From grand palaces that are now luxury properties to heritage icons immaculately restored – India and Sri Lanka are home to some of the most remarkable hotels.
But often tours and itineraries are crammed with activities and sightseeing with too little time to stop and enjoy the places we are visiting, the fabulous hotels we are staying in and life’s little pleasures.
One way to do all of those things is to leave a free afternoon on your travels and pause for high tea. After all, what’s not to love about hot scones with jam and cream, tea served in fine china cups and saucers and if you really like to indulge – perfectly chilled champagne on the side!
In Sri Lanka and India, high tea is also a gentle nod to the colonial pasts that are part of their histories, especially when taken at any of the grand heritage hotels. Served on wide sweeping verandahs, under opulent chandeliers and in plush couches, here are five of our favourite high teas in India and Sri Lanka we encourage you to include in your itinerary for India or Sri Lanka tour.
We can include any of these high teas in a custom made itinerary just for you or curate a themed culinary tour in India or Sri Lanka featuring a range of food activities and pleasures!
#1 Sea Lounge, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai – Having lived in Mumbai for many years, we love visiting the Taj Mahal Palace for afternoon tea at the Sea Lounge. They serve an impressive afternoon tea, but it’s their take on Mumbai street food worth experiencing. The Sea Lounge is rich in charm, with live piano music during the afternoon tea. The views are fantastic and it’s worth reserving ahead so you can sit in one of the window booths and gaze out over the Gateway of India. One of India’s iconic luxury hotels, this afternoon tea should be on everyone’s bucket list.
#2 Amangalla Resort, Galle, Sri Lanka – Amangalla, the stunning Aman hotel in Galle Fort, has a couple of options for high tea – a full high tea or just a serve of hot scones. We ordered the scones and they were amazing. Served warm with thick, delicious cream and homemade jam and presented with the choice of a boutique tea. The service is understated and exceptional. We sat on the hotel’s verandah and enjoyed watching an approaching afternoon storm roll over Galle and loved the atmosphere at this great hotel.
#3 The Verandah Café, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur – The Verandah Café is the perfect spot to go to be surrounded by Rajasthan’s royal heritage. Once the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Rambagh Palace is now a luxury Taj property and one of India’s grandest palaces. Also known as `The Jewel of Jaipur,’ you can relax over afternoon tea and champagne at the Verandah Café and dream of a royal life of yesteryear. The impressive Moghul gardens and stunning palace façade may distract you from you the equally lovely afternoon tea.
#4 Norwood Bungalow, Tea Trails, Sri Lanka – Staying at Tea Trails, Sri Lanka’s first Relais & Chateaux resort, will be full of highlights and memories. One of which is certainly the afternoon teas. You can’t visit Tea Trails just for high tea, you can only indulge if you are staying there – but it’s just another reason to visit these beautifully restored Colonial-era tea planters’ bungalows. Afternoon tea is served on the verandah everyday, with a tea menu that’s exquisite and worth trying as many as possible. But it’s not just the extensive tea selection worth raving about. There’s fresh baked chocolate cake, scones and smoked salmon sandwiches served on a fine cake stand. Don’t be shy to ask for a glass of sparkling either if that’s what you fancy – the accommodating and gracious staff at Tea Trails will be more than pleased to serve you one. High tea is best enjoyed after a walk through the tea plantations to work up an appetite.
#5 Galle Face Hotel, Colombo – This icon of Colombo has many draw cards for hotel guests and outside visitors, including its daily high tea. Galle Face Hotel is a 150-year old heritage property that has recently been fully refurbished. The hotel serves afternoon tea on its outside verandah overlooking the ocean. The high tea is served in courses that begins with an iced coffee and ends with a Sri Lankan pancake filled with coconut and jaggery. It’s a substantial afternoon tea with excellent service. A glass of prosecco from the drinks menu makes an excellent accompaniment.