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White House-shaped desserts on a white table.
St. Regis rolled out a new “Presidential” tea service this summer.
St. Regis

Where to Enjoy Extravagant Afternoon Tea Around D.C.

Tea time, anyone?

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St. Regis rolled out a new “Presidential” tea service this summer.
| St. Regis

Afternoon tea might be rooted in English traditions, but the elegant pastime lives on in many of D.C.’s most luxurious hotels (and a few other special spots). According to legend, Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, popularized afternoon tea time in the 19th century because she got hungry between meals. The practice really became fashionable among England’s upper classes during that same century.

Several favorites have departed the list with this update. The afternoon tea at the Washington National Cathedral is currently on hiatus during the COVID-19 crisis. Brothers and Sisters in the trendy Adams Morgan Line Hotel has closed. Elegant and popular Lady Camellia has paused its service to focus on the tearoom coming to Old Town Alexandria. And, the Four Seasons, making a return after a 10-year hiatus at the last update, is on hiatus again.

Here are 10 places around D.C. to find spreads of sumptuous scones, exquisite pastries, and finger sandwiches served with steaming pots of tea.

—Updated by Tierney Plumb

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The Mansion on O & O Street Museum

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For the ultimate high tea party in the heart of Dupont, the Mansion on O offers private room packages for 10 or more ($85 per person). The five-course spread, complete with butler service and a self-guided tour of the historic museum, comes with Tea Forté loose-leaf selections, bottomless bubbly, pastries, savory bites, cheese plates, and more.

Ladurée

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At this chic Parisian shop candy-hued macarons pop against a powder blue paint job for one of the most fanciful tea times around. Crystal chandeliers, a smooth white marble bar, and Bernardaud porcelain set a just-so tone. Savory food options include croissant sandwiches, quiche, and light salads. Tea is served all day.

The interior of Ladurée Georgetown.
Ladurée Georgetown has one of the prettiest tea settings around.
Ladurée

Ching Ching Cha

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Afternoon tea may skew English, but tea first came from China and unassuming Ching Ching Cha makes an excellent case for a Chinese experience. Locals and tourists alike enjoy selections from the extensive food and tea menu while busy servers keep cast-iron tea kettles brimming with hot water. A “tea meal” (11:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.) that comes with three vegetables, a soup, and featured entrees like mapo tofu, curry chicken, or mustard miso salmon, is a steal (starting at $16).

The Tavern at The Henley Park

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Housed in a English Tudor-style building built in 1918, this historic hotel serves a quiet afternoon tea in its Tavern Room, where light streams in through lead glass windows. Choose from two menus (Royal tea is $55 per person; English tea is $45 per person) and indulge in a selection sandwiches, tartlets, dried fruit scones, and more. A selection of champagne cocktails are $16 for each drink or $28 for unlimited drinks. Tea is served Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations required.

The St. Regis

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Open near the White House since 1926, the St. Regis’s new Presidential afternoon tea service features desserts, pastries, tea sandwiches, and scones that pay homage to past presidential guests. A layered blueberry cheesecake honors President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s love for his wife’s blueberry pudding, while a toasted coconut lime cream profiterole speaks to President Ronald Reagan’s obsession for jellybeans. Offered in its opulent lobby with Dammann Frères teas and optional Champagne pairings. Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are required, and the price starts at $65 per person.

The new Presidential Tea Service at the St. Regis.
St. Regis

Opaline Bar and Brasserie

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The Sofitel’s lobby-level brasserie puts a French spin on afternoon tea service. The Le Goûter menu comes with assorted seasonal tea sandwiches (heirloom tomato, cucumber, egg salad), deviled eggs with caviar, madeleines, macarons, Metz loose-leaf teas, and Lavazza French press, plus la carte tea-infused cocktails and espresso martinis. Available Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $49 per person.

Opaline puts a French spin on afternoon tea service.
@letsnomnom for Opaline

Kingbird

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The Watergate Hotel’s Kingbird restaurant got into a bit of (ahem) hot water a few years ago when a $400 tea appeared on the menu. Now there’s a weekend afternoon tea that’s a much more reasonable ($75 for adults). The swinging ‘60s-themed menu on Saturdays features retro bites and bottomless tea.

Tea service at Kingbird.
Kingbird

The Willard

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Taking afternoon tea in the Willard Hotel’s plush, red-carpeted Peacock Alley is a D.C. tradition. In addition to traditional afternoon tea service — complete with live harp music — the Willard also hosts special seasonal teas. Make a reservation; afternoon tea often sells out far in advance around Christmas and cherry blossom season. Tea with a glass of champagne is $75 per adult; $40 for children with a glass of sparkling cider. Tea is offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and just weekends starting August.

