When my friend Marcy suggested tea at the Biltmore with our friends Anne and AJ last weekend, I could hardly contain my excitement. Not only was this an afternoon out with the gals, but it was sipping tea and eating pretty food… and an excuse to dress up. As a gal who works from home, there aren’t a lot of occasions for me to put on much more than yoga pants. Tea means a dress. and even the opportunity to put on a hat, so I was IN.
First of all, the Biltmore is a beautiful step back in time. When people say, “They don’t make ’em like that any more,” I’m pretty sure they are referring to the Biltmore. It is gorgeous, elegant and luxurious–and that’s just the public areas.
Tea is served in an open public area filled with sunlight (pictured above). The table was set with Old Country Rose china, which I suppose is the “go to” china pattern when folks are trying to mimic antique pieces. (It is easy to find in mass quantities and dishwasher safe, which is a definitely a bonus if you are looking for a pattern.) The teapots and tiered cake plate that are brought out are less expensive pieces/patterns (not Royal Albert brand), but still look lovely, because you can’t go wrong with flowers.
The finger sandwiches, cakes, scones and cookies are delightful. We had tea at 2:30, and if you do a late afternoon tea, I recommend not using it as a substitute for lunch. As in the true tradition of afternoon tea, this isn’t a hardy meal–just a light (but insanely delicious) afternoon nosh, if you will.
What’s even better there was simply no rush for us to leave. We sat for about two hours (maybe longer) and we only left after worrying if we had been there a little too long. Sitting on a feather couch for two hours, I swear I could have stayed there until it was dark. The people watching was divine and it was the absolute perfect place to chat with the girls.
Was the afternoon perfect? Well… it was pretty darn close. I have two complaints (which are seriously lame):
1. Sugar tongs were not offered with the sugar cubes. In a hotel so nice, I was really surprised that this detail was overlooked. That being said, I am crazy about sugar tongs and collect them, so perhaps I should have brought my own.
2. The lighting was terrible and when you get four PR gals who live on social media in one space together, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of photos that are going to happen because in our world, if you don’t take photos (and post them on social media), it simply didn’t happen. I blame the lighting on the beautiful sunny day. Darn you, Sun, for messing up our photos!
Anyway, to get serious again, I cannot say enough about how lovely the entire tea experience was. At $35 per person, the Biltmore is a fantastic place to get out and “do tea” with the ladies, and I would absolutely do it again.