We all had such a lovely afternoon! The High Tea selections were great, the sandwiches and sweets were delicious, and our server was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. The only complaint is that the tables were really small and it was quite cramped for a party of 10. We had to adjust and readjust the settings often. Other than that, we had a delightful time. Thank you!
The food, particularly the sweets, accompanying the afternoon tea service was almost inedible. We didn't finish the food and some members of our party became physically ill from the amount of sugar used. Although we've come here for several years at the holidays, we do not intend to return.
Tea time $50 include tip was horrible, worse than eating at McDonald’s. Not expecting big portion but it was soooo little
This was a holiday afternoon tea with friends. We've been doing it ever year for a long time, and the first time we'd tried the Mandarin Oriental. Given the cost, it was disappointing on many levels. We waited quite a while to be seated and there was nobody at the entry to meet us. Afternoon, this time of year, there is direct sun from the large windows and no blinds to block it so it's right in your eyes, very annoying. The tea was very good, food was OK but not special, although they did honor a request for an all-vegetarian plate for one of our party. Service was less prompt than it could have been. Appeared to be too few staff for the number of people.
Adults daughter home for the week. Enjoying family time
Service is remarkable. We were given a complimentary dessert or appetizer of our choosing as a gift for our anniversary - we were there celebrating 14 years. The gesture was lovely, but the cheese plate we selected was surprisingly inelegant, populated almost exclusively by 3 hunks of cheese of a size and variety you'd commonly find at the grocery store. Pong, the bartender, is fun. He's as serious about being a showman as he is a top notch mixologist. The Tom Kha-Rita, a recipe of his own design, was gorgeous and yummy, but the J'aime Paris was a light and refreshing delight. Good people-watching. Lots of new money looking to impress.
We chose the Empress Lounge for high tea to celebrate a 90th birthday. Fantastic setting, baked goods, sandwiches and desserts were exceptional and inventive. Truffled egg salad in pastry puff will not to be forgotten.
Afternoon Tea in a bar lounge? Around people with T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops? Infants crawling on stair entrance? Guests storing large pieces of luggage on the stair entrance, while they dine? Employees holding personal conversations in speaker in the ladies room??
Was the manager asleep on the job???
Food and Service was superior... atmosphere was horrible... this Afternoon Tea is OVER-RATED!!!!
By the end of tea service, the food had grown a little dry and stale so the sandwiches that came at 4 pm were decidedly not fresh. Same with the scones. The service was fine and the lounge is lovely. I'd recommend getting an earlier reservation. It was fine but I don't know that I'd go back anytime soon.
Great place for high tea
The afternoon tea selection was excellent and the ambience was lovely; my only issue was it was practically impossible to get the attention of the server. We waited half an hour before anyone came to take our drink orders and then were there for another hour afterwards waiting on a check. I'd still recommend the Empress Lounge though as I'm sure it was just a luck-of-the-draw problem with service.
Not a great afternoon tea experience. We were seated at the window next to a door that is used to get in and out to the outdoor seating area. Every time the servers went in and out the wind blew my hair and there was a loud crash as the door closed -- very jarring. Also, because we were at the window, it was uncomfortably hot and sunny because of the angle of the sun. Our desserts actually melted into each other and we had to ask for the damaged desserts to be replaced. The server was very nice but not attentive.
Separately, because we were seated close to the bar, I saw a lot of food orders going out. I saw some unsanitary handling of the food -- food that fell off the plate and onto the counter being scooped up and placed on the plate and out to customers! At that point I lost my appetite.
If you are interested in afternoon tea, the Willard's Peacock Alley and St. Regis are much better options.
Went here for high tea as a small birthday celebration. Absolutely wonderful! Great tea and excellent food! However, I didn't know I had to request the Chinese New Year menu prior to the day of the reservation, because I booked through Opentable instead of directly calling the restaurant. So fyi, if you want a different menu than the standard, make sure you tell the staff when they call to confirm your reservation. Otherwise, this was great! And they were very accommodating as they made my friend a special lactose free tea service!
They did not have our open table reservation on their list, but after a bit of a wait, they made room for us.
Wonderful service. Food was good, wish we had a better table.
Quite enjoyable afternoon tea with good food and service. The sun beaming through the windows made it uncomfortable.
Wanted to do something a little different for Christmas
By far, a more delightful experience and much better value for the steep price than THE WILLARD PEACOCK ALLEY Afternoon Tea in Intercontinental Hotel in DC. This must be more highly publicized as THE Afternoon Tea Experience of DC!!!
Had our annual Ladies Holiday Tea here this year. Holiday atmosphere was nice, wait staff was friendly and the food we received was very good. Only negatives were we were 4 people and we felt cramped at a small table trying to accommodate 2 tiered tea servers, 4 tea pots, 4 plates, 4 glasses of water, glasses of wine, jam, sugar, etc.. Also, the scones were the smallest scones I've ever seen. 2 bites and I was done. They were more like a small cookie than a scone. Probably because the scones were so small, we didn't leave a crumb when we usually have leftovers. For the price, we felt that the scones could have been bigger and we could have been seated at a larger table so that we weren't so crowded.
The concierge at the lounge was excellent and very attentive. The high tea service was fantastic, lots of variety in the sandwiches and pastries, and the tea selection was great.
