Considering all I do is drink tea all day long (just ask the guys at Starbucks, Al Shaya Building, Dubai!), it’s almost impossible for me to believe that I have only been to an afternoon tea once in my life. Actually it was just last year, early December back in Dubai. After a lot of bouncing ideas back and forth, and flipping through the Entertainer (a booklet full of vouchers for restaurants, themed parks and more), three friends and I finally settled on Al Bayt, The Palace Downtown Dubai. Adjacent to Souk Al Bahar, and opposite Burj Khalifa, The Palace is a gorgeous, Arabian hotel with lush palm trees, rich mahogany and cream tones in the interior, and great views of The Dubai Fountain and the world’s tallest building. It’s an elegant hotel and lucky you if you have stayed there or have the opportunity to do so!
Anyway, back to my experience. Al Bayt is just off the hotel’s lobby and spills out onto a terrace that looks over the Burj Lake. We went on a warm, sunny Friday that happened to fall over a holiday weekend. Considering that, Al Bayt was not overbooked, just a nice comfortable gathering of others. It did fill out quite a bit during the three hours we were there, so it’s probably smart to book a table. My friends and I opted to enjoy our time indoors and took the Timeless Arabic Afternoon Tea. The area is spacious, with an antiqued Arabian décor, and a lavish spread of small bites such as scones with clotted cream, jams, sandwiches, macaroons, cakes and more. There’s a brilliant combination of sweet and savoury options. We were assigned a tea connoisseur who rattled off a list of blends. I’m not into herbal teas. Once in a while I might consume mint tea, but I generally stick to Earl Grey. However, Al Bayt literally has hundreds of gourmet brews, as well as a selection of coffees if tea really isn’t your thing.
During our afternoon tea, the lobby had a live violinist playing classical tunes. Identifying Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, I suddenly felt as though I were drifting through a series of old Disney cartoons!
The food is delicious and the atmosphere relaxing. With our Entertainer vouchers, we only paid for two packages (buy one, get one free) and split the bill between the four of us, which worked out to be something along the lines of £10 each.