I was never one to have tea parties as a child. Reading or drawing, watching movies and playing outside were more my thing but now as an adult I think I need to make up for lost time. And who doesn’t love a good tea party?
The Ritz Carlton is famous for their afternoon tea; a tradition that started with a Duchess in Queen Victoria’s court who was sick of getting hungry between lunch and dinner. Totally sounds like me 🙂 Well this brilliant woman started a tradition that has now spread throughout the world, popping up at little tea shops and boutique hotels and most famously at Ritz Cartlon locations including the one right here in Naples!
The funny thing about me writing a review for afternoon tea is the fact that I actually can’t stand tea. To me it tastes like watery grass, not plain enough to be water but not flavorful enough to be like juice. Call me weird but I don’t get it. Instead, when I booked the reservation I asked for hot chocolate and the Ritz was happy to accommodate me. Luckily, my friend Yvonne loves a good tea and accompanied me on my little adventure.
Afternoon Tea at the Ritz is held on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm-4pm and reservations are a must! You also need to dress the part; afternoon dresses, Sundays best etc. You WILL embarrass yourself if you wear jeans or something too casual so please don’t do it. And be prepared to spend a little dough – The Royal Tea is $55 per person so plan ahead.
As you can see, the table was set beautifully and came with the high level of service that you would come to expect from the a wordwide brand like the Ritz Carlton. This isn’t a simple smile as they show you to your table; if there’s one thing to love the Ritz Carlton for, it’s their service which is more “Hello Madame, allow me to show you to your table” where they even pull the seat out for you, hand you the menu, tell you their name and offer you some bubbly. My kind of service – all the way!
Now before I go on, please know that this isn’t an attempt to be stuck up or act entitled. This is simply me pointing out a level of service that is so rarely used anymore, it saddens me. Anyone can appreciate being treated so wonderfully that you leave with a smile on your face. And our server Jose did just that.
As I mentioned before, My friend Yvonne and I ordered the Royal Tea which is the ultimate experience! A glass of champagne starts your journey as you select your tea from a large list of blacks, herbals, fruity and non caffeinated options. The most popular seems to be the Custom Blend which is a Ritz Original:
Estate black tea from China and India delicately perfumed with Florida oranges and citrus fruits. Estate black tea leaves mingle with the seductiveness of the scent and flavors of Florida oranges. Capturing the essence of luxury and elegance only found in The Ritz-Carlton, Naples Blend.
LEAF DESCRIPTION Tightly-twisted medium ebony leaves
AROMA Hint of citrus
PALATE AND FINISH Medium body, spicy with citrus notes
This is the tea that Yvonne chose and her consensus was – delicious, aromatic and fruity but well balanced. My hot cocoa on the other hand was hot, creamy and very chocolaty! I’m also not a fan of champagne – don’t know if you’ve noticed but I have a sweet palate and champagne generally isn’t sweet – so I asked if I could have a Moscato D’Asti instead and naturally they obliged. Honestly I could have downed the whole bottle it was that good! Did I mention they went down to their wine stores underground to get it for me? Service, service, service!
We drank our bubblys and sipped our hot beverages while we waited for our tray of goodies to arrive. It felt like forever, though it was only minutes and I’m pretty sure it was my anticipation that dragged on, Call me a sucker for well prepared food…
Well worth the wait! Stacked with a variety of sweet and savory offerings, our tower of food contained two of every item. Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m hungry and that looks like scraps from a buffet line – allow me to tell you how wrong you are! First of all, the food itself is first class. The small tarts were filled with the best tasting chicken salad I have ever had. The sandwiches were both delicate and robust, ranging from traditional cucumber to a smoked salmon and saffron mousse with capers.
The sweet treats were chocolate, lemon and raspberry, each lovely and not overly sugary. The triangle shaped cookies were snickerdoodle and gingerbread and tasted downright heavenly but my favorite had to be the scones. Call me a sucker for a well made scone with clotted cream but this was probably the greatest scone I’ve ever had, perfectly crumbly with a hint of sugar, the cream was thick and slightly tart. Did I mention we got fresh strawberries served with whipped cream and Grand Mariner? YUM!!
Once we demolished the tray (cough… cough, don’t judge me) and drank a few kettles worth and a couple of glasses of bubbly – ok seriously stop judging – we realized we were really full. So while you shouldn’t go expecting a full meal, you will not leave hungry unless you’re a 6 foot 5, 250 lbs football player, then you might need a few trays but I’m certain the Ritz will be happy to do it 🙂 Great conversation added to our experience, forcing us to overstay the 2 hour window but since this was the Ritz and not a fast food joint, we were not asked to “leave already.”
I know it’s a steep (did you catch that??) price to pay for watery grass served in fine china but please believe me when I say it’s well worth the price. The service is top notch, the food is wonderful, the tea is memorable and the experience is one to have before you die… And it’s just plain fun! So make reservations, pick out a lovely spring dress, gather your girlfriends and indulge in tasty treats and yummy drinks. You won’t regret it!
280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.
Naples, FL 34108 United States