This is my second time at the Empress Lounge for tea. I think the change from a buffet to a tea service was great. However, there was a lot of noise from bar patrons that made it difficult to talk to my group.
While lovely environment, service was not what you would expect at a 5-star hotel. Tea was slow to arrive. Hot water refresh was not offered, had to be requested for each guest. Too many sweet, too few savory offerings.
My friend and I went for Afternoon Tea. My experience was less than satisfactory. Upon arrival, we were not greeted. Our table was not ready and we were told to wait at the bar. When we finally did get seated our wait time was disappointing. The attention that you normally get at Tea service was lacking. We had to ask for a manager. The manager was extremely nice and ended up giving us our Tea complim
Lovely, relaxed, delicious tea selection. Excellent champagne , if you want to add it. Service - outstanding.
Some of the food was stale and dry. Atmosphere great but they placed us in the back corner yet the place was nearly empty.
Empress Lounge was fabulous! We went there for tea. Really wonderful!
The scones were cool as if they had been baked much earlier and refrigerated and the savories were nothing special. I expected more given the review in the Washingtonian.
Tea for two and two for tea. As a guy who was never to tea before. I didn't know what to expect. Cute little sammies and cakes. Hot tea. Big hats. Say no more. Wifey loved it.
Wonderful afternoon tea--savory and sweet--all delicious! Large selection of high quality teas. Great ambiance and beautiful decor. Friendly and helpful service, but not obtrusive. It's not cheap, but it's a great special treat.
Lovely afternoon tea - really enjoyed it. Very tasty sandwiches, scones and cakes.
Went for New Year's tea with a friend. Very busy, recommend a reservation. Everything went extremely well, not rushed, good tea food courses, replenished hot water as needed. An afternoon with elegance.
For the past couple years, I've gone to afternoon tea at the Willard Intercontinental Peacock Alley for Christmas time tea and this year, to shake things up, we opted for the Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental. The service was outstanding and the food delicious. Definitely worth it!
Very nice afternoon tea
I came originally for the tea special, but one look at the minimal amount of food for $40 and I decided to go with a salad and ala carte tea. The tea was very good and they offered refills on the hot water so I was able to get a few cups for the $8. My salad was just so-so in quality and was about $19. If you want to go for the pretty room that offers a beautiful sunset then it's worth it. One big problem my group encountered was that about one third of the area was set aside for a large group that have several speakers all using a microphone. The entire ambiance was ruined by the speakers making it difficult to hear my friends at our own small table at times. We decided we had enough and waited, and waited and waited to find our server so we could get our checks and get out of there. It took almost 20 minutes by the time we decided to leave until we received our checks - ridiculous! I would spend my money and time elsewhere.
It has been a few years since I've had High Tea at the Empress Lounge. I was very sadden to see it has become like most hotel High Tea's, and maybe on a lower scale. The cast iron tea pots were no longer used, but instead plastic tea pots. The buffet of assorted sandwiches and desserts were no longer available. The box containing the tea's for viewing and smelling was not offered. These are the things that separated High Tea at the Empress Lounge from other hotels. Guess I will have to start visiting other hotels again to find the best High Tea experience. Disappointed.
It's a great place for afternoon tea without getting all fancy!
When I walked into the Empress Lounge, no one said ANYTHING to me. I walked over to the bar, and neither of the two bartenders or servers who were standing around said anything to me. I saw a "reserved" table to for 5 and assumed it was mine and was standing by it when the hostess walked up a couple who walked in and greet them warmly. As I moved closer to her, she finally acknowledged my presence.
I've been to the Mandarin several times and I was shocked by the lack of greeting and courtesyt at the Empress Lounge. Our server was very nice but that hostess is the reason I won't go back there.
The food was great, the tea was delicious, and staff was amazing. Our server and the manager were wonderful people. However, our experience was negatively affected by the awful valet staff at the hotel. The valet service (townepark.com) dented my passenger door, went through my stuff, and stole gum from me. It's only gum and it's a small dent but it's completely unacceptable. I know the dent was caused by the valet service and the valet went through my stuff because I have a built in dash camera that records everything.
The pastries (savory and sweet) were average; the only standout was the green tea cheesecake. Presentation was greatly lacking: no full tea service (just the teacup, saucer and one single teapot with none of the accoutrements you would typically expect). Not even any tongs for serving oneself, or any clotted cream or jam by the side. Very overpriced for what you get; at $40+, one expects the full experience, including food, full array of tea implements, service, and ambiance. I was surprised there was no real chocolate dessert either (eclair didn't really count, as there was just a dollop of chocolate on the top), which seems to be a signal of a really "good" afternoon tea, and the tea sandwiches had a minimal amount of filling. The Empress Lounge also skimped on the portions; usually each guest receives his/her own tiered stand, but I noted pairs/groups sharing a single one. I had the sense of being rushed through to move people on through the lounge.
Visited for afternoon tea and was impressed by the ambiance and delicate touches, such as the small teapots of water heated over open flames, and the tea menu folded and placed in an envelope at each place. The only suggestion is to improve the quality of the sandwiches offered: not as high class as expected given the surroundings and reputation of the hotel. One in my party could not eat the smoked salmon tea sandwich, and the replacement was grilled cheese... As in, American cheese on white bread, sliced in a small triangle.