International Tea Day: the UAE's top afternoon teas and great deals on brews
On May 21, people across the world will raise their cuppa for a toast to tea
As people across the world mark International Tea Day on Friday, venues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are hosting one-off deals and delectable afternoon teas.
From the quintessential experience of having tea at The Ritz, to enjoying a vegan spread in Abu Dhabi or just buying a kit to enjoy your own blend at home, here are ways you can mark the occasion with a nice, relaxing cuppa.
International Tea Day offers
Marks & Spencer
The great British store is paying homage to a great British tradition on International Tea Day, as customers enjoy 20 per cent off its afternoon tea for two across cafes in Dubai.
The platter, which costs Dh65 (including the discount), features a blend of fair trade tea, sandwiches, freshly baked scones, clotted cream and a few other sweet treats.
The offer is available from Thursday to Saturday.
Various locations across Dubai; marksandspencer.com/ae
Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown
If you fancy a side of fashion with your brew, then head to Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, the UAE’s first boutique hotel this weekend as it's hosting a three-day Art Meets Fashion pop-up, with an afternoon tea package on offer.
The event is hosted in collaboration with leading designers from the Commonwealth of Independent States’ top fashion shows, such as Kazakhstan Fashion Week, Georgian Designers and Azerbaijan Fashion Week.
The Fashion Afternoon Tea Package is Dh145 per couple for food and soft drinks, coffee and tea, or Dh295 per couple with food and house drinks.
It’s on offer from Thursday to Saturday. Reservations are required.
Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, Dubai; 04 210 2222, hotelindigodubai.com
Feel Good Tea Co
The UAE-born, Emirati-owned online tea company is offering customers a 30 per cent promotional offer when ordering brews for International Tea Day.
There are a wide range of products to choose from, including the bestselling Discovery Box, which includes 15 different teas, such as Rooiboos, Turmeric Glow and Moroccan Mint, for Dh129.
The Magic Tea Box, for Dh249, includes 18 varieties with flavours from Ocean Blue to White Tea and Hunnan Green Tea. You can also build your own box on the website.
The offer is available until Saturday.
Tania Lodi, owner of the Instagram-worthy Tania’s Teahouse, chooses the teas and blends served at the restaurant herself, and ensures they’re all organic, chemical-free and ethically sourced.
Seeing as tea is core to the brand, naturally they’re celebrating International Tea Day with a couple of promotions and activities. The team is hosting a full week of competitions on their Instagram page, with prizes such as an afternoon tea or the 30 Days of Tea box up for grabs.
They’re also offering a new fruit-inspired tea that costs Dh10 per sachet to take away, or Dh22 for a cup at the venue.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai; 04 324 0021, taniasteahouse.com
Top afternoon teas in Dubai
While afternoon tea is more of a British tradition, the culinary team at this Arabesque lobby lounge have added a Middle Eastern flair to the occasion.
More than 20 tea varieties are on offer, alongside sweets and bites, such as shawarma and pancakes.
It’s available from 2pm to 6pm for Dh170. Children between ages 6 and 11 get 50 per cent off dining in the lounge, while those under 6 eat free.
Palace Downtown, Downtown Dubai; 04 888 3444, addresshotels.com
If you want the ultimate Dubai afternoon tea experience, then surely you can do no better than heading to the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest tower.
This Burj Khalifa tourist hot spot offers finger sandwiches, patisseries and more than 20 brews. You can upgrade to the Luxurious Menu for a heartier meal, including chicken ballotine and bubbly.
Prices start from Dh328 per person and it’s available daily from noon to 4.30pm.
Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai; 04 888 3828, atmosphereburjkhalifa.com
For a more over-the-top experience, try the Floral Afternoon Tea at Raffles Dubai, inspired by floral essences.
A Victorian-style, bronze display features savoury treats such as cured salmon with hibiscus extract or jasmine tea-infused chicken roulade and rose-shaped brie mousse with edible flowers. For dessert, try a lavender-honey macaroon, jasmine-flavoured chocolate ganache and honey sable lemon verbena custard tart.
It’s available from 2pm to 7pm daily, with prices starting from Dh175 per person.
Raffles Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Road; 04 324 8888, raffles.com/dubai
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai
Is there anything more quintessential than tea at The Ritz? At the JBR hotel, there are two options for afternoon tea: a traditional one (Dh195 per person) or the “royal treat” (Dh305 per person with sparkling). This is available from 12.30pm to 5pm.
