All Photo Credits: Joan Oliver
I had the great pleasure of attending a Champagne Afternoon Tea in honor of the Chinese New Year in the Lobby Lounge of the Mandarin Oriental yesterday, and I found myself utterly charmed by the entire experience. This special event tea, which is running for ten days only, is utterly civilized and ideal for those who love all things sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and cultural.
From the congeniality of the staff to the remarkable decorative transformation that the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental overtook in celebration of the Lunar New Year, the experience was quite magical.
The dramatic and gorgeous reds and golds of the Chinese lanterns and flower arrangements, the intense color of the fresh mandarin oranges set out in a decorative bowl, and even the red glow that splashed over the walls and the otherwise dimmed lighting scheme in the luxurious lobby lounge enveloped all the visitors to tea in a rich cultural Chinese story.
A lovely woman named Shirley was playing a Chinese classical instrument called the dulcimer that made one feel transported to Hong Kong, China, where the legacy of the Mandarin Oriental began. Listen here: Traditional Chinese music at the Mandarin Oriental in Boston!
Master Jiang, a talented calligrapher and very sweet person, was seated at a table in the lobby where guests would ask him to record in luminous gold paint on red paper the Chinese New Year’s blessing of their choice. I chose Luck, Wealth, and Longevity, and Master Jiang provided the most gorgeous depiction of this very special blessing. I am going to have it framed.
I sat down on one of the luxurious and comfortable couches, noting how truly relaxing it was to take an afternoon tea. The started off with a glass of Delamotte Brut Champagne, and we were subsequently delighted by the choices of tea (I chose jasmine), and two gorgeous, tiered Asian wheels on which alighted a variety of sweet and savory treats that were almost too beautiful to eat.
There were housemade ginger-lemongrass scones with devonshire cream, strawberry preserves, and orange curd, as well as an abundance of tea sandwiches, including waldorf chicken salad, honeyed apricot & goat cheese deviled egg salad, and smoked salmon with dill cream.
There were Chinese petite pastries as well. We sipped on our champagne first, and then our delicious tea enjoyed in crisp white porcelain teacups, as our eyes danced over the egg tarts and red bean cakes. To finish, there was even another special course of savory Chinese dumplings!
Pastry Chef Robert Differ of Mandarin Oriental, Boston even came out to greet us graciously and to wish us an enjoyable tea time!
This lovely Chinese Lunar New Year tea is not to be missed, running only from now until the end of February. I found it a wonderful way to celebrate and learn more about the Chinese culture and to be transported to Asia through the flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and jasmine. The Mandarin Oriental utterly dazzled me!
Have you celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year? Have you ever been to the Mandarin Oriental, or do you want to go? How do you feel about the tradition of afternoon tea? Answer in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!
And don’t forget to make your reservations for this special Chinese New Year Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Lounge of the Mandarin Oriental in Boston, available for a limited time only and featuring The Classic (USD 58) with a glass of Champagne Taittinger and The Back Bay (USD 68) with a glass of Delamotte Brut Champagne. Reserve by calling (857) 400-2062 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!