The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong, the five star hotel that occupies the 102nd to 118th floors of the Sun Hung Kai-owned International Commerce Centre (ICC) which made it the world’s highest hotel, which also featured both a bar and pool on the 188th making it the highest bar and swimming pool in the world (at 1588ft above ground).
Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual which was introduced in Britain as early as the 1840’s. It was a small meal primarily eaten to aid the hunger before dinner (which back in the days was at 8pm). Afternoon tea consisted of sandwiches that is cut into finger sizes – hence the term ‘finger sandwiches’ as seen on the menus today, scones with clotted cream and jam; sweet pastries and cakes. Not forgetting, tea that contains loose tea leaves. The tradition of Afternoon Tea was initially developed as a private ladies event high up in the society, it became more popular when Queen Victoria started participating in the After Tea ritual that it became a formal occasion on a larger scale – otherwise known as ‘tea receptions’. Depending on where you are or the event, tea receptions are usually eaten between 4pm-7pm (The Langham Hotel) offered a ceremony where there would be an individual dressed up to represent those in the 1860’s who enjoyed a good afternoon tea. I do not remember the main story of this but I do remember, every diner was offered a flute of champagne.
Back to the modern days, having transported up to the 103rd floor in 50 seconds, my excitement for the afternoon tea got me more and more excited, there were two choices of afternoon tea, the 102nd floor at The Lounge and Bar offered a traditional tea and the 103rd offered a ‘Signature Chocolate Afternoon Tea’. It was a little confusing when I arrived with my fiancé as the receptionist on the 103rd floor couldn’t find out booking even though I knew it was the same lady who had called me the day before. We were seated the The Lounge & Bar area and it was still great. As our floor was high already, it really did pull off the term ‘high tea’. The view was breathtaking and the views were stunning, the grandness of the floor was very much the tea for a princess (or prince). The tables were spaced out generously especially being in Hong Kong but our table were a little small however even though we ordered an afternoon tea and a burger on the side (because we can!!). If I do return to Hong Kong for afternoon tea I will be back. Words can not describe how amazing it was – although I have afternoon tea quite often, the scenery really did made a difference.
The afternoon tea contained a lot more sweet desserts than the traditional ones we have in the UK, with a few tarts and creamy desserts to satisfy the sugar addicts. I can look at certain parts of Hong Kong from above and although it was around 5pm when we finished sunset was approaching – or at least the pollution made it looked like it was sunset anyway.
The scones tasted fresh and the texture of each scone tasted great, the pastries were also nice however it was very nice to see and taste the difference in afternoon tea when compared to the UK. There was only one finger sandwich so I didn’t really know what to expect after from, looking forward in eating all of the desserts and cakes.
What ruined the afternoon tea a little was there were a number of ladies – girls actually having to take a high number of selfies and photographing themselves eating. We had a girl who was alone and took selfies of herself in all possible angles to make it look like she was not dining alone (maybe an aspiring lifestyle model) and a pair of girls who had to move around to take photos for each other – we pretty much finished all the scones by the time they finished and personally I am a very slow eater. It was a relaxing afternoon tea but it also was an eye opening tea. I guess the growing trend of high tea in Hong Kong had meant people have to be seen in the right places and doing the right things. I know I keep switching between the use of high tea and afternoon tea, because it is a little difficult to switch for someone who is used to calling it a certain term.
Ps. Apologies for the quality of the photos. I used an iPhone to capture the photos.
Atmosphere: – 3/5
Head down to the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong for the Afternoon Tea
102/f, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, Elements, Hong Kong