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Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Lowell Hotel

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

The dress code is always dresses and heels, and this year I wore a beautiful emerald cutout dress by Cynthia Rowley (find it here) and my favorite nude Louboutins (find them here).

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

It was the perfect dress for twirling!

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

If you’ve never been inside, The Lowell is beautiful. My cousin Marisa and I arrived early, so we had some time to explore.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

We loved the bar area so much we decided to sit down and have a drink while waiting for the other ladies to arrive.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

I loved the title of the bubbly menu: “Champagne Relief!”

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

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!

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Here we are, the ladies who lunch tea! From left to right: Mary Elizabeth, Jess, Steph, me, Marisa, Nicole, Kendall and Vickie.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

The desserts were boring too. They tasted fine but weren’t all that pretty to look at either.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Then after we each had our presents, we headed downstairs for another afternoon tea tradition: pictures in front of the Christmas tree.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

I couldn’t have asked for better friends with whom to celebrate the holiday season.

Christmas Afternoon Tea in the Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel - New York City - Wanderlust in the City

Merry Christmas!

~A

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