Afternoon tea is a social event that’s been a British mainstay for over two centuries; increasing in worldwide popularity as people around the globe put their pinkies up for the ceremony and downright fanciful indulgence that often accompanies the experience.

And while formal tea services today are the exception rather than the rule, there are still a number of spots around the world where guests can indulge their whimsical side and partake of a fully immersive tea service—finger sandwiches and mini cakes definitely included. Below are some of the best luxe hotels where visitors can sip their way through afternoon tea with all the trimmings for an elevated experience that’s oh-so Victorian.

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Pinkies Up At The Plaza

Iconic NYC institution and uber-elegant establishment The Plaza has long been known as a luxe lodging and gathering place for those looking for everything from a sophisticated stay to a fanciful afternoon sojourn—and the glass-domed Palm Court is one such place where visitors can indulge their inner aristocrat with an indulgent outing of afternoon tea amid the lush Central Park-inspired decor. There are several options available for the elegant afternoon event which also includes a mouthwatering selection of sandwiches, scones, and sweets.

  • Address: Fifth Avenue Central Park South, New York, NY
  • Tea Time: 10:30 AM to 5 PM daily
  • Price/Person: The Plaza Signature Tea Service starts at $115/person, add champagne for an additional fee
  • Only The Best: The Grand Imperial Tea Service is the ultimate indulgence and is served with caviar, champagne, a selection of sweets, and the highest quality tea $595 for two

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Classic Afternoon Tea At The Biltmore Mayfair

Find your inner Brit in the Tea Lounge at the Biltmore Mayfair, a classic afternoon tea service that is an idyllic setting to hold court with a tea and a scone. Here, guests can customize their tea-drinking experience with just a cuppa and a sweet, or go all-in by adding a menu chock full of authentic English treats (yes, they have those cucumber sandwiches!) For extra elegance, guests can even opt for a glass of bubbly to sip while basking in the luxe environs of this Grosvenor Square spot.

  • Address: 44 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 2HP, United Kingdom
  • Tea Time: 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM daily
  • Price/Person: Simple scones and tea is approximately $33/person, while the full afternoon tea (with menu) is approximately $86/person
  • Only The Best: Complement your afternoon tea service with a glass of bubbly—the perfect accompaniment to a coronation chicken sandwich About $106/person

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Tea And Tradition At The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Tea at the luxe Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai is a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century and is still held in the lovely Sea Lounge—itself almost 120 years old. Oozing with colonial charm, old-world aesthetics, and a stunning view of the Arabian Sea, there’s no better place to raise your delicate china mug in salute to this timeless classic. There’s even live music, too—fitting for a transition from tea service to an evening spent watching the ships light up the harbor.

  • Address: Apollo Bunder, Mumbai, 400 001, India
  • Tea Time: 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM
  • Price/Person: Afternoon tea includes a delicious buffet stocked with local Indian classics in addition to the more traditional English delicacies, and is approximately $30 (for two)
  • Only The Best: Splurge on the Maharaja High Tea which is a princely selection of delicacies fit for royalty that is accompanied by sparkling wine (buffet also included) About $50 (for two)

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Sip A Brew With A View At Victoria Falls Hotel

Have your cake and eat it too while soaking up the stunning scenery from the outdoor terrace at the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. This timeless tradition is rendered even more elegant due to the Edwardian vibes that permeate this historic spot, and there’s no better place to appreciate the rush of the Zambezi River and the roar of the falls than while sipping tea on Stanley’s Terrace at one of the oldest hotels in Africa.

  • Address: 1 Mallet Drive, PO Box 10, Victoria Falls, Harare
  • Tea Time: 3 PM to 6 PM daily
  • Price/Person: High tea is served with all the traditional British accouterment like scones, sweets, and sandwiches and is approximately $15/person
  • Only The Best: Upgrade afternoon tea with a glass of champagne or a cocktail

Only The Finest Tea At The Fairmont Empress Hotel

A popular spot famous for a delightful afternoon tea service since 1908, the Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada ups the ante with its historic setting (there’s even a baby grand piano!) and rare, ethically produced Empress tea blends accompanied by a locally-sourced menu. Want to explore the beautiful grounds? Then break tradition and take a tea to-go and pack a picnic to enjoy while basking in the hotel’s bucolic beauty.

  • Address: 721 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 1W5
  • Tea Time: Spring/Summer 2022 seatings available from 11 AM to 4 PM daily
  • Price/Person: Afternoon tea includes a delectable selection of gourmet sandwiches, scones, and delicious sweet treats About $70/person
  • Only The Best: Have a Champagne Tea to remember with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut ($97/person), or live the luxe life with Royal Champagne Tea featuring a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rose ($102/person)

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While afternoon tea has its roots in merry old England, it's a tradition that’s enjoyed the world over by those looking for a classic way to get fancy with delicate china; strong brews; and an array of delectable treats from sandwiches to scones. An experience all its own, afternoon tea is a tradition that continues to delight those looking to raise their pinky and indulge in the afternoon atmosphere and affectation accompanied by tea and treats.

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