Every year before going our separate ways for the holidays, I host my friends at a festive Christmas afternoon tea. This year we celebrated at The Lowell Hotel on the Upper East Side.
It was the perfect dress for twirling!
If you’ve never been inside, The Lowell is beautiful. My cousin Marisa and I arrived early, so we had some time to explore.
We loved the bar area so much we decided to sit down and have a drink while waiting for the other ladies to arrive.
I loved the title of the bubbly menu: “Champagne Relief!”
We decided on cocktails. I had the Hemingway with Havana club rum, luxardo, lime, and grapefruit. In honor of our Moroccan travels, Marisa ordered the Marrakesh Express with Tito’s vodka, pineapple, and orange blossom water. They were both delicious!
Then it was time for tea! We headed upstairs to The Pembroke Room, an intimate and quiet space. The lobby downstairs is beautifully decorated for the holidays, so I was a little disappointed that the Pembroke Room didn’t feel equally festive.
Here we are, the ladies who
lunch tea! From left to right: Mary Elizabeth, Jess, Steph, me, Marisa, Nicole, Kendall and Vickie.
Since we were a group of eight, when I made the reservation The Lowell had me select three teas to be served to our party. Then we each chose one of the three teas to drink. I’m sure this procedure made it easier on the staff when it came time to serve us, but I have done afternoon teas with larger groups at other locations where that wasn’t necessary. So while I wouldn’t say I hated this aspect, I didn’t particularly love it either.
The tea sandwiches arrived first on individual plates. I was not at all impressed with them, neither their presentation nor their taste were all that remarkable.
The desserts were boring too. They tasted fine but weren’t all that pretty to look at either.
The staff served the scones last, which I thought was a bit odd. Normally you dine on the scones before moving on to the dessert course. However, I did think these scones were excellent. They were extremely moist, which was a wonderful surprise since often afternoon tea scones can be much too dry. There were also several flavors to choose from, and the waiter was great about bringing the scone basket back to us so we could have as many as our hearts desired.
If you can tell, I wasn’t all that impressed with The Lowell’s afternoon tea. Whenever I’m looking for a new afternoon tea spot, I refer to Oh, How Civilized, a fabulous blog devoted to afternoon tea in New York City. The author has never let me down before, and I’ve loved every tea spot she’s recommended in the past. However, I disagree with her five-star rating of The Lowell. I was disappointed in the quality, as well as the hotel’s marketing of it being a “Holiday Tea.” It had no holiday aspect to it whatsoever.
Luckily we brought the holiday festivities with us! It’s tradition that we each bring a gift for a gift exchange, and it’s fun opening mystery presents and stealing your favorite gift.
Then after we each had our presents, we headed downstairs for another afternoon tea tradition: pictures in front of the Christmas tree.
I couldn’t have asked for better friends with whom to celebrate the holiday season.