10 Best Afternoon Teas for the Holidays

PHOTO: The Drake HotelThe Drake Hotel
Old-fashioned English afternoon tea is a beloved tradition, especially during the holidays-and here's good news for everyone who can't get across the pond this season. North America's finest hospitality venues are serving holiday tea in high style.

intro: Old-fashioned English afternoon tea is a beloved tradition, especially during the holidays, and here's good news for everyone who can't get across the pond this season. North America's finest hospitality venues are serving holiday tea in high style. For some, it's a December tradition, and for others, like the Drake Hotel in Chicago, which has its own Tea Lobby, it's a year-round custom that really lights up during this very special season.

quicklist: 1 category: title:St. Regis San Francisco text: For West Coast travelers who want to donate to East Coasters still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, the St. Regis has put together a one-time-only special St. Regis Tea Party Dec. 9. Tea will be followed by a 2 p.m. performance of Holiday Magic with The Velveteen Rabbit. Tickets cost $100 per person, and all proceeds go to Hurricane Sandy Relief. media: 17904735

quicklist: 2 category: title:Fitzgerald Tea | The Plaza, New York text: Could anything be more in the Manhattan holiday mix than tea at the Palm Court in the Plaza? This magnificent recently restored space comes alight for Christmas, with a lavish Gatsby-themed Christmas tree (designed by the production designer of the upcoming feature film) setting the mood for this season's special "Fitzgerald Tea." media:17904917

quicklist: 3 category: title:Tea with Santa | St. Regis Atlanta text: December marks the festive finale of a full year of seasonal themed teas at the St. Regis Atlanta. Served daily through Dec. 25, Holiday Teas offer a sumptuous mid-afternoon spread. If you're planning to bring children, reserve a seating either Dec. 1-2, 6-9 or 13-24, because those are the dates Santa and Mrs. Claus will be paying a visit, and giving gifts. media:17904781

quicklist: 4 category: title:Afternoon Tea at Cypress Inn | Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. text: The reclusive Doris Day maintains her Cypress Inn's vintage-chic standards from behind the scenes, so guests can still get a classic Hollywood-inspired cocktail in the evening or a cozy afternoon tea in the mid-afternoon. Surrounded by old-Hollywood movie memorabilia and fabulous 1920s architecture, guests are invited to slip into a more comfortable decade. media:17904792

quicklist: 5 category: title:English Tea at Wedgewood Hotel | Vancouver, B.C. text: Traditional English tea is a weekend staple at this elegant BC hotel. It's $35 per person for finger sandwiches and the full complement of traditional English sweets: fruit cake, baked scones, fruit tarts and more. If you want something slightly stronger-bubblier than the tea selection, add on a Kir Royale or a glass of local sparkling Brut wine. media:17904802

quicklist: 6 category: title: Holiday Tea Service at The Biltmore | Phoenix text: One of the most elegant and traditional hotels in the Western United States, The Biltmore pulls out all the stops for its annual Holiday Tea Service. Special holiday decadences include eggnog-spiced pound cake, "Peppermint Crunch" brulee, peppermint scones with chocolate whipped cream and half a dozen other incredible offerings. Tea service is offered Thursday through Sunday this holiday season, for the 83rd year running. media:17904835

quicklist: 7 category: title:Alpine Tea at Fairmont Chateau | Whistler, B.C. text:"Alpine Tea" at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort offers a great break from all those downhill runs. Enjoy a warming beverage, sweet treats and views of the dramatic snowy mountains outside. media:17904869

quicklist: 8 category: title:Chocolate Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, Va. text: Always an innovator in the performance confectionary category, this luxurious Southern hotel offers a beautiful chocolate tea during the holidays. For those who style themselves true chocolate lovers, there's an even more lavish culinary event: the five-course Chocolate and Champagne Dinner offered Friday and Saturday evenings this holiday season. media: 17904879

quicklist: 9 category: title:Tea in Le Salon, Windsor Court | New Orleans text: Afternoon tea in Le Salon in the Grill Room at Windsor Court will transport you to a bygone century, as every detail here is handled with reverence for and understanding of that era. Year-round afternoon tea is, as tradition dictates, somewhat of a "ladies' pastime," with live string or harp entertainment. The special Holiday Tea (through Jan. 6, 2013) has a more robust menu that includes special seasonal cocktails and sweets. media:17904906