The spread includes finger and open-faced sandwiches, with toppings including confit salmon and horseradish, curried egg and caper, and prawn cocktail. There are also freshly baked scones, plus pastries, such as lemon meringue tart and Battenberg cake.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, The Walk, JBR; 04 399 4000, ritzcarlton.com
The Samovar Lounge
For afternoon tea with a Middle Eastern twist, there’s no better place than the One&Only Royal Mirage’s Arabian Court. The experience features cold mezze, pita bread, Arabian-style crepes and regional desserts.
Traditionalists won’t be disappointed, as you can also opt for the classic cream tea, which includes finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam, plus pastries.
It costs Dh165 and is served daily from 3pm to 6pm.
One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh; 04 399 9999, oneandonlyresorts.com
Amid 1920s-inspired surroundings, indulge in an afternoon tea of cake, wafers and bite-sized sandwiches at the Tamani Marina Hotel in Dubai Marina.
It’s available from 2pm to 6pm every day, for Dh175 for two people.
Tamani Marina Hotel, Dubai Marina; 04 318 3755, cafesociety.ae
Want to create your own DIY afternoon tea at home? Check out the new range of packaged teas from home-grown Project Chaiwala, which has cafes across Dubai.
The brand’s e-commerce store offers a bunch of chai blends, organic loose leaf teas and do-it-yourself chai kits. The tea kit includes two loose leaf teas in your chosen tins with an infuser. Choose from the Mashallah Mint, Darj-oolong, GG Earl Grey, Chamomile & Chill.
Top afternoon teas in Abu Dhabi
A venue that’s known for its signature 23-karat gold-flaked Palace Cappuccino is bound to put on a decent high tea. The Emirates Palace cafe serves up an opulent spread, usually to the sounds of a cellist, pianist or flautist.
Expect finger sandwiches, pastries, freshly made scones and clotted cream, among other delicacies.
It’s available daily from 3pm to 6pm, for Dh485 for two.
Emirates Palace, Corniche Road; 02 690 7999, mandarinoriental.com
Observation Deck at 300
One of the best spots in the capital for afternoon tea is on the 74th floor of Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, which provides a 360-degree view of the city’s skyline.
The spread is Middle Eastern-themed and available from Monday to Saturday, 2pm to 6pm, for Dh250 per person.
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, Al Khubeirah; 02 811 5666, hilton.com
The Drawing Room
Almost as quintessential as tea at The Ritz is afternoon tea at The St Regis, as Mrs Astor, founder of the first St Regis in New York, is said to have hosted many with her friends.
There are two packages – one with soft drinks (Dh195 per person) and the other with bubbly (Dh240) – and two options: the Classic offers a traditional tea spread, while the Local includes regional desserts. There’s also the Tiny, for children, which costs Dh120.
Expect sandwiches of smoked salmon, quail eggs and cream cheese, alongside fruit cake, a choux bun and lemon meringue macaroon. Scones come with clotted cream and jam.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island; 02 498 8888, marriott.com
Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s lobby lounge plays host to a classic English afternoon tea every day. Think buttermilk scones with clotted cream, roast beef sandwiches, blue cheese quiche, macarons and tarts, among others. There’s also a vegetarian option.
Prices start from Dh210 per person.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island; 02 813 5550, rosewoodhotels.com
Those in the capital don’t need to miss out on the quintessential experience of having tea at The Ritz; head over to The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal to partake in a spread inspired by floral aromas.
Savoury hors d’oeuvres, scones and chocolate treats are all on offer, alongside your preferred tea blend, which you can choose from a wide selection, including oolong, white and yellow varieties.
It’s served daily from 2pm to 5pm, from Dh160 per stand.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Al Maqta; 02 818 8888, ritzcarlton.com
Savoury sandwiches, scones and sweet treats, as well as unlimited brews, are on offer at this casual cafe between 2pm and 7pm every day.
Choose from two types of afternoon tea, each costing Dh85. The first is the classic variety, with sandwiches such as smoked salmon and cream cheese on a toasted bun, braised beef short rib on rustic bread and roasted mixed vegetables on ciabatta.
The second is a vegan spread, with sandwiches such as bell pepper and pesto, hummus and avocado, and vegetables with a tofu patty. There are also plant-based scones and desserts.
Add a glass of sparkling grape juice for Dh40.
Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street; 02 610 6666, rotana.com
Updated: May 20, 2021 12:36 PM