Savor the Season with Afternoon Holiday Tea Service in Chicago

••• Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Afternoon tea serves as one of the main attractions at the English-focused Langham Hotel in River North. It’s a nice midday break from hectic schedules, and it is an especially welcoming occasion during the holiday season.

Held in the hotel’s spectacular lobby lounge, the daily luxury tea service updates the traditional theme with new takes on miniature sweet and savory delights. During "Afternoon Tea With Wedgewood," guests get a pot of tea accompanied by a host of seasonal finger sandwiches, scones and fancy pastries.

Tea selections range from more than 20 options, including the Langham’s signature tea collection and vintage blends from Chicago-based Rare Tea Cellar. For those wanting a more traditional beverage, The Langham Blend updates the classic English Breakfast tea. A contemporary alternative would be the PalmCourt Blend, a Chinese white tea with notes of hibiscus flowers, rosehip and rose petals. It's accompanied by light live piano music.

Daily seatings are at 3-5 p.m. (Monday through Wednesday) and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thursday through Sunday)--with the most coveted seats in the lounge in front of the fireplace. It’s $75 for adults (includes one complimentary glass of prosecco) and $30 for children 12 and under. Reservations are required by calling the hotel at 312-923-7710.

Additional High Tea Chicago Options

3 Arts Club Cafe. There's so much to appreciate about the newest tea offering on the Gold Coast, and we're especially grateful for the complimentary valet service.

The 3 Arts Club Cafe is located in the flagship outpost of Restoration Hardware, which means that everything you see on premises is for sale. Treat yourself to one of the selections from the Rare Tea Cellars menu, ranging from Emperor's Jasmine Pearl to chamomile mint, and pair it with artisanal prosciutto, charred carrots or smoked salmon.

Everything's a la carte. 1300 N. Dearborn Pkwy., 312-475-9116

Allium. We already love the Four Seasons restaurant for its weekly brunch menu, so we have every reason to go gaga over the holiday high tea service. The modern take features a whimsical sharing tower stacked with finger sandwiches and sophisticated versions of childhood pastry faves. The best seats are near the fireplace and service begins at 3 p.m. daily during the winter holiday season. It’s $49 for adults; $19 for children. 120 E. Delaware St., 312-799-4900

Brindille. How do the French do high tea? This Parisian-inspired service at the sleek River North bistro will offer reservations Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. Service begins at 2 p.m. and it's $60 per person. Tea service starts with soup, followed by scones, crumpets and miniature sandwiches. 534 N. Clark St., 312-595-1616

The Drake Hotel. One of the most significant and traditional hotels on the Magnificent Mile, The Drake is always popular around the holiday season for its holiday tea. There are strolling carolers and a live harpist to get guests in the mood. The special service occurs daily 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 18 through Jan. 3. It's $49 for adults; $24 for children 12 and under. 140 E. Walton Pl., 312-787-2200

The Lobby at Peninsula Chicago. Kid-friendly restaurants are all over town, but this Peninsula-hosted tea is the only one in town just for them. They'll get kiddie-approved assorted sandwiches, sweets and treats. There is also story-telling by Mrs. Claus, plus a visit from Santa Claus and Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot. It occurs 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18. It's $80 per person. 108 E. Superior St., 312-337-2888

Palmer House Hilton. Through Jan. 1, guests may indulge in the classic Palmer House's holiday tea, which has been amped up for the season. Extended hours are 1-5 p.m. and revelers may gather near the Christmas tree and live music. Highlights of the menu include salted caramel pops, roasted chicken salad miniature sandwiches and buttermilk cranberry orange scones.

It's $45 per person. 17 E. Monroe St., 312-917-3404

Soho House Chicago. With this West Loop hot spot, plus Thompson Chicago, Virgin Hotels Chicago and the aforementioned Langham, Chicago has been experiencing a British invasion for the past few years. And while the Langham's tea service offering a formal experience, Soho House showcases a hip, laid-back atmosphere with lots of fashionable-looking folks hanging about. Held in the first-floor Allis lounge, it can be experienced a la carte or as a package. The standard afternoon tea (finger sandwiches, scone, a selection of fancy cakes, tea) is $34; it's $43 when you add a glass of sparkling rose. Tea occurs 3-5 p.m. daily. 113-125 N. Green St., 312-521-8000

Waldorf Astoria Chicago. Through Christmas Day, guests may warm up to this Gold Coast gem's holiday tea that's served in the lobby lounge. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., they'll get to nosh on classic tea items like chocolate cherry scones, peppermint macarons and savory finger sandwiches. The menu is offered alongside a selection of freshly brewed loose leaf teas from Rare Tea Cellars, with blends like Lemon Berry Meritage, Emperor’s Chocolate Mint and Samurai Rose Noir. Tea-goers may also toast to the season with a glass of champagne. It's $55 per person. 11 E. Walton St., 312-646-1405