|Posh American hotels offer delightful upscale versions of afternoon tea, including some -- like The Plaza's "Eloise," with its colorful shortbread pastries -- just for kids.|
Price: $48-$78 per person ($28-$58 for kids under 12)
The Plaza offers perhaps America's best-known afternoon tea, held every day in the hotel's recently renovated $6.5 million Palm Court restaurant. A scene in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby involves two characters enjoying afternoon tea at the Palm Court. The Eloise series of children's books -- about a fictional 6-year-old girl who supposedly lives at the Plaza -- also helped make the Palm Court's tea service famous. These days, the restaurant offers four prix-fixe tea menus: "The Classic," "The New Yorker," "The Eloise Tea" and "The Chocolate Tea." The $48 Classic menu features pastries, warm scones and a selection of tea sandwiches ranging from truffled quail-egg salad to Maine lobster with sturgeon caviar.
The New Yorker, which also costs $48, puts a New York spin on afternoon tea. A prosciutto-and-mozarella sandwich replaces the caviar-and-lobster combo, while the pastry assortment features New York cheesecake, mini cannolis and black-and-white cookies. The Eloise and Chocolate teas are aimed at kids -- or at least the young at heart. The $58 Chocolate Tea comes with warm scones, a selection of pastries and a dessert fondue of pound cake, marshmallows and fruit that you dip into melted chocolate. The $48 Eloise Tea ($28 for children under 12) boasts kid-friendly fare such as grilled-cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly and Eloise shortbread cookies and pastries. All menus come with your choice of more than a dozen teas, while grownups can add Veuve Clicquot or other top-shelf champagne or sherry for an extra $20 per person. The Peninsula Chicago Hotel, Chicago
Price: $42 to $52 per person
This hotel offers traditional afternoon tea and "Royal-Tea" -- tea and snacks plus top-shelf champagne. An extra $8 gets you a glass of Henriot Souverain Brut Champagne, or you can go all out and order Lucien Albrecht Rose Brut for $10 per serving. Either way, your afternoon tea will include black-currant or maple-glazed scones, as well as your choice of a sweet menu or a savory one. The savory menu comes with caviar, cheese-and-leek quiche, smoked salmon on gingerbread and other hearty fare. The sweet option offers chestnut tea cake, a chocolate peppermint tart, an eggnog macaroon and more. Patrons can also choose from nearly three-dozen kinds of tea, from Silver Jasmine to Marrakech Mint. A cellist and violinist provide live music, while upscale retailers such as Ralph Lauren and YSL show their wares during the "Fashion Friday Afternoon Teas" that the Peninsula holds on select Fridays. The hotel also donates $4 every day to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure breast-cancer foundation for each prix-fixe afternoon tea that customers order.
Price: $40 to $55 per person
Hollywood's movers and shakers have frequented the Polo Lounge since the 1940s, when Will Rogers, Spencer Tracy and other legends took to hitting the bar after playing polo nearby (hence the restaurant's name). Today, the Polo Lounge augments its mealtime menus with daily afternoon tea. "The Polo Lounge
Price: $28 per person
This five-star hotel on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach serves afternoon tea in the middle of paradise. The Halekulani, whose name means "house befitting heaven," holds its tea service on a veranda overlooking a garden courtyard just steps from Hawaii's most famous oceanfront. "The Halekulani
Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.