Monday, July 1, 2013

Afternoon Tea at the Royal Park Hotel

Last Thursday, June 27th, I met two friends at the Royal Park Hotel for Afternoon Tea.  Our reservations were for 2:00 p.m.

The four-star, four-diamond, luxury boutique hotel, which opened in 2004, is situated on the banks of Paint Creek, in the quaint downtown area of Rochester, Michigan - about 18 miles from my house.  This was my fourth time to have Afternoon Tea there, but the first time I've blogged about it.

The beautiful 143 room hotel is a modern recreation of an old-world, stately English Manor house.  It is beautiful inside and out.

[photo courtesy of Orbitz]

My girlfriend, Lori, and I were escorted to the library by tea hostess, Mary Kuhn, while she put the finishing touches on our table, and while we awaited the arrival of the third lady in our party.  

Then we were escorted to the tea area in the enclosed veranda-like gallery [actually a hallway], just off the Brookshire dining room. The floor to ceiling windows not only provide lots of sunshine, but also  a view of the hotel's outdoor dining terrace overlooking Paint Creek.

Our tea-loving friend, Linda, never goes to tea without a hat, so Lori and I have been hat shopping.  It seemed especially appropriate to wear a hat to this English Manor style hotel. Do you wear a hat when you go to tea?   

[L-R: Linda, me and Lori]

When we were comfortably seated, Mary came with a Mighty Leaf tea chest so we could make our tea selections.

The hotel has served Might Leaf tea since it opened.  The tea chest has nine offerings, and since there were three of us, we each got to choose one.  We opted for two oolongs and one flavored black tea.  The sample teas are in glass vials, allowing Mary to remove the corks so we could have a closer look at the tea leaves, and smell their dry aroma.

The traditional three-tiered server was laden with our delicious tea meal. Rather than decorating the tiered server with a cascade of flowers as is often done, it sat on a delicate cushion of tulle netting with surrounding ribbon streamers. A delicate and feminine presentation for a group of ladies, but I wonder what they do when men come?  There were five tables of attendees taking tea at the same time as us - all females.  

I read that Mary keeps a record of guests who come for tea and how the table was set, so she can change it up a bit on return visits.  I like that attention to detail!

The tables were dressed with linen table cloths and napkins, fine china, and silver accessories.

The $41 all inclusive tea came with a glass of Kir Royal Champagne or Sparkling Cider for a toast to get us started.  Tea hostess, Mary, was very attentive, but not intrusive.

The loose tea was perfectly brewed and decanted before being brought to the table.  They do it right! We chose two oolongs and one flavored black tea.  My favorite was the Orchid Oolong with floral notes balanced with a touch of coconut.

Our other choices were Bleu Peacock - an oolong blend from China with subtle sweet spices and a note of citrus, and Pear Caramel Truffle, which is Mighty Leaf's signature flavored black tea.  It is made with Washington Pears, blended with Ceylon and China black teas with sweet bits of caramel and chocolate chips.  It is considered the perfect dessert tea.

Before we indulged in the three-tiered server, Mary brought us a tray of hot hors d' oeuvres: mini quiches and a Greek savory pastry, spanakopita [spinach with feta and ricotta cheeses encased in filo pastry, cut into a triangular shape].  Yummy!

The bottom plate on the tiered server contained six savory tea sandwiches:  A roast beef puff on a rosemary cheese biscuit with horseradish cream; Hickory smoked chicken with pear chutney;  smoked salmon BLT on rye;  egg salad tomato bruschetta; cucumber with herb cream cheese; and an aged cheddar cheese creme brulee with orange and date.

The freshly baked scones were orange cranberry, and cinnamon raisin served with clotted cream, lemon curd and preserves.

By the time we reached the top tier of desserts, I was full and only ate the shortbread cookie. Mary boxed up what I couldn't eat, and I brought it home for my hubby to enjoy.

In addition to the shortbread cookie, the desserts included a chocolate covered strawberry, a raspberry tart, a slice of blueberry buckle bread, an oval white chocolate orange cheesecake pop; and decadent dark chocolate confection.

It was a lovely afternoon, and we gave their tea service five stars.


  1. What a lovely afternoon tea! I can not imagine a commercial tea room taking the time to record the table decorations so they can be changed each time the guest comes to tea. Your hat is pretty, but no, I do not wear hats to tea. In Kentucky you wear hats to the Derby, not to afternoon tea. :-)

  2. What a wonderful tea! Love the hats, and I'd like one of each of the delicious foods you mentioned, along with a cup of each of those teas. I wish! Thank you for sharing your afternoon with us.

  3. That looks like a fabulous place for tea! The setting and menu is wonderful! And how nice and elegant you ladies look! I have a wide brimmed straw with a flower band I decorated years ago for a garden tea that I wear to tea parties. Such fun!

  4. This is a classy tea room, lovely setting and food. You gals look splendid with your hats on and unfortunately the only time I wear one of my hats for tea is when the establishment/event advertises to wear them. Personally, I'd love to get fancied every time up for an afternoon tea outing.
    I like your blue hat.

  5. What an impressive afternoon tea - all they way around. Loved reading about your adventure! You all look lovely in your hats, BTW.

  6. I've been to afternoon tea at the Royal Park three times this year (2013) and have never been disappointed. It has quickly become our favorite place. And Mary is wonderful.

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