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Guide to San Diego Hotels Featuring Afternoon Tea Service

The Westgate Hotel

The Westgate Hotel

  • The Westgate Hotel
  • Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
  • Shakespeare’s Pub & Grille
  • Tea Upon Chatsworth
  • Holiday Inn Bayside
  • The Grand Del Mar
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Tea service was introduced in London in the 1840s by the Duchess of Bedford. Historically, Afternoon Tea was a light meal served between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., enjoyed by the upper class. Today, with the majority of adults working, tea is savored at meal time and referred to as High Tea. Actually, the terms are interchangeable in modern day lexicon. One need not be from across the pond to enjoy the tradition. Here are a few places to have a jolly good time.

The Westgate Hotel
1055 Second Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (800) 522-1564
Scones and Devonshire Cream are synonymous with Afternoon Tea, as are other delectables on the Westgate’s menu. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday tiered etageres displaying finger sandwiches such as black tiger shrimp, cucumber and cilantro cream cheese, or cheddar cheese and chive muffins and assorted petit fours are served from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. A harpist languidly strums her instrument in the background while diners sip a variety of the 11 offered teas or a glass of bubbly…or both. (Room rates April 29, 2011 start at $204. Afternoon Tea $29 per person, $32 per person with a glass of Champagne included. $19 for children 12 years and younger.)

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
7100 Aviara Resort Drive Carlsbad, CA 92011 (760) 448-1234
The Lobby Lounge with picture windows exhibiting Carlsbad’s ochre sunsets and ocean views is the setting for Aviara’s traditional English Tea. Sultana scones with rose petal jelly and lemon curd, finger sandwiches, and pastries are served Wednesdays through Sundays at 2 p.m. Herbal and fruit fragrances emanate from porcelain tea pots as the leaves steep to perfection. A weekend pianist attracts sanguine guests content to sip nature's bounty while tunes tickle the air. (Room rates April 29, 2011 start at $350. Afternoon Tea $30 per person, $37 per person with a glass of sparkling wine. $15 for children 12 years and younger.)

Shakespeare’s Pub & Grille
3719 India Street San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 683-BRIT

Hampton Inn San Diego Downtown
1531 Pacific Highway San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 233-8408
Blimey mate, it doesn’t get more authentic than Shakespeare’s for pub grub and Afternoon Tea. It’s not located in a hotel, but 1.7 miles west is the Hampton Inn Bayside. Walkable, really. Friday morning at 6 a.m. doors open for a royal-wedding breakfast and tape-delayed showing of the long awaited ceremony. The Kate Middleton inspired “fascinator” headpiece is sure to turn up in the hat contest. It’s the perfect attire for the Afternoon Tea. Food selections deviate from the norm; baked sausage roll with Branston pickles is difficult to find elsewhere. Cadbury’s hot chocolate, Gunpowder green tea and Cedarlife Roobios leaves from South Africa are equally unique. (Hampton Inn San Diego room rates April 29, 2011 start at $109. Shakespeare’s Afternoon Tea $19.95 per person. $10.95 for children 12 years and younger. Reservations required.)

Tea Upon Chatsworth
2180 Chatsworth Boulevard Suite B San Diego, CA 92107 (619) 858-CU4T

Holiday Inn Bayside
4875 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92106 (619) 224-3621
Another “must mention” is Chatsworth. Its attention to detail would even impress the Prince of Wales and his bride to be. The Holiday Inn Baysides’ 1.39-mile proximity to the Point Loma tea room make the hotel a perfect place to stay if attending High Tea. In 2004, the owner of Chatsworth, Joy Walsh, began touring British tea rooms. She attended tea seminars hosted by England’s masters, learning the precise etiquette of the traditional service. She parleyed those skills into her own business, resulting in one of San Diego’s premier establishments. Walsh bestows her knowledge on children in numerous classes. In honor of the royal wedding, she will show kids ages 6 to 9 the basics of making a cake using butter cream frosting, and she’ll discuss the history of tea parties. (Holiday Inn Bayside room rates April 29, 2011 start at $90. Tea Upon Chatsworth Afternoon Tea (three courses) $23.95 per person. High Tea (four courses) $27.95 per person. Children’s Tea ages 4-10 is $21.95 per child. Cream Tea (scones and tea) $13.95 per person. Reservations required.)

The Grand Del Mar
5300 Grand Del Mar Court San Diego, CA 92130 (858) 314-2000
The Grand Afternoon Tea is a seamless blend of relaxed atmosphere and first class service. Italian linens are draped on tables set with French china and sterling silverware in the resort's demurely lit Library. Tea sandwiches such as smoked chicken salad, and roast beef with truffle cheese are accompanied by traditional scones with lemon curd that zings brightly on the tongue. Teas span from white ambrosia to a dark Bombay chai. And the scrumptious pain de jour, ah, the pain de jour…delectable. The following video is a snippet of the European treat. (Room rates April 29, 2011 start at $395. Grand Tea $36 per person, Royal Tea $46 per person (includes Champagne).)