Tea Time at The Chesterfield, Palm Beach

Last week we had the pleasure of indulging in an afternoon tea at the Chesterfield Palm Beach. This must-try experience was elegant and refined, boasting impeccable service, a charming ambience, and superb nibbles.

Traditionally served mid afternoon (4:00 p.m. to be precise) to temper hunger between lunch and dinner, afternoon tea usually consists of sandwiches, tea and a variety of sweet items. Taking care to recreate a traditional British afternoon tea session for its guests, The Chesterfield staff regularly serves up a delicious spread of scrumptious house made finger sandwiches, delicate petit four, warm handmade scones, looseleaf tea and so much more.

What to Expect

One of the few Palm Beach destinations offering Traditional English Afternoon Tea, the Chesterfield welcomes guests into a wood-paneled library just off the main foyer. The built-in bookshelves, fireplace, leather couches and high back chairs will make you feel like British nobility in a stately countryside home circa 1902. Sit and sip tea in this cozy atmosphere while aromatic tea blends linger.

 {Photo:  The Chesterfield }

As you approach the meticulously set table, you and your guests are tended to like royalty, with no detail left unturned. Choose from a selection of loose leaf teas with your choice of lemon, cream, and cubed sugar. For a special treat, add a glass of Champagne or wine. Your appetite will whet as the dainty tea sandwiches of egg salad, roasted chicken salad with walnuts, smoked Chilean salmon, English cucumbers, and tomato and cheddar arrive alongside the delicious pastries and confections, including carrot and chocolate cakes, cream puffs, and fruit tarts. Enjoy your beverages, bites, and company while the made to order scones are baked to perfection. These heavenly scones are served warm from the oven with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserves. The sweetest ending to a brilliant, elegant and relaxing afternoon!

What You Should Know

The Chesterfield Palm Beach, part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, is a four-star luxury boutique hotel recognized as a historical landmark by the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation. Book a room for your trip to Palm Beach, or enjoy a lovely staycation at a hotel known for its traditional English hospitality and old world charm. The Chesterfield is steps from the famed shopping district of Worth Avenue, and a short stroll from the sapphire waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Many celebrities, such as Drew Berrymore, Patty Labell, Rod Stewart, and Jimmy Fallon (to name a few) have frequented its halls. The hotel retains its importance in the Palm Beach social scene serving as a vacation and seasonal residence for many of our local elite and their VIPs (Very Important Pets).

 Choose from a selection of loose leaf teas

Choose from a selection of loose leaf teas

 Sample a variety of delicate tea sandwiches 

Sample a variety of delicate tea sandwiches 

 House made pastries and confections

House made pastries and confections

 Freshly baked warm scones with clotted cream and jam

Freshly baked warm scones with clotted cream and jam

How to Book

This unique and exquisite experience is not to be missed! The Chesterfield offers several Afternoon Tea experiences (see menu below). It is served daily from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Weather permitting, you can opt for tea in their lovely and lush courtyard. Although not required, reservations are recommended, call (561) 659-5800.

The Chesterfield Palm Beach - 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, FL 33480

A Brief History of Afternoon Tea, as provided by The Chesterfield:

Tea was first introduced to Britain in the 1640’s as sailors returning from the Far East brought back packets of tea into the country as gifts. By 1700 tea had become a popular drink and was on sale in more than 500 coffee houses in London.

In 1840, Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, pioneered the idea of Afternoon Tea. In her household the evening meals were served fashionably late at eight o’clock, which left a long period between lunch and dinner. To stave off pangs of hunger she started to request a tray of tea, bread and butter along with some cake to be brought to her room in the late afternoon. This soon became a habit and she started to invite friends to join her for this daily ritual.

Initially this practice was limited to the upper classes and it is probably from this time that the notion of tea and the aristocracy became associated with each other. In the late 1800’s no well brought up young English women could consider herself socially acceptable unless she knew how to make and present Afternoon Tea.

As with any fashion, the hostesses did their best to outdo each other. Bread and butter were soon replaced by sandwiches filled with exotic ingredients such as lobster, smoked salmon, roast beef and these were served alongside scones, crumpets, teacakes, and English muffins.

“Taking tea” became so popular that the teashop emerged in London so that Afternoon Tea could be enjoyed by the general public. In the late 1880’s hotels began to offer tea service in tea courts and Afternoon Tea was regarded as a fashionable event.