The St. Regis New York hotel in Midtown is one of my top picks for afternoon tea in NYC. My review of the afternoon tea service, the tea, and the food from savories to sweets.
Astor Court at The St. Regis New York
The St. Regis New York is a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan and it’s one of the first afternoon teas I ever went to. With its gorgeous painted ceiling, the plush seating, and luxury setting, the experience was a delight.
Over the years, Astor Court, the room where afternoon tea is served, has had a couple of redesigns.
The latest redesign is much more masculine than previous renovations and I really miss the banquette seating in tones of blush and pink — it was perfect for bridal showers.
When people ask me where to go for a classic afternoon tea experience, The St. Regis New York always gets a mention. It’s on my top 5 list of places to have afternoon tea.
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What is Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon tea is a mid-day light meal of tea and three courses of mini bites.
Usually the three courses are brought out all together on a three-tiered tray. It’s meant to be eaten with your fingers.
The food is a set meal, so no a la carte options. You get whatever food everyone else gets with their order of afternoon tea. You do get to choose the tea though.
To learn more about the history of afternoon tea, check out this book.
St. Regis Afternoon Tea Menu
There are two afternoon tea options.
Lady Astor’s Tea
$65 per person
The classic and traditional. It comes with a selection of five savories, scones, and an assortment of sweets.
$85 per person
Three courses of afternoon tea but with courses that are a bit more decadent with an upgrade in the savory and sweets course — think caviar, duck prosciutto, and pavlova.
I’ve had both afternoon teas and I prefer Lady Astor’s Tea over the more expensive Caroline’s Tea. I don’t think it’s worth $20 more for the Caroline’s Tea.
You have the option to upgrade with Champagne or caviar to any afternoon tea.
Menu and prices may change at any time so contact the hotel (212.339.6857).
Do I Need to Make a Reservation for Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis?
Yes, always make a reservation for any afternoon tea. Call the hotel: 212.339.6857 to make one.
What Do I Wear for Tea at The St. Regis?
Dress code is smart casual, so look put together but dress comfortably. If you want to put on a party dress for tea, go for it!
How Long is Afternoon Tea?
Formal tea service usually lasts about two hours, give or take. Relax and enjoy every bite.
What Time is Afternoon Tea at the The St. Regis?
Traditionally, afternoon tea was at 4PM, but for most places they range anytime in the afternoon. The St. Regis’ tea hours are from 3PM – 5PM and afternoon tea is served every day.
Good for Large Parties?
St. Regis is great for bigger parties since the Astor Court can set up large communal tables. It’s a good spot for bridal and baby showers.
How Does Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis Work?
Afternoon tea is a set menu consisting of a tea of your choice and three courses of food.
Because it’s a set menu, you don’t get to choose the food. Everything listed on the set menu of the afternoon tea you choose comes with your order.
First choose your afternoon tea of either Lady Astor’s Tea or Caroline’s Tea. Next, take a look at the tea menu and make a tea selection.
The tea should arrive to the table after your order is taken and you should start drinking that first. The food will arrive next.
The St. Regis does their tea service a little differently. The savories come out on a ceramic rectangular plate. Once you finish all your tea sandwiches, they’ll take the plate away and bring out a three-tiered tray with scones and sweets.
Eat the scones first with the Devonshire cream and preserves. The last thing you want to eat are the sweets.
If you need more tea, ask for more hot water and they’ll refill the teapot.
St. Regis New York Afternoon Tea Tips
- For the best photos, ask to be seated by the windows outside of the main dining area. Although be warned: there is less of an intimate vibe.
- Anything you don’t finish you can ask for it to be packed to take home.
- They’ll sometimes do themed afternoon teas like this Dali one so keep an eye out.
Staying at the St. Regis
If you want to be in the heart of Midtown, Manhattan, St. Regis is a great place to stay.
A luxury hotel through and through, it’s steps away from Times Square, Fifth Avenue, and Central Park.
Check rates: booking.com
NYC Afternoon Tea Checklist
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Astor Court Setting: ★★★☆☆
Black and silver chairs with white tablecloths, the Astor Court definitely has a moody, masculine feel. It’s a modern look that visually feels a little cold with the dark and cool tones.
It’s not the prettiest for an afternoon tea service but it still feels luxe.
My friend Karen and I were initially seated in one of the chairs, but we moved to a sofa and I liked the plush seating option a lot more.
The St. Regis Afternoon Tea Service: ★★★★☆
I’ve been to The St. Regis many times over the years and the table service is usually very good. Once, I did encounter a snooty hostess but that’s not the norm.
The service is usually attentive, although I wish they had checked in on us towards the end so that we didn’t have to wait so long to get hot water. All minor quibbles.
The St. Regis Tea & Tea Selection: ★★★★★
The St. Regis has a fantastic tea selection with a nice variety. The tea menu had a nice number of teas — not too many listed, not too few.
I like to see three to five of each type of tea (black, oolong, green, white, and herbal) represented on the menu and it’s usually a good sign when I can’t choose since too many look tempting.
On this visit, I ordered the Osmanthus Oolong which went well with each course.
My preference with afternoon tea is usually black, oolong, or green tea. White tea is too subtle and can’t stand up to the flavors from the tea sandwiches and sweets and herbals are too meek for my liking.
The St. Regis Afternoon Tea Savories: ★★★★★
I love the savories here!
Each tea sandwich was better than the next and everything tasted delicious and fresh. The variety was wonderful and I could have eaten two trays worth!
(Side note: I’ve eaten two savory trays in the past and I was so full that I couldn’t eat another bite and missed out on the scone and sweet courses. Lesson learned — savories are more filling than they appear.)
The savories are not over the top fancy but very approachable with a elegant take on the classics like the egg salad tea sandwich with the crusts expertly cut off.
After the savories were done, they brought out the three-tired tray with scones on top, and sweets on the bottom two tiers.
The St. Regis Afternoon Tea Scones: ★★★★★
The Double Devonshire cream, preserves, and lemon curd arrived with the scones. As you can see, I plated them the same way as in my How to Eat a Scone Properly post with a scoop of each on my plate.
Two scones per person, one raisin and one plain. They were pretty good and a good size — not too big.
The St. Regis Afternoon Tea Sweets: ★★★☆☆
The sweets were good, but not especially memorable. They all started tasting the same.
The macarons were surprisingly good with a nice delicate shell and slightly chewy filling.
The St. Regis Afternoon Tea Overall: ★★★★★
A solid afternoon tea experience.
Astor Court, The St. Regis New York
2 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS:
Daily, 3PM – 5PM
Lady Astor’s Tea, $65 per person (as of 2018)
Call 212.339.6857 to book your afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis in 2016
Astor Court in 2016. The only difference between now and then is they now have white tablecloths.
Teaware was white porcelain with silver strainers.
The three-tiered stand with the sweets and savories.
The tea sandwiches were really tasty back then too.
Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis in 2012
A very blurry photo of the three-tiered stand with sweet and scones.
When they had tea in silver teapots.
Tea sandwiches were always served separately from the three-tiered stands.