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It all started in the 1800’s when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford — a prominent figure within London society – complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon. She wanted something small to satisfy her hunger, nothing too large, just something to see her through until dinner time. And from this dainty desire the afternoon tea ritual was born. 

Try it for yourself by choosing from some of the most elegant, aromatic and aesthetically pleasing afternoon teas around the UAE.

Rhodes W1, Grosvenor House, Dubai

British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes has just relaunched his legendary afternoon tea with a menu that boasts a fine assortment of delicacies, including mini finger sandwiches with quail’s egg mayonnaise and cress and cream cheese, as well as a flavoursome onion and herb Croque Monsieur. All this is followed by freshly baked scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream and home-made warm crumpets with fresh raspberries.

Teas to try You can choose from a range of much-loved classics including Earl Grey and English breakfast tea.

Details From Dh195 per person;Call 04 399 8888

Sidra Lounge, Habtoor Palace, Dubai

A live pianist sets a perfect ambience of elegance at this ultra-glam afternoon tea. Revel in an assortment of delights such as canapes, cakes and pastries, complemented by delicious scones with clotted cream and a wide selection of teas.

Teas to try The signature citron caviar rose tea (specially made for Habtoor Palace) which is spicy with a floral aroma. Or perhaps the sencha green tea blended with passion fruit, bush peach and wild strawberry flavours.

Details Dh165 per person; Call 04 435 5555

Al Fayrooz Lounge, Jumeirah Al Qasr, Dubai

The afternoon tea here is set in the gorgeous hotel lobby and features a ballgown-clad pianist. The food includes delights such as hot crispy chicken rolls and mushroom quiche, tasty mini sandwiches, and a selection of beautiful mini cakes. Add to that a soufflé and a basket of warm scones with jam, cream and honey, and you’re in heaven.

Teas to try Indulge in a chocolate tea — a luxurious blend of the finest black tea and whole chocolate drops. Or the black tropical tea, featuring an exotic blend of black tea, papaya, coconut and orange pieces.

Details Dh233; Call 04 432 3232

The Library, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

With bookcases full of classic reads and soft jazz playing in the background, this delightful afternoon tea boasts an assortment of finger sandwiches, freshly baked buttermilk scones, and different kinds of artisan cakes. 

Teas to try Jasmine Pearls, a tea composed of perfectly balanced spring green teas, repeatedly hand-scented with fresh jasmine flowers. Or maybe the Peony White, renowned for its refreshing flavour and sweetness.

Details No set price, menu available; Call 02 407 1138

Al Bayt Lounge, Palace Downtown, Dubai 

In a palatial Arabian atmosphere with panoramic views of Burj Lake and The Dubai Fountain, indulge in a selection of delectable pastries, sandwiches, premium beverages, juices and exclusive teas and coffees.

Teas to try Okay, the top recommendation is not tea, but a rather special coffee for the occasion. Along with the set tea menu, for Dh80 you can sample a special cappuccino with real gold — and why wouldn’t you?

Details Dh170 per person; Call 04 888 3444

At.Mosphere, Burj Khalifa, Dubai

One of the most upscale afternoon teas, head 122 floors up to enjoy spectacular views while a live violinist sets the mood. The finger sandwiches are dainty, colourful and creative and the cakes and scones are perfectly formed. You also get a choice of a hot dish, such as tender scallops and green peas. 

Teas to try The tea menu here is inventive and spans the world. There are many intriguing fruit-infused blends such as the delicious Tropical Smile with its passion fruit, mango and coconut-flavoured cream.

Details Various packages are based on seat and whether with or without sparkling grape. Starts from Dh328 per person; Call 04 888 3828