Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula, Hong Kong

Wherever we go, Michon and I like to wander backroads and alleyways, looking for the unexpected and surprising. But, from time to time while exploring, we also love to splurge a bit and indulge overselves.  And for as long as we’d been talking about visiting Hong Kong together, we’ve also been imagining the scene at afternoon tea in the lobby of the famous Peninsula Hotel.  So, naturally, we had to check it out.

To set the table (as it were), the Peninsula is a classic stone edifice at the end of Nathan Road in Kowloon. It has commanded the best location for generations and has hosted royalty, movie stars, Presidents and all of the rest.  They even have their own fleet of dark green Rolls Royces to ferry guests around.

But these days, the Peninsula, though still grand, is being swallowed up a bit by the soaring towers and rapid development of Kowloon.  Just outside the doors, obnoxious vendors on Nathan Road hawk fake Rolex watches amid the crushing crowd.  In fact, of all of the many intense, crowded places in Hong Kong, lower Nathan Road takes the prize for the most vexing.

So, amid this chaos, of speeding buses, surging crowds, and aggressive vendors, you have the calm of the Peninsula Lobby.  It is as if the door keepers are just barely holding at bay the tidal wave of a rushing world, bursting at its seams.  That juxtaposition is perhaps what is most special about the experience of Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula.

With all of that said, we found the tea, the service and the pastries top notch.  And the atmosphere is very European.  You are not rushed through the experience.  You are invited to linger, to soak it all in.  In fact, I had to ask for the check…which was delightful.  To complete the scene, on the mezzanine level above, a string quartet plays classical music while you dine.

After an hour or two you are almost ready to once again wade into the Kowloon crowds, refreshed and fortified.  A bit lighter in the wallet, true, but also lighter in spirit.


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