(Do you like the title pun?) As part of my mini high tea movement, I decided to organise a Christmas Tea Party. I chose to have it at the Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo. Firstly, it’s my favourite hotel to do afternoon tea, (it’s the only venue where I have gone back to again) and it’s also in a great location – Yurakucho/Ginza area. They also happened to be offering a seasonal Christmas afternoon tea menu.
I made a really nice invitation (if I do say so myself) (see Exhibit A below) which I emailed out to some fellow afternoon-tea lovers. I made the invite by creating a collage of photos that I had taken the first time I ever went there for tea. Exhibit A: Christmas Invite (template)
Now what the Peninsula Hotel lacks in views (the Lobby Lounge is located on the ground floor) it makes up for in wonderful service. The Peninsula Hotel wins points on all criteria – location, decor, food, service and price. It’s hard to fault it.
The Special Peninsula Christmas Afternoon tea menu was as follows: THE PENINSULA CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON TEA Selection of finger sandwiches – Christmas roasted chicken and sautéed apple wrap roll – Toasted croque monsieur with prosciutto and gorgonzola cheese – Smoked salmon and cucumber tartar with dill sour cream – Mushroom, almond and walnut quiche Festive Sweets – Stollen – Chocolate log cake – Pistachio pound cake – Christmas strawberry short cake – Peninsula chestnut chocolate brownie – Ginger bread cookie Plain and raisin scones, clotted cream and organic jam Choice of Peninsula tea
There was a lot of food. I struggled to get through it and in fact, did not get through everything (which is a rarity for me). The set was 3600yen plus, 10% surcharge. This includes all of the above food and unlimited pots of an assortment of tea, and coffee.
We also got a glass of sparkling wine for an extra 1400yen. It is Christmas after all, and what’s Christmas without a little indulgence.
The Lobby Lounge was packed. Every table was taken, and there was a waiting queue to boot. I had booked for our group of 6 a few weeks in advance. Live piano music played Christmas songs in the background, and Christmas trees and wreath adorned the lounge area to set the festive mood. It was such a lovely girly day out, spent in the warmth of a beautiful hotel with Christmas treats and endless pots of tea. Again, spreading the love one cup of tea at a time. Even my friend Yu-chan from Fukushima came down to Tokyo for the weekend.
The Peninsula Hotel is truly a five star hotel. Where else can guests of the hotel get chaffeured around Tokyo in Rolls Royces. (Rooms here also look out onto the Imperial Palace and Ginza district). The highlights here are an accumulation of lots of little things such as the ‘P’ (for Peninsula) emblazoned on the saucers, the perfect sized tea pots (not too much and not too little), the warm oshibori (warm towel) on arrival, decent scones, generous serving portions, and generous seating session. They really know how to look after their guests here at this hotel.
The service here was above par. We overstayed our 3-hour seating session by an hour, yet were not asked to leave. Bonus points right there. They were most accommodating for the 2 vegetarians in our group (notify the hotel in advance, which I always do). I wrote them a thank you email after our visit there, and received a very nice email back. The staff speak excellent English – super impressive English I might add. All staff were most attentive to us, despite how crowded and busy they were. Christmas Tea Party in Tokyo is hereby going to be a tradition.
Peninsula Hotel afternoon tea details can be found here.
Photos from the first time I went to the Peninsula for tea (Autumn tea set in 2009) can be found here