Alba Lobby Lounge
Enjoy all the glitz of the Ritz at this most classy of affairs. The signature afternoon tea service at the opulent Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is a dainty delight. Indulge in a tasty selection of savoury sandwiches, scones and an array of classic chocolate desserts in an elegant setting. The fine selection of food is washed down with guided tasting of two tea blends, carefully selected to complement the menu. The Alba Lounge’s talented pastry chef is also cooking up some fantastic themed afternoon teas in the weeks to come. Feel all pretty in pink at the Pinktober Afternoon Tea (being held as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month) until October 15, before enjoying treats rather than tricks at the Halloween Afternoon Tea from October 16 until October 31. When the F1 circus is in town, you can savour tea with the Grand Prix.
The Formula One Afternoon Tea will be on pole position from November 16 through to November 30.
Dhs125. Daily 2pm-5pm. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal (02 818 8282).
Middle East meets west in this warm and sophisticated lounge at the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi. Diners can choose from the Middle Eastern Pampering Tea or the traditional English Afternoon Tea during their civilised stay. Anglophiles will be licking their lips at the prospect of an array of finger food favourites, such as cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, Scottish smoked salmon macaron with American caviar and veal ham with spicy avocado dip on an English muffin.
The Middle Eastern spread boasts hummus with pita bread, mini zaatar manakish and homemade spinach stuffed kibbeh. Add in brilliant baked goods and desserts on both menus and the only trouble you will have is deliberating over which afternoon tea to go for.
Al Meylas uses Ikaati teas, derived from the Indonesian word ikat, which means “to tie by hand”, a brand chosen for its attention to detail and desire to handcraft their product.
Al Meylas takes the same approach to the range of honeys it serves on the tea table.
Middle Eastern Pampering Tea and English Afternoon Tea: Dhs120 (tea or coffee), Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs165 (sparkling grape juice), Dhs205 (bubbly). Daily 3pm-6pm. Four Seasons Abu Dhabi Hotel, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2222).
This stylish St. Regis Abu Dhabi spot might be more renowned for its bubbly than its hot beverages, but afternoon tea has a rich history at this five-star chain of hotels. In the late 19th century, Caroline Astor (mother to the St. Regis founder, John Jacob Astor IV) elevated afternoon tea to a new level of sophistication by introducing the ritual at elegant gatherings at her home in Manhattan. Now more than a century later and thousands of miles away, the afternoon tea tradition is alive and well in Abu Dhabi. Re-imagined by the highly skilled pastry team, freshly handcrafted sweets and savoury treats are presented with exquisite Newby Teas, which have been selected for their finest hand-picked leaves and renowned blended flavours. This is a place where you afternoon tea really shines. Marvel at the elegant chandelier of blown glass art as you sip with contentment.
Dhs160 (tea selection), Dhs220 (bubbly). Daily 2pm-6pm. The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Tower, Corniche (02 694 4553).
You shouldn’t need a light bulb moment to know this is a real sweet deal. The light and bright lobby lounge is serving up high tea for two for the low, low price of just Dhs99. The open-all-day lounge specialises in light snacks, pastries and cakes, so an afternoon tea is, well, just their cup of tea. You can cross continents here, with a choice of a traditional afternoon tea, featuring mini cakes, tarts, teas, sandwiches and scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry jam and a Mighty Leaf tea selection or go for an authentic taste of the UAE with the Arabian afternoon tea, with filled dates, date cookies and Arabian sweets complementing the array of sandwiches and hot savouries, as well as Mighty Leaf tea or Turkish coffee. Make your day even brighter at the Southern Sun.
Dhs99 (for two). Daily 3pm-6pm. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiya (02 818 4888).
Majlis Lobby Lounge
The grand lounge at the Rosewood Hotel describes its afternoon tea as an “escape from the ordinary” – and it is easy to see why. This sophisticated offering will take you a bite-sized journey across the world. The fine selection of savoury sandwiches includes Italian inspired burrata and aged balsamic focaccia, barbecued chicken and Greek yoghurt lovingly placed on a Chinese bun and lobster and avocado tartare on brioche. Sweet dreams are also made of Majlis. Get your hands on a lovely lemon cheese cake, tuck into a fresh fruit tartlet and enjoy all the foodie theatre of a green tea opera cake.
