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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tea Time

Big-bellied Dawn, Kyra and my Mom
One of the specific excursions that I alluded to in the Christmas in Buenos Aires post was, for me, one of the highlights of the trip.  We had a girls-only tea time at the Alvear Palace Hotel (Recoleta - Ave. Alvear 1891, 4808-2949), and it was divine.  This is one of those outings where you really want to know your audience though, I was a little nervous that the tea was going to seem pretentious and conceited, but everyone enjoyed it and we all had a really nice time.

The inside of the Alvear Palace looks like what I imagine the inside of the Titanic looked like, and it has the added benefit of not being able to sink.  It is a beautiful hotel, complete with men in top hats and white gloves helping guests out of their cars, and it's conveniently just a few blocks from our apartment.  You know it's got to be good when fancy-pants like Ted Turner, Shaq and Sofia Loren have chosen the Alvear over places like the Ritz or Four Seasons.  And, it is on the list of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die", so that one is now covered.  My thought was that it would be a good way for the girls to get away, get a little dressed up and have some time away from the dude-fest at our apartment.  So, we got all gussied up, and away we went.  

Having tea at the Alvear is a pretty popular thing to do, so if you plan on going, be sure to make reservations first.  In typical Buenos Aires style, tea time is a bit later than you might think, opening at 4:30pm Mon - Sat and 5:00pm Sunday.  We arrived a bit early and were able to take some pictures in front of the beautiful Christmas tree that was in the lobby.  There are also some very high-end shop displays inside the hotel, so we all drooled over the jewelry and watches on display. 

The super friendly staff took us to a table that was adorned with (as my Mom put it) presidential china.  The table setting was nothing short of beautiful.  There are really only 3 ordering options on the menu, full tea, full tea with champagne and just tea.  The full tea is deceiving because everything is mini, but it's a whole lot of food.  We ordered 2 full teas with champagne, and we left stuffed.  Each full tea ($160 pesos/ US$40.00) included a tiered platter, fresh scones with a selections of marmalades, 4 tea sandwiches, a choice of dessert, champagne and (of course) your choice of tea.  Since there were four of us, we paid for an additional 2 tea choices making it about a US$100 afternoon for four people.  There are a zillion teas to choose from, we were all happy with our choices, but the real novelty of the afternoon was feeling like royalty.  The waiters are all dressed very formally and they serve everything with white gloves.  Don't let this deceive you, when the time came we still were unable to find someone to give us our check, which is a problem we have in almost every restaurant we visit.  Chalk it up to being an impatient American, but when I'm done eating I really just want to pay and be able to leave at my leisure.

Anyways, it was a lovely afternoon and it was nice to have more intimate conversations with just the girls.  I highly recommend heading to the Alvear if you have guests in town or a group that likes to step out of city life and take a ride on the Titanic for a little while.


  1. This was so much fun! I was born a tea drinker, but never experienced a formal High Tea. The food was quite delicious and presented beautifully. Not to mention, who wouldn't love being in that atmosphere!

  2. Our Alvear tea day was one I won't soon forget. It's such a special place, and I'm glad you got to have girl time and share it with your family!!

  3. Allison, I owe this post to you! I am so thankful that you introduced me to the Alvear tea.