Hotel High Tea Death Match: The Ritz-Carlton Greenhouse Trumps The Drake
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven and High Tea enthusiast JetSetCD gives us her recommendation for Chi-town's finest tea hour. Enjoy.
Indeed the master of the Chicago institution of Hotel High Tea is, surprisingly, not The Drake. Only a few blocks away and tucked just off Michigan Ave sits the Ritz Carlton (which is actually a Four Seasons property), and at its 12th Floor Greenhouse you can expect the best High Tea in the Windy City.
Set at $27 per person for a complete service of seasonal pastries and choice of tea, they also offer a selection of rare and iced teas for a little extra $.
The Ritz Carlton service absolutely requires reservations, as the seating is true English style in arrangements of plush floral-print chairs and couches around a quiet fountain, and the staff is strict on the number in your party so as to seat you best. Settle in and you'll note the Frette linens, Wedgwood China, and silver service stamped with the Ritz Carlton insignia.
No skimping on the "proper way" here.
Unlike The Drake's Palm Court, which tends to feel like what it is: a hotel lobby, the Greenhouse at the Ritz Carlton effectively lifts you out of the hotel traffic and into a space framed for idle chit-chat, lit by the sky and with a view of the John Hancock Center.
Perhaps the most exciting bit is the seasonal tray of goodies, which this winter featured crustless sandwiches of pumpkin and curry chicken, raspberry scones, fig tarts, cranberry nut bread, and the ever-important, really awesome lemon curd.
That is only a sampling, and as the offerings on the trays are filling as they are tasty, you might find yourself being completely gauche by asking for a doggy bag.
Now as High Tea at The Drake slowly falls victim to a mix of tourists, casual wear and staleness, you can find soliloquy and a return to the good ol' days of High Tea while sippin' at the Ritz.