Afternoon Tea at The Whitby Hotel

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The Whitby Hotel’s afternoon tea from start to finish, reviewed. From the tea selection to the sweets, take a look at every course.

Whitby hotel afternoon tea

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The Whitby Hotel

The Whitby Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is the sister hotel to the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, NY and both serve afternoon tea.

The downstairs dining area at The Whitby is split into two: The Whitby Bar and the Orangery.

You can have afternoon tea at either room but I prefer the Orangery with it’s bright, airy decor. The Whitby Bar has a more masculine and moody feel.

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

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What is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a set menu that consists of three courses of small bites of food and a pot of tea. Everyone orders their own tea service and the price is per person.

The three courses are: tea sandwiches followed by scones with clotted cream and jam, and finally, the sweets.

Because it’s a set menu, you get everything listed on the menu and you don’t pick and choose the food listed. But, if you have an allergy or are vegetarian, let them know and they’ll be able to make adjustments to your food.

The tea however, you DO pick. There’s a tea list, usually at the back of the menu, from where you can select the tea of your choice.

The idea originated when an English Duchess in 1840 wanted a small meal to have between lunch and dinner since she would get hungry around 4PM. This small meal was made of small bites of food with tea and she would invite friends to join her.

For a comprehensive look at the history of afternoon tea, I recommend this book.

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Menu

The Whitby offers two afternoon tea menus.

Afternoon Tea
$55 per person
The traditional and classic afternoon tea that I usually get. Add a glass of Champagne and it’s $70 per person. 

Gluten Free & Vegan Afternoon Tea
$55 per person
Served on the same three-tiered stand but gluten-free and vegan. Add a glass of Champagne and it’s $70 per person. 

Menu and prices may change at any time so please contact The Whitney Bar or check their site for latest info.

How Much is Afternoon Tea at The Whitby?

Both The Whitby Afternoon Tea and the Healthy Afternoon Tea are $45 per person. You can add a glass of Champagne for $60 more.

They have two tea options, Bespoke English Breakfast Blend and the Rare Earl Grey, that are offered with the price of afternoon tea. If you want any of the other eight tea options, there’s an additional charge of $3.

Do I Need to Make a Reservation for Afternoon Tea at The Whitby Bar?

Reservations aren’t required at The Whitby Bar for afternoon tea but I would recommend making them especially if there are more than two of you in your party.

Call 646.928.4207 or email them at [email protected] to book a reservation.

What Do I Wear for Tea at The Whitby?

No dress code is stated so I would go with smart casual. Look put together and neatly dressed but also feel comfortable in what you’re wearing.

How Long is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea usually lasts anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours. It’s a leisurely affair and shouldn’t be rushed.

What Time is Afternoon Tea at The Whitby?

The Whitby serves afternoon tea all afternoon, which is a rare thing. Most places only offer tea service during a couple of hours in the afternoon.

It’s a great place to stop in if you feel like having afternoon tea on a whim since reservations aren’t required and they serve it all day.

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

Good for Large Parties?

Yes, The Whitby Bar is a great place for larger parties for afternoon tea. Note that if you are a party of 5 or more, they’ll add a 20% tip automatically to your bill.

How Does Afternoon Tea at The Whitby Work?

Pick either The Whitby Afternoon Tea or the Gluten Free & Vegan Afternoon Tea. Next, pick a tea from the tea menu.

When the server arrives, let them know which of the two afternoon teas you would like and your tea selection.

After the order has been taken, the tea in a teapot will arrive to the table first which you can start drinking before the food arrives.

The three courses of food will come out all at once on a three-tiered tray.

Start eating the tea sandwiches first and after you’ve finished the entire course, move onto the second course of scones with clotted cream and jam. (See my guide on how to eat a scone properly.) The third and final course after the scones are the sweets.

If you run out of tea in the middle of your meal, ask the server for more hot water for your tea.

