The linens were crisply ironed and the pretty Lissi Kaplan hand-painted china plates were promptly and correctly set. A tower of scones, pastries and finger sandwiches created by executive chef Richard Ruskell came out in timely fashion although the rest of the accoutrements (the all-important jam and butter cream) took a bit longer. Apparently, the room is staffed by just one waitress (and no, she does not wear white gloves.)
Our favorites were the scones, of course but we also devoured the cucumber and Danish butter on pumperknickel and the egg salad on white bread. We had to save the pastries, while they looked mouth-watering, for later. (The waitress carefully boxed them up for us and are in our fridge right now, awaiting 3:30pm snack time.)
And about the tea? Since it was about 90 degrees in Beverly Hills yesterday we had to ask for ours iced. Yes, for those who like a formal tea time, you may want to look elsewhere. But if you just want to relax and enjoy some small, hand-crafted bites on a lazy afternoon, Montage does it just right. Just don't expect to make phone calls or check email. The lounge is a dead-zone but as soon as you step outside, service works. (Update: The hotel tells us they were having some network issues the day we were there but they have since been resolved. So break out your Blackberries and iPhones!)
The basic tea service we ordered is $39 per person. There are other types of tea depending on your group--a Gent's Tea with scotch ($51) for the menfolk, a Royale Tea ($61) which includes Veuve Cliquot for the boozers and even a Kid's Tea ($29) which include nutella, pb&j, and grilled cheese sandwiches. For more on the hotel's tea time, go here.
Insider Tip: Unlike most hotels in LA, a plus for non-hotel guests is the parking situation. The Montage is served by an underground parking garage from the city of Beverly Hills that gives you two hours free.