Mandarin Oriental

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For those needing a break from sightseeing on the National Mall, the Mandarin Oriental offers afternoon tea on weekends (Friday to Sunday) in the Empress Lounge. Choose from a selection of teas from around the world, served with savory bites, scones, and sweets. Advance reservations required. Seatings at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Friday to Sunday.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel [Official]

The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

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Ritz-Carlton properties in Pentagon City and Tysons Corner offer afternoon tea every Saturday and Sunday. They serve a selection of premium loose leaf teas designed in collaboration with Dammann Frères, along with seasonal pastries, canapés, and tea sandwiches. There are also scones, of course, served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and fruit preserves. The cost is $58 per person (or $38 for kids 12 and under) from noon to 3 p.m.

Weekend tea service at the Ritz-Carlton Arlington.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel

The Mansion on O & O Street Museum

For the ultimate high tea party in the heart of Dupont, the Mansion on O offers private room packages for 10 or more ($85 per person). The five-course spread, complete with butler service and a self-guided tour of the historic museum, comes with Tea Forté loose-leaf selections, bottomless bubbly, pastries, savory bites, cheese plates, and more.

Ladurée

At this chic Parisian shop candy-hued macarons pop against a powder blue paint job for one of the most fanciful tea times around. Crystal chandeliers, a smooth white marble bar, and Bernardaud porcelain set a just-so tone. Savory food options include croissant sandwiches, quiche, and light salads. Tea is served all day.

The interior of Ladurée Georgetown.
Ladurée Georgetown has one of the prettiest tea settings around.
Ladurée

Ching Ching Cha

Afternoon tea may skew English, but tea first came from China and unassuming Ching Ching Cha makes an excellent case for a Chinese experience. Locals and tourists alike enjoy selections from the extensive food and tea menu while busy servers keep cast-iron tea kettles brimming with hot water. A “tea meal” (11:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.) that comes with three vegetables, a soup, and featured entrees like mapo tofu, curry chicken, or mustard miso salmon, is a steal (starting at $16).

The Tavern at The Henley Park

Housed in a English Tudor-style building built in 1918, this historic hotel serves a quiet afternoon tea in its Tavern Room, where light streams in through lead glass windows. Choose from two menus (Royal tea is $55 per person; English tea is $45 per person) and indulge in a selection sandwiches, tartlets, dried fruit scones, and more. A selection of champagne cocktails are $16 for each drink or $28 for unlimited drinks. Tea is served Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations required.

The St. Regis

Open near the White House since 1926, the St. Regis’s new Presidential afternoon tea service features desserts, pastries, tea sandwiches, and scones that pay homage to past presidential guests. A layered blueberry cheesecake honors President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s love for his wife’s blueberry pudding, while a toasted coconut lime cream profiterole speaks to President Ronald Reagan’s obsession for jellybeans. Offered in its opulent lobby with Dammann Frères teas and optional Champagne pairings. Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are required, and the price starts at $65 per person.

The new Presidential Tea Service at the St. Regis.
St. Regis

Opaline Bar and Brasserie

The Sofitel’s lobby-level brasserie puts a French spin on afternoon tea service. The Le Goûter menu comes with assorted seasonal tea sandwiches (heirloom tomato, cucumber, egg salad), deviled eggs with caviar, madeleines, macarons, Metz loose-leaf teas, and Lavazza French press, plus la carte tea-infused cocktails and espresso martinis. Available Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $49 per person.

Opaline puts a French spin on afternoon tea service.
@letsnomnom for Opaline

Kingbird

The Watergate Hotel’s Kingbird restaurant got into a bit of (ahem) hot water a few years ago when a $400 tea appeared on the menu. Now there’s a weekend afternoon tea that’s a much more reasonable ($75 for adults). The swinging ‘60s-themed menu on Saturdays features retro bites and bottomless tea.

Tea service at Kingbird.
Kingbird

The Willard

Taking afternoon tea in the Willard Hotel’s plush, red-carpeted Peacock Alley is a D.C. tradition. In addition to traditional afternoon tea service — complete with live harp music — the Willard also hosts special seasonal teas. Make a reservation; afternoon tea often sells out far in advance around Christmas and cherry blossom season. Tea with a glass of champagne is $75 per adult; $40 for children with a glass of sparkling cider. Tea is offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and just weekends starting August.

Mandarin Oriental

For those needing a break from sightseeing on the National Mall, the Mandarin Oriental offers afternoon tea on weekends (Friday to Sunday) in the Empress Lounge. Choose from a selection of teas from around the world, served with savory bites, scones, and sweets. Advance reservations required. Seatings at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Friday to Sunday.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel [Official]

The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

Ritz-Carlton properties in Pentagon City and Tysons Corner offer afternoon tea every Saturday and Sunday. They serve a selection of premium loose leaf teas designed in collaboration with Dammann Frères, along with seasonal pastries, canapés, and tea sandwiches. There are also scones, of course, served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and fruit preserves. The cost is $58 per person (or $38 for kids 12 and under) from noon to 3 p.m.

Weekend tea service at the Ritz-Carlton Arlington.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel

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