Round off a delightful afternoon tea with buttermilk date scones, served with orange marmalade, raspberry jam and clotted cream, all washed down with a free-flowing choice of tea, coffee and peach mixed drinks.
Dhs150 (with free-flowing tea, coffee and peach mixed drinks). Daily 3pm-6pm. Rosewood Abu Dhabi Hotel, Al Maryah Island (02 813 5550).
Fancy being treated like “royal-tea”? If you are looking for a majestic afternoon tea experience, then you just have to make your way to Emirates Palace. The capital’s most opulent address hosts an afternoon tea in keeping with its grand surroundings. The traditional afternoon tea is presented with plenty of splendour, featuring freshly baked scones, savoury tea sandwiches such as roasted Angus beef with horseradish cream and house smoked salmon pin wheel on brown bread, followed by decadent desserts including strawberry vanilla tarts, vanilla crème brulée and a choice of cake. But if you want to make it an even more regal occasion, then go for the Royal Afternoon Tea Affair. It has all the dainty delights of the traditional tea, but with luxurious additions such as king crab on brioche, foie gras sprinkled with 23 karat gold and, just to step it up an extra notch, 24 karat gold-dusted salmon pinwheel sandwiches on pumpernickel bread. For a sweet conclusion, sample lime and marshmallow tartlets and caramelised Sichuan pepper pineapple. Each afternoon tea set is accompanied by a choice of the finest brews, signature Emirates Palace Cappuccino, coffee or hot chocolate. This is the gold standard of afternoon teas, so reservations must be made 24 hours in advance to make sure of a seat.
Traditional Afternoon tea: Dhs320 (for two with hot beverage selection), Dhs460 (for two, with two glasses of bubbly), Dhs520 (for two, with two glasses of premium bubbly). 2pm-6pm. Emirates Palace,
West Corniche Road (02 690 7999).
Escape from the hectic pace of everyday life for an afternoon spent in perfect tranquillity. Settle down in the cozy duplex lounge, with stunning bronze mashrabiya screens as the focal point, while you look out onto the swimming pool and the surrounding lagoon. It’s not just a feast for the eyes though as guests can savour smoked salmon, roast beef, tuna and cheese finger sandwiches, complemented by raise and apple scones with clotted cream and orange marmalade and a host of decadent desserts, from mini eclairs to chocolate opera cake and cheesecake. Working your way through all that food is undoubtedly thirsty work, and the choice of delicious premium teas will give you all the refreshment you need.
Dhs150. Daily 2.30pm-5.30pm. Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, Sheikh Zayed Street (02 656 1000).
Observation Deck at 300
When they say this is high tea, they really mean it. Ascend to the dizzying heights of the 74th floor of the glittering Jumeirah at Etihad Towers for an afternoon tea experience that is in rarified air. This is our current Best Afternoon Tea for good reason. While it would be easy for the kitchen team to fall back on the stunning 360-degree views of the city skyline, they make sure your attention will soon be drawn to the fine afternoon tea fare on offer. The impressive triple-deck tray of food features beautiful finger sandwiches, delicate tarts and cakes that are simply superb. The wide range of hot beverages will make sure you stay on a high, too. If you are looking to impress friends or family, or just want to pamper yourself (you know you deserve it) look the Observation Deck up.
Dhs175. Daily 2pm-5pm. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5666).
The Drawing Room
This really is a picture-perfect setting for a sophisticated afternoon of unwinding. Based in the luxurious St. Regis Saadiyat Island, the Drawing Room has crafted the Fashion Afternoon Tea, a suitably stylish offering inspired by the themes and colours of the fashion world. Guests are sure to have designs on the bespoke pastries and savoury selections, while as well as tea and coffee, you can also plump for a glass of Italian sparkling or bubbly. Mum will be the word during the month of October as the venue hosts a special baby shower afternoon tea party. Make the mother-to-be feel extra special with terrific tarts and scones, bite-sized sandwiches, lovely cookies and other sweet treats, plus for group bookings of ten guests or more, guests will receive one complimentary afternoon tea or a spa voucher worth Dhs100. It really is yummy to be a mummy.
