Tag Archive for: Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon

Taking Tea — and a Break from the 21st Century — at Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon at The Inn at Irving Place

Talk about a misnomer. Lady Mendl, aka Elsie de Wolfe, the pioneering interior designer and Age of Innocence-era grand dame, never lived in the twin 1834 townhouses containing the tea salon bearing her name. And we can’t imagine this crusading modernist who loathed Victorian frou frou would have selected, or condoned, the curvaceous loveseats, tufted brocades, fringed lampshades and acres of carved wood that fill the salon’s two parlors.

No matter. We can’t think of a better place to retreat when you want to take a quick break from the 21st century. Read more

Scones, Sandwiches and Lapsang Souchong: Afternoon Teas Worth Taking at NYC Hotels

High tea and texting don’t mix. That, at least, is how I felt on a recent weekday afternoon as I sipped Lapsang Souchong and nibbled miniature sandwiches in the Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula hotel.

Afternoon tea at a hotel is something of an anachronism, a last link to a “What is the weekend?” world. It’s the anti-fast food, offering a civilized setting for a business meeting, a cozy chat or a vacation from the 21st-century for an hour or two.

Its charms depend on getting the mix of old and new just right, a balancing act that’s oddly tricky. Too much tradition and high tea feels fusty.  Not enough and it’s not High Tea. Read more