Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of a Travelife 2013: Afternoon tea at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo



As 2014 approaches, we look back on the amazing year that was and remember the best of 12 months of truly wonderful travels and fabulous adventures. 

Thank you for following us on our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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THE BEST AFTERNOON TEAS OF 2013

I do love a proper afternoon tea.

I try to slow down and do this, whenever I can manage the time, in my never-endingly eventful Travelife.

The remains of an afternoon tea....

In 2013, these venues make my shortlist for favorite afternoon tea experiences:

1) The Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad
This was pretty amazing. (March 2013)

2) The Shangri-la Bosphorus in Istanbul (June 2013)

3) The Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town (November 2013)

4) The Chinzanso Hotel in Tokyo (August 2013)

5) The Fusion Maia Lounge in Hoi An, Vietnam (May 2013)

At the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India

JAPANESE-STYLE AFTERNOON TEA
AT THE PALACE HOTEL IN TOKYO

But the winner just needs to be the new Palace Hotel in Tokyo, considered by many to be the best place to stay in Tokyo right now.

I booked a three-night stay here in April, and had a very enjoyable Japanese-style afternoon tea on my last day.

Japanese-style afternoon tea at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo

For this very nice Japanese-style afternoon tea at the Palace Hotel, I invited my Russian friend Alona to join me.

The Palace Hotel, by the way, is a lovely old hotel that was completely torn down and rebuilt into an equally lovely new hotel. 

It's a member of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW).

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CHANGE OF PLANS

Alona, who used to live in Manila, and then in China, recently relocated to Tokyo with her husband.

We were initially supposed to meet at another hotel for afternoon tea.

However, I decided to encourage her to come over to the Palace Hotel instead, after learning that the Palace Hotel actually had a proper, full-blown Japanese-style afternoon tea.

There were a couple of macarons in the box,
but almost everything else was a Japanese delicacy
or at least a Japanese-influenced one...

We've all heard of the British afternoon tea, of course.

And that's what you can usually get in Tokyo as well, where people are very enthusiastic about things British, and basically about all things European.

LUXURY, THE JAPANESE WAY

But the Palace Hotel, which is a 100% Japanese-run luxury hotel, decided to offer a Japanese-style afternoon tea instead.

Even the scones were Japanese-style,
made with buckwheat instead of regular flour...

I thought this was very unusual, and I certainly wanted to try it.

Alona was game, so she met me at the Palace Hotel lobby at just past 4 PM.

By then I'd already comandeered the best and most comfortable table in the lobby for us, in the corner, with a great view of everything going on.

We each got one of these beautiful lacquer boxes...


A LACQUER BOX OF GOODIES

The Japanese afternoon tea costs just a little bit over JYEN 4000 per person, including taxes and service charges.

For this price, you get a beautiful lacquer multi-tiered lunch box filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies, as well as all the tea you can drink from their very wide variety of English, Japanese, Chinese and herbal teas.



A lady in a kimono brings it over and she disassembles the lacquer box in front of you so that at the end of it all, everything is laid out so beautifully on the table -- almost too pretty to eat.

The boxes contained inari sushiscones made out of buckwheattiny sandwichescut-up fruits and a couple of traditional Japanese sweets.

THE ULTIMATE TOKYO EXPERIENCE

A Japanese bento box filled with sweet and savoury delights

And, of course, you are sitting in what is currently the prettiest hotel lobby in Tokyo, with a view of greens and the Imperial Palace moat.

From some seats, you can even see the one of the gates of the Imperial Palace itself.

Talk about the ultimate Tokyo experience, and just about the best afternoon experience in my never-ending and never-endingly eventful  Travelife.

PALACE HOTEL TOKYO
en.palacehoteltokyo.com



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