’re deep in conversation with a friend.

Pembroke afternoon tea

Pembroke Room Tea & Tea Selection: ★★★★☆

Nicely curated tea list ranging from black tea blends to herbal infusions but no white tea or oolongs. Would be nice to see more whole tea than blends.

I rarely need to ask for hot water here since the servers always seem to know when the pot needs a refill.

Pembroke afternoon tea

Two of the three courses are on the three-tiered tray.

The top two are the sweets and the bottom tray holds the savories.

The second course of scones is brought out separately, all toasty and warm, after the savories are eaten.

Lowell afternoon tea

Pembroke Room Afternoon Tea Savories: ★★★★☆

The bottom tray holds the savories — five tea sandwiches per person. I used to think the Pembroke Room had such great tea sandwiches UNTIL Baccarat rolled into town. 

The savories are still tasty, but they’re not as pleasing to the eye as they once were now that the bar has been raised.

RELATED: Afternoon Tea 101: Course Order

Pembroke Room Afternoon Tea Scones: ★★★★☆

A basket of warm scones are brought out after the savory course and you can choose from two scone selections. 

Start with one scone and see how full you are before asking for another scone. They’re more filling than you think.

Scones are served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and two types of fruit preserves.

They used to serve round scones and now they’re triangular in shape which aren’t as traditional. They were good but I really miss the round scones they used to serve.

RELATED: How to Eat a Scone Properly

Pembroke Room Afternoon Tea Sweets: ★★★★☆

The top two trays hold the sweets course — five sweets for each person. The selection is good, but a little too plain.

I would love to see something a little more exciting and innovative.

Pembroke Room Afternoon Tea Overall: ★★★★★

On my top two list of places to have afternoon tea in NYC. A must.

If you’re looking for a place to have an intimate gathering for afternoon tea, this is the place.

The Pembroke Room, The Lowell
28 East 63rd Street
New York, NY 10065 | 212.838.1400

Wednesday – Sunday from 2PM – 6PM

The Classic Pembroke Tea, $63 per person (as of 2018)

Call 212-838-1400 or email [email protected].

Afternoon Tea at The Lowell in 2015

Afternoon tea lowell

The chairs has changed over the years and they used to have these striped ones back in 2015.

lowell afternoon tea

Tea pots and teaware have always been silver but the look has changed slightly over the years. Tea cup and saucer  from Wedgwood are the same though.

Pembroke room

Same three-tiered tray with the same layout with savories on the bottom and sweets on the top two trays.

Pembroke Room afternoon tea

Savories do change over the years.

Pembroke Room afternoon tea

Oh, how I miss these scones! They were perfect! Perfect shape, perfect size, and perfectly delicious.

Pembroke Room afternoon tea

Pembroke Room afternoon tea

Sweets have changed over the years too but the macarons were always a part of the course.

Afternoon Tea at The Lowell in 2012

Tea at The Lowell

This was afternoon tea at The Lowell back in 2012 when it was $39 per person.

Their three-tiered stand back then.

How their scones were served.

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  1. This has been my favorite place for afternoon tea for years, but I am about to try the Baccarat in December. At the Lowell, if you are celebrating your birthday at tea (and you let them know) you will get a lovely gift (usually Macarons or fabulous chocolates) to take home.
    Right now (November 2021) they are not open for afternoon tea. They told me that they expect to begin again in January 2022.

  2. I just came across your site and I find it informative and very useful. I was planning on taking Tea at Tiffany’s. Do you have any recommendations or any experience there? Thank you. Silvia

    1. Hi Silvia, happy you found my site! I haven’t had the tea at Tiffany’s yet but I’ll be going to write a review about it soon!

  3. Hello. I recently tweeted you about this. I have food allergies which have affected my afternoon tea experiences. I found the Russian Tea Room to be more flexible than Palm Court. Both Lillie’s Victorian & Marie Belle were inflexible. I have plans to visit the Lowell soon. Which, if any, establishment is the most accommodating for people with food allergies? Do they require advance warning?

    1. Hi Sam, I recommend always letting them know when you make the reservation that you have a food allergy. I’ve found places with multiple afternoon tea menus are better at accommodating. I’m thinking places like Baccarat, The Peninsula, The Whitby, and the Crosby Street hotels.

  4. I completely agree, this is the best afternoon tea in the city. I’ve been often with friends, and appreciate being left alone, with plenty of t8me to chat, no staff rushing us out.
    And recently I arrived with my two teens after a disappointing museum outing. This wasn’t an obvious choice for them, especially a 17 year old boy. But the food was delicious, the tea was hot and strong, and the staff offered refills until my ravenous boy said “Uncle.” I was so grateful. The Lowell saves the day!

    1. Hi Jadeg, since I wrote this post, I would rank Baccarat Hotel’s afternoon tea the best in the city but with The Lowell one of my favorites.

  5. Hi Jee!
    I went to the Lowell this past Saturday and I was a little “confused”… 🙂 I do afternoon teas in Paris whenever I can (in grand hotels) and it was my first in NY, on your recommendation (I’ve been reading your blog for a while). I just wanted to share some thoughts about my experience and see what you think if you don’t mind. First, I wouldn’t call the room “elegant”: I thought it was outdated, very dark (but the weather was really overcast on Saturday) and the two AC units in the windows don’t exactly belong in a peaceful tearoom; also, there was a birthday party that day and it seems from one of the staff that they have a few on weekends so it can be bothersome if you want peace and quiet (although this party was very nice); staff was great, as you said, from concierge to doormen and in between; savories and pastries were indeed very good and fresh yet, as you mentioned, very traditional and classic; nothing “revolutionary” indeed; scones were excellent (I got two and the waiter asked if I wanted more); lastly, the tea… I’m no expert but is that a good thing to get a pot of tea with the leaves directly in the pot so there’s no way to remove them?? I usually don’t infuse my tea for long and my Mandarin Jasmine became VERY bitter very quickly; it was so bitter I had to say something at one point so the waiter just brought me another pot but after a few minutes, of course, the tea got very bitter again. 🙁
    Well, that’s it! 🙂 Would love to have your expert opinion on that (especially on the tea leaves) and will try another NY afternoon tea very soon! Thank you.

    1. Hi Stephanie, actually, you’re the second person to tell me that The Lowell wasn’t as good as they had hoped. I think my experience was slightly different since I always go on a weekday, and not on a busy weekend. About the tea, yes, totally agree with you that the tea shouldn’t be sitting in the pot since it does get bitter. That is a negative for sure. Sorry to hear your experience wasn’t the same as mine!