Top spots to enjoy afternoon tea in Dubai

It’s one of the lingering myths about the British: come mid-afternoon everything halts for a pot of tea, a pyramid of cream cakes and more lace than your average Jane Austen novel. This might have been true for a rarefied sliver of society some time before the women got the vote, but the perception seems to remain.

Revered hotels, notably the Ritz and the Savoy in London, managed to keep the tradition alive for Beefeater-spotting tourists before a recent upswing in interest has seen it become a genuine highpoint of the day across the world. Dubai has naturally embraced the concept and there are several places now offering small bites and tasteful teas before the sun goes down.

Sultan’s Lounge
Where: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, The Palm Jumeirah
How much? AED195
When is it? 2.30pm-6.30pm
The Zabeel Saray, perched towards the end of the eastern frond of The Palm, is famed for its opulence, with its lavish, Ottoman styling and broad expanses of marble. Its combination of refinement, service and relative isolation attracts a good many celebrities. It’s no surprise, then, that the high tea in the Sultan’s Lounge has a distinctly regal air. If you enjoy the whole experience you can even return for an afternoon tea etiquette lesson’ with a group of friends.
Contact: Mashrabiya Lounge
Where: Fairmont the Palm
How much? AED135
When is it? 12pm-6pm
A very British afternoon tea experience is delivered by the Fairmont, where an outdoor terrace is the setting for scones with clotted cream, Eccles cakes and even the pink-and-yellow miracle that is Battenberg cakes. There is also an in-house tea sommelier should you struggle to choose which brew you feel like enjoying. The distinctly un-British views across the Arabian Gulf are an added bonus.

Rhodes in Residence
Where: Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
How much? AED150
When is it? 3pm–6pm
The AED150 option at Rhodes in Residence includes the classic menu of small bites alongside a selection of teas and coffees. For the Dubai twist on the occasion, an extra AED100 earns you a glass of champagne to go alongside it all. The service here is particularly attentive, the small bites immaculately prepared, making the price genuinely great value.

Al Fayrooz Lounge
Where: Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah
How much? AED165
When is it? 2pm-6pm
With its impressive setting overlooking the Burj Al Arab and opulent décor, Al Qasr Hotel in the Madinat Jumeirah complex is an ideal setting for some late-afternoon idling. Afternoon tea in Fayrooz Lounge, whose generous, linen-lined and wood-columned terrace spans the rear of the property, comprises the usual accompaniment of Victoria Sponge, fruit cake, scones and freshly made sandwiches. Crusts removed, of course.

La Farine Cafe and Bakery
Where: JW Marriott Marquis, Downtown Dubai
How much? AED165
When is it? 3pm-6pm
La Farine Bakery serves up a French take on the classic afternoon tea. Featuring all the classics of teas, coffees and savoury nibbles as well as freshly baked bread and homemade pastries, the cafe ticks all the necessary boxes with some flair. Visit the Salon de The to taste the in-house tea brand Tchaba and discuss blends and bags with the tea sommelier, and follow it up with adventurous artistic cakes, created in house by a cake artist who evidently takes pride in their work.

Atmosphere Lounge
Where: Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai
How much? AED290
When is it? 3pm–6pm
The two Burj’s of Dubai represent probably the two most famous afternoon teas in the city. Given a choice of the two, we have to go with afternoon tea at Atmosphere. While the food is great at both, the Burj Khaifa wins the battle thanks to its unrivalled views, and overall experience. This is one to take guests to, arriving at the tallest building in the world and flying all the way up to the 123rd floor to enjoy a varied selection of teas and coffees, and a wider range of small bites than is available at most places. Make sure to book your spot, especially if attending at the weekend, as it will undoubtedly get rather busy.

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