Afternoon High Tea on the 63rd Floor Lounge of the Park Hyatt
On a mission to hunt down Beijing’s best afternoon tea, LumDimSum has teamed up with CityWeekend to try one afternoon tea after another to uncover which in the city will hail as the best of the best.
After the first afternoon tea feature at the very glitzy, glamorous Ritz-Carlton (see LDS review here), the next stop was the afternoon tea at the swanky lounge on the 63rd floor of the Park Hyatt.
While the Ritz Carlton’s atmosphere seemed to suit the more traditionalist tea drinkers who enjoy reminiscing and socializing as the age-old, classic English tradition goes (envision Downton Abbey-style, English upper-class), the Park Hyatt’s slick, contemporary lounge on the 63rd floor was a stark contrast, catering to a savvy and sophisticated generation of business elites and those seeking to impress guests with the 360 view of Beijing’s CBD.
The view is impressive regardless of Beijing’s over-hanging polluted haze, so I can imagine that the views from such great heights on a clear day would be breath-taking.
View from the 63rd Floor Lounge of the Park Hyatt
As suspected with anything associated with a 5-star hotel, especially when you are sipping on tea on the 63rd floor of the Park Hyatt, prices are sky high. For two people, the Park Hyatt’s complete set of afternoon tea is RMB 360 +15% service charge (more than double the Ritz Carlton and works out to be about RMB 200 per person), and includes a display of mini sandwiches, a double-tiered display of Asian delicacies and sweets, a choice of two desserts from their dessert menu and a choice of coffee, tea or herbal infusions with a lemon Madeleine.
While my British counter-part predictably went for the classic English Breakfast tea, I was eager to try one of their four Herb Infusion Teas (Peppermint, Camomile, Jasmine or Yellow Chrysanthemum). Tea was served in what looked like a silver-coated teapot, which is lovely in theory, but poorly designed and not at all functional as the handle was so hot to the touch, I could barely grip it long enough to top-up my own tea cup.
Peppermint Flavor Herb Infusion Tea Set
Once tea was served, out came an impressive display of multi-tiered silver tray racks – a single tray with six mini sandwiches (two of each of the three varieties) and a double-tiered display with an Asian-themed bottom layer (also two of three varieties) and an array of sweets on the top tier.
LumDimSum Breakdown of the Park Hyatt’s Afternoon Tea Displays:
Three Layers of Delicacies on Multi-Tiered Display Racks
Single Layer Mini Sandwich Display
Each of these mini sandwiches were beautifully presented, but I find that all mini cut-out sandwiches suffer from the same stale bread dilemma. I’ve seen it over and over and unfortunately, the Park Hyatt was no exception. I had expected the 24-month aged Parma ham with Brie Cheese and Melon to really stand out, but what should have been a bite of soft, creamy cheese complimented by rich, fragrant Parma ham and juicy melon, in actuality was quite disappointed to find that the surface of the cheese had a hardened coat and the melon was a bit tasteless.
Tuna Sandwich with Avocado & Lemon Mayonnaise / 24-months aged Parma ham with Brie Cheese and Melon / Egg Sandwich with Shallots & Watercress
Double Tiered Display of Delicacies
Bottom Tier of Mixed Asian Delights
The bottom layer of this double tier was an interesting mix of vegetable spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce to dip, crab quiches and sweet egg yolk custard buns. The crab quiche with the spring rolls and sweet bun seem a strange mix to put together in one layer, but each of these three items were the winners of the entire Park Hyatt’s afternoon tea set. All three were served hot and tasted a lot more fresh and flavorful than the majority of the delicacies served. They also win extra points for creatively using green onion to tie two spring rolls together in one neat pile. I appreciate thoughtful details and this was a nice touch.
Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls / Maryland Crab Quiche / Egg Yolk Custard Bun
Top Tier of Scone & Sweets
The sweets in this layer were a hit or miss. The scone paired with clotted cream and raspberry jam was unusually tall, very dense and quite stodgy. It should have had a much lighter, flakier texture. The apple beignet was under baked with a damp, spongey exterior dough that should have been crispy. The fruit on the fruit tart was a nice mix of fresh berries, but the soft filling was too much of a stark contrast to the dry and brittle crust. The real only win on this tray was the mini strawberry macaroon which couldn’t have been any better.
Fresh Fruit Tart / Baked Apple Beignets / Scone with Raspberry Jam & Clotted Cream
In addition to the multi-layered tiers of sandwiches, sweets and snacks, guests are also treated to a choice of two desserts (one per person) from the Park Hyatt’s Patisserie. Inside the glass counter lies a glorious display of lavish desserts including tiramisu, creme caramel, mango pudding, raspberry cheesecake, cherry-chocolate cake, cinnamon baked apple, caramel apple slice, black forest cake and slices of orange-praline.
Feast your eyes on the delectable desserts on display -
Desserts from the Patisserie
Selecting Your Choice Desserts from the Patisserie
We both went for the Raspberry Cheesecake and the Creme Caramel. The Raspberry Cheesecake was the highlight of our afternoon tea. It had a gentle cheese taste while still maintaining a rich flavor and creamy texture. Our only gripe was the crusty and sticky marshmallow tubes fencing in the very perfect cheesecake dessert. The Creme Caramel was bland in comparison to the cheesecake and it was much more solidified than it should have