Tea With a View: 8 Special Occasion Spots to Take Afternoon Tea and See Stunning Scenery
These teahouses serve up delicious brews with a side of breathtaking views.
There’s something so indulgent about afternoon tea—about hitting pause on the day to leisurely sip on a green chai or Earl Grey between bites of finger sandwiches and sweets. But you can elevate the experience—sometimes literally—by carefully choosing a location where the tea may just take second-place to the views. After all, if you’re going to sit and sip for an hour or two or even three, you certainly should have something stunning to observe.
So, here, we’ve rounded up eight spots where you can enjoy a tea-with-a-view experience.
1. Fairmont Banff Springs, Canada
The Fairmont Banff Springs towers a mile tall in the Canadian Rockies, smack in the center of Banff National Park. From a window seat inside one of its grand restaurants—dubbed the Rundle Lounge for its views of the peaks of Rundle Mountain—its guests can spot Bow River as it snakes through the mountains and gushes past the resort’s golf course. Your choice of 12 tea options are served in a silver pot and accompanied by a three-tiered tower of treats such as smoked salmon, quiche, and macaroons. You can add champagne to your tea, but may we recommend you enjoy a boozy break—a second course, if you will—on the resort’s balcony, where you can enjoy similar views and the fresh mountain air.
Info: Reservations recommended; available from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily; prices from $49 per person
2. Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse and Lake Agnes Teahouse, Canada
It takes a lot of effort—and elevation gain—to reach the two teahouses tucked inside Banff National Park, but the only thing more satisfying than the accomplishment of completing the trails leading to the teahouses are the warming brews and delicious cakes that await you at the summit. Both the Plain of Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes teahouses—each named for their respective trails—operate without electricity, warming your tea and whipping up delicacies such as caramel apple pound cake and chocolate cake with propane tanks. (Food must be hiked up or helicoptered in.) The views of the park are astonishing from either location, but the rustic houses enjoy subtle differences: at the Plain of Six Glaciers teahouse, for example, two dogs lovingly guard the grounds. Abbott, a young pup, playfully entertains hikers’ pets, while Arlo—an old, shaggy man—must be helicoptered in with the food so that he can rest in the place he loves most. At Lake Agnes Teahouse, however, a waitress says that dogs aren’t allowed; they’ve experienced too many dog-chipmunk kerfuffles, she says.
Info: No reservations need; available from dawn until close; prices from $3.50 for tea
3. Aqua Shard, United Kingdom
Any afternoon tea list wouldn’t be complete without a London location, and the tea at Aqua Shard tops—quite literally—all the rest in the city. Perched on the 31st floor of The Shard—a 95-story skyscraper and the tallest building in the U.K.—Aqua Shard offers unparalleled views of London’s skyline, including glimpses of Canary Wharf, the Thames and Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and Battersea Power, impossible to miss from the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows. (As they say, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.) And oak floors and minimal design won’t distract from the view—or tea.
Info: reservation required; available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily; prices from £45.00 per person
4. Qi Wellness Living, the Philippines
Escape to the Philippines and you will find Qi Wellness Living, a space designed to mimic a traditional Chinese teahouse in every way—from its open air pagoda to its red hanging lanterns—except for its menu. While they’ll serve you tea, you won’t find finger sandwiches and bite-sized desserts at Qi Wellness Living. Instead, you’ll come to the teahouse for its six course dinner menu—a mix of dishes inspired by the Chinese medicinal principle of yin and yang—as well as the sweeping views of Taal Volcano and its pristine lake and swaths of sprawling forests below. Here, you can stick to afternoon tea or break open the bubbly to celebrate this seriously stunning landscape.
Info: Reservations required; available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; prices from P1,780
5. The Hyatt Sydney, Australia
Much like the Aqua Shard, you don’t come to The Hyatt Sydney’s afternoon tea for the calm of nature. You come here for city views—in this case, a front row seat to the city’s infamous opera house. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the opera house is impossible to miss from any seat—but you’ll also enjoy sipping a fine green tea as sailboats and cruise ships glide across Port Jackson. The afternoon tea menu includes a Moët & Chandon Rosé champagne option, and always comes with a bevy of scones, cakes, tartlets, and finger sandwiches, served with a side of jam and clotted cream.
Info: Reservations recommended; available from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; prices from $55 per person (and $70 per person with a glass of champagne)
6. Boulder Teahouse, Colorado
Despite Boulder’s breathtaking mountains, you don’t have to step outside of The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse to take in incredible views. (Though, of course, you can spot them from the parking lot.) Inside the teahouse, carved columns hold up a brightly tiled and painted ceiling. In the center, a small pond displays Asian-inspired statues, casting a calming effect on the skylight-lit room. Inside, you feel as if you are outside—surely somewhere in ancient Asia, or in the temples of modern day Thailand, minus the crowds. Here, guests can order a three-tiered tower of sweet and savory eats—including cakes and cucumber sandwiches—and a pot of premium tea. (Guests with small children may also enjoy that this teahouse can host children’s afternoon tea by reservation.)
Info: Reservations recommended; available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily; prices from $22 per person (and $14 for children younger than 9)
7. Tu Hwnt i’r Bont Teahouse, United Kingdom
Covered in the seasonal Virginia creeper—which changes it hue from green to a vibrant red in the fall—Tu Hwnt i’r Bont Teahouse, a National Trust site originally built in 1480, sits at the edge of Llanrwst in North Whales, a stone’s throw from the 400 Bont-year-old arched, bricked bridge. To say it’s simply idyllic might be an understatement, but that’s exactly the word the stone building and the surrounding rolling green hills bring to mind. A Welsh afternoon tea is always served with a scone, made from a recipe the owners refuse to give up; after all, the recipe is as old, they say, as the building itself.
Info: Reservations recommended; available from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; prices from £15.90 per person