Centuries ago, the Western world formed a ritual built out of a love for an ancient Eastern delicacy—tea. Within the realm of modern, day-to-day caffeine consumption, tea is sometimes overshadowed by coffee, its more regularly consumed counterpart. Even so, the special tradition of sitting down to Afternoon Tea has never gone out of fashion, both here in the U.S. and across the pond in the U.K., where the practice originated.
At The Westgate, we proudly offer world-class traditional Afternoon Tea service, as well as seasonal and themed tea services that add an additional celebratory feeling. For those that have enjoyed taking tea in the past and for those who are looking forward to a future indulgence, here is our guide to making the most of a traditional tea service at The Westgate.
Time for Tea
It is commonly accepted that the practice of Afternoon Tea began in the 1800s, when the Duchess of Bedford, who was a close friend of Queen Victoria, desired to eliminate “the sinking feeling” she often felt in the middle of the afternoon. Not quite lunch and not quite dinner, the art of sitting down to afternoon tea service was born.
Still today, Afternoon Tea brings a levity and celebratory nature to that part of the day that can often lapse into a lull. With three courses of classic, delicate sandwiches, variations of fresh pastries, and authentic French macarons, alongside an extensive selection of handcrafted tea blends, The Westgate’s Afternoon Tea satisfies mid-day peckishness and brings brightness to a time of day that isn’t always afforded the most excitement or attention.
The More, the Merrier
As Afternoon Tea became more widely practiced by the end of the 19th century, its primary purpose became more and more social. In fact, among England’s upper classes, it became a standard, daily social occasion. Hosting friends for tea was an opportunity to socialize with your “regular set” or to catch up with wider connections and less-frequent visitors.
Similarly, coming for tea at The Westgate is a special event best experienced together, either as an intimate tête-à-tête or for parties and group occasions. From mother-daughter outings to romantic dates to baby or bridal showers, coming together over tea is the perfect way to mark any social event, big or small.
A Fashionable Affair
Along with the social aspect, as Afternoon Tea rose in popularity and commonality, it also developed its own place for specified fashions of the period. In the 19th century and onward, it was common for ladies and gentlemen to change into their designated teatime attire. For women, gloves and hats were donned specifically for sitting down to tea, and as the weather permitted and tea tables were able to be set outside, they would also change into lighter, flowy gowns.
When getting ready for tea at The Westgate, many guests enjoy mimicking this tradition—having fun with their own take on tea attire—whether by wearing hats and gloves or by putting their own spin on a favorite outfit. Whatever your taste and take on teatime styles, the elegant setting of The Westgate will offer an all-encompassing ambiance to the proceedings. From the shimmering antique chandeliers to the Versailles-inspired furnishings that surround, every Afternoon Tea will transport you to another time and inspire memories you’ll not soon forget.
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