RELATED: 21 Afternoon Tea Etiquette Rules

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Tips

  • Ask to be seated in the back room, at the Orangery, since it’s a lot more feminine with softer colors than the bar area.
  • If you can’t decide on a tea, go for any black tea like the Bespoke English Breakfast Blend or the Rare Earl Grey. Most tea sandwiches are best paired with black tea.
  • Note that if you’re in a party of 5 or more, a 20% tip will be automatically be added to your bill.

Staying at The Whitby Hotel

A luxury boutique hotel, located in the heart of NYC on 56th Street at 5th Avenue, The Whitby Hotel is a interior designer’s paradise.

The decor is gorgeous. Lots of unique artwork and brilliant color and pattern combinations gives this hotel a unique look. The entire hotel is thoughtfully decorated.

Check rates:

NYC Afternoon Tea Checklist

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The Whitby Afternoon Tea Setting: ★★★★☆

If the look and feel of the hotel seems somewhat familiar, it may be because you’ve been to the The Whitby’s sister hotel, The Crosby Street Hotel.

Both times at the Whitby, I sat in the back room, the Orangery, which is a lovely setting for afternoon tea.

The decor as I mentioned, is genius. Stunning use of color and fabrics. If you’re looking for a place to host an afternoon tea party for a bridal or baby shower, this would be a great option since the decor skews more feminine.

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Service: ★★★☆☆

Ok, the service is a bit of a mixed bag. Very friendly BUT slow.

Maybe because we were tucked away at the far end of the room (both times I went), but after the three-tiered tray was served, it was somewhat of a wait to find someone to ask to refill our teapots with hot water or to get the check.

Whitby hotel tea

The Whitby Tea & Tea Selection: ★☆☆☆☆

YES, ONE STAR. IN ALL CAPS. They do something that I hated at The Crosby Street Hotel, which is to nickel and dime you for the tea.

A selection of TWO teas are offered as part of the tea service then eight other teas are labeled as “specialty teas” for an additional $3. OMG. COME ON WHITBY, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS.

Just charge for the afternoon tea and get rid of the ridiculous $3 supplement if you insist on adding on the additional cost. UGH, THE WORST.

UPDATE 01/2020: They no longer charge the additional $3 for specialty teas! Every tea listed is now included in the price of the afternoon tea. I now give it 4 stars since the tea menu is much more well-rounded.

Whitby tea

Two three-tiered trays with Healthy Afternoon Tea on the right and The Whitby Afternoon Tea on the left. (I got The Whitby Afternoon Tea.)

RELATED: The Crosby Bar at the Crosby Street Hotel

Whitby afternoon tea

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Savories: ★★★★☆

Four small bites of savories which were all fairly good.

One small quibble — one of the savories was just pretzel bread. No protein. Just the bread and a little mustard which seems a little lazy.

The bites are on the smaller side as far as afternoon tea savories go. I like them to be more like two bites, not one.

RELATED: Afternoon Tea 101: Course Order

Whitby afternoon tea

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Scones: ★★★★☆

Scones were served warm with three sides of clotted cream and preserves.

The size of the scones can be a little smaller so that they’re a little easier to eat (and daintier) but other than that, they were good.

RELATED: How to Eat a Scone Properly

Whitby afternoon tea

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Sweets: ★★★☆☆

The sweets were just OK, nothing to write home about. The canelé was not properly made since it lacked the chewy and slightly firm exterior.

The Whitby Afternoon Tea Overall: ★★★☆☆

Not the best, not the worst. 

The Whitby Bar, The Whitby Hotel 
18 West 56th Street
New York, NY 10019

Daily, all day

Afternoon Tea, $55 per person (as of 2019)

Call 646.928.4207 or email them at [email protected] to book a reservation.

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  1. 1) I agree with the nickel and diming.

    2) No pot of hot water to keep the tea warm and to keep it from getting too dark as it sits there.

    Someone from the hotel should check out The St. Regis, The Plaza, The Ritz-Carlton and even BG, the restaurant in Bergdorf’s.

  2. I hate being nickel and dimed on the tea menu too! If need be, they should just raise the price a bit to compensate (though that probably isn’t even necessary). The room does look adorable though. I love their fabric choices.