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Afternoon Tea

HOTEL INSIDER: Prince of Wales


The Prince of Wales Hotel

From the horse-drawn carriages parked in front to the bellhop attired in a red jacket, it’s clear that guests staying at the Prince of Wales hotel are treated like royalty. Named for King George V and Queen Mary, who were guests here in 1901, this property is owned by Vintage Hotels, whose other holdings include Queen’s Landing, Pillar and Post and the Millcroft Inn & Spa among others. This establishment in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake is the crown jewel however, meticulously decorated with Victorian-era furnishings but with modern conveniences like LCD TVs, Bose Wave music systems and Keurig coffee machines.

Rich dark woods, ornate wallpaper and mouldings, wood-carved and embellished sofas and chairs upholstered in rich fabrics and embroidery nod to the historic charm here. (Be sure to take note of the beautiful stained glass scene in the lobby.) Cosy seating arrangements and fireplaces are inviting spots for quiet conversations and solitude.

Choose from a range of accommodations whether it’s for a romantic getaway, a mother/daughter bonding weekend, business retreat or even for a wedding party. Book The Royal Suite for the ultimate experience, which has a four-poster canopied King-sized bed, a walk out balcony, a separate seating area, fireplace and a pampering bathroom with a jetted tub.

110, including pet-friendly rooms
Price Rates vary by season and are dependent on the day of the week. May to October $290 to $640 per night; November to April $220 to $540 per night.
Conference Facilities Seven meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 90 people.

Named by Spas of America as one of Canada’s Top 50 Spas in 2013, the Secret Garden Spa is an ideal spot for pampering. Choose from individual treatments like manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps and massages, or day packages, and treatments for couples and mothers and daughters, which exclusively uses the Babor line of face and body products. Choose from signature treatments that are inspired by tea such as the Beau-teas facial or body wrap, or the green tea pedicure. Spa guests are can also relax in the salt water pool.

Three restaurants—Escabèche, Churchill Lounge and the Drawing Room—means that guests can enjoy an assortment of dining experiences right on the premises. Upscale Escabèche is a beautiful restaurant with panoramic views of Simcoe Park. Executive chef Chris Smythe utilizes fresh, local ingredients for a seasonal menu inspired by French cuisine, while chef sommelier Fred Gamula—who has been with the Prince of Wales for more than 20 years—can provide expert pairings from the wine cellar, which has more than 8,000 bottles representing Niagara wineries, but also France, Australia, Italy and California.

Churchill Lounge is a more casual spot for tucking into pub-style fare in a library-inspired space with bookcases and leather wingback chairs.

Of local renown is the afternoon tea service in the hotel’s Drawing Room. A cheery space in an elegant palate of crimson and ivory, guests can indulge in this midday treat served daily from noon to 6 p.m. Sip a variety of teas from beautiful fine bone china cups and saucers, while nibbling on housemade scones with strawberry jam, Devonshire cream and butter, pastries, cookies, finger sandwiches or a selection of cheeses.

6 Picton St. Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-888-669-5566; vintage-hotels.com/princeofwales/.

Maligne Lake Afternoon Tea: Steeped in History

Maligne Chalet by Mike Gere courtesy Maligne Lake

Experience the 1920s at historic, newly restored Maligne Lake Chalet; the log chalet with its famous view captures the quintessential charm of an era that valued luxury in the midst of wilderness. Sit on the veranda or flagstone patio, or inside by the fireplace or potbelly stove. “In July and August from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, we offer a traditional British tea with Rocky Mountain twists such as scrumptious Canadian-sized scones,” says manager Pat Crowley. It’s $32 (child $16); ‘Tea for Two and Maligne Lake Cruise Too’ is a great value at $81 (child rates available). Reserve 780-852-3370. By James Kallenbach


Barmy for the British

When HRH Prince William weds Kate Middleton on Apr. 29, the world will be watching on the telly. These fab Vancouver spots will get you in a British frame of mind even before the big day.

By Jennifer Patterson, Sheri Radford & Kristina Urquhart

Royal Romance, Modern Marriage: The Love Story of William & Kate courtesy Triumph Books

Cheers, Mate
British brews, such as Fuller’s London Pride, are on tap at Three Lions Cafe, which also serves staples such as lamb curry. Bangers ‘n’ mash is on the menu at Dover Arms Public House, a great place to watch Manchester United with your mates. Craving toad in the hole? The Cheshire Cheese Inn dishes up the sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding. Elephant & Castle is popular for bevvies.

The Tea Scene
If the thought of all that pub-going leaves you positively knackered, make like the monarchs and try afternoon tea instead. Indulge in dainties, scones and creams at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s 900 West Lounge or the Wedgewood Hotel’s Bacchus Restaurant. Adonia Tea House is brimming with British charm, from the floral wallpaper to the china pastry stands. Or get the royal treatment with service at The Urban Tea Merchant and Secret Garden Tea Company.

Chips or Crisps?

If it’s sweets from across the pond you’re after, you’ll be chuffed to peruse the selection at The Celtic Treasure Chest, Black Pudding Imports or Mary’s British Home Store—all stock British foodstuffs, including tasty treats from Cadbury and those addictive Walkers crisps, better known in Canada as chips. For true British chips (of the fish ‘n’ variety), try Go Fish, Mr. Pickwick’s Fish and Chips or Pajo’s at the Wharf. (more…)

A Sip in T(ea).O.

Tradition and indulgence combine in the elegant Victorian ritual of afternoon tea, where finger sandwiches, sweets and scones accompany a steaming pot of earl grey—or rooibos, lapsang souchong, sencha, or one of the hundreds of other distinct tea varieties grown throughout the world. In Toronto, any number of exceptional spots offer this upper-crust custom, with a few unique twists to enhance the experience. Discover Where‘s five favourites by clicking on the images below.