Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.
Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, is credited with starting British afternoon tea in 1840 and her friends routinely began to join by the end of the century. Since then, the time-honored practice has included everyone, but it's often still thought of as a women-centric tradition. That is until The Lowell, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, decided to change up the classic meal by creating a Gentlemen's Tea.
While the luxury New York hotel will still serve finger sandwiches, scones, sweets, and a selection of teas, they will also offer whiskeys or ports. Sticking with tradition, you'll get a three-tiered platter with a fall sandwich selection including a lobster roll, turkey sandwich, foie gras with truffle and fig jam, seasonal eclair, carrot cake, pecan tarts, and more. Then the service includes teas from Dammann Frères—Assam Doomni TGFOP, Lapsang Souchong, or Vanille—paired with a carefully selected list of Angel's Envy whiskeys and Sandeman and Harveys port. Of course, scones accompanied with Cumberland Sauce are included as well.
The entire experience takes place in the hotel's famous Pembroke Room that features an opulent European design complete with French doors that open to a secret courtyard. It's this unique location that inspired the typical offering: Garden Tea. But instead of pastel plates and floral designs, the Gentlemen's Tea is served on black-and-white striped china and sophisticated tumblers.
This is the latest twist on traditional afternoon tea, but many hotels have modernized the classic meal. Rosewood London, another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, created an art-inspired afternoon tea modeling their pastries after iconic contemporary artists like Damien Hirst and Banksy. And The St. Regis New York launched its Salvador Dali tea inspired by the artist's famous works like "The Persistence of Memory."
The Gentlemen's Tea at The Lowell service will be available through November 10, Wednesday to Sunday, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.