Fashion Afternoon Tea: Dhs160 (tea or coffee), Dhs200 (one glass of Italian sparkling), Dhs250 (one of glass of bubbly), Dhs290 (one glass of premium bubbly). Daily 2pm-6pm. Baby Shower Afternoon Tea: Dhs180. 2pm-6pm. St. Regis Saadiyat Island (02 498 8888).
Who knew a day spent at the library could be this much fun? You don’t need to worry about the golden rule of silence being upheld here, as this classy lounge at the Park Hyatt is the perfect spot for a chat over rounds of tea and bite-sized fare. With its striking orange leather panels, accents of black marble and welcoming open fire, you will be happy to book yourself in for the duration. The afternoon tea selection includes freshly baked buttermilk scones, Devonshire clotted cream and a selection of French jams along with your choice of refreshing hot beverages, sparkling or bubbly beverages. Enjoy a Saadiyat Island escape with five-star service guaranteed. Silence isn’t obligatory at this library, and we’re sure you’ll exclaim at the quality on offer throughout.
Dhs156 (hot beverages), Dhs196 (sparkling), Dhs236 (bubbly). Daily 1pm-6pm. Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Saadiyat Island (02 407 1234).
This internationally renowned chain has the fine art of afternoon tea down to a, well, tee. TWG Tea was established in Singapore back in 1837 as a celebration of the island state’s rich heritage as a trading post for fine teas. It has since done a sterling job of exporting itself around the world, with branches dotted everywhere from Germany and Russia to the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand and right here in the UAE. The Abu Dhabi venue is a suitably genteel affair based in the Luxury Court of Yas Mall. This is almost like a theme park for tea lovers, without the obvious risk of spillage. There are a wide variety of afternoon teas, such as the Fortune afternoon tea (the most expensive but still very reasonably priced at Dhs110), which includes a choice of hot or iced tea, a toasted sandwich with French Gruyere cheese and turkey ham and a green salad tossed in green tea infused vinaigretyte, plus a choice of freshly baked scones or muffins with tea jelly and whipped cream or a patisserie from the trolley, followed by macarons. The chic afternoon tea comes with a petite selection of finger sandwiches, including foie gras, tarragon chicken tenders and cucumber and cream cheese infused with Earl Grey Fortune tea. This place makes for an afternoon very well spent.
Tea time set menus from Dhs80 per person. Daily 3pm-6pm. Luxury Court, Level 1 Yas Mall (02 565 0360).
The brand-new afternoon tea at the lavish Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri is already causing a stir. The Dessert in the Desert is a collaboration between executive chef, Reiner Lupfer, and executive pastry chef, Muhamad Jejen. The culinary maestros have set out to represent Abu Dhabi life through food, blending modernity with tradition, by giving a contemporary twist to classic French pastries, with a deft Arabian touch. The afternoon tea menu boasts an extensive array of scones, savoury bites and pastries, infused with local ingredients. Chocolate, golden raisin and plain scones are served with a side of clotted cream, strawberry jam and whipped Medjool date butter. Those who prefer savoury to sweet can tuck into sumac-spiced grilled chicken brochette, turkey ham and Arabian cheese wraps, Gulf prawn cocktail and crispy pita crouton with hummus. Pastry lovers aren’t left out, either, with curry-orange cheesecake, zaatar-strawberry tart and cardamom-mascarpone mousse profiterole and baklava financier among the tantalising options. You can even make inroads into your five a day by trying out the selection of seasonal fruits with mint yoghurt and a salted caramel and gold chocolate praline.
Chef Lupfer hopes the afternoon tea will make guests “proud” of how Emirati culture is represented. He explains: “The aim of our new afternoon tea is to give something back to the local people. With The Dessert in the Desert, we want Abu Dhabi residents to enjoy a relaxing afternoon within the Arabesque architecture of our beautiful Lobby Lounge and to feel proud of the way that their culture is represented.”
Dhs220 (tea and coffee for two), Dhs360 (for two, including two glasses of bubbly). Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Khor Al Maqta (02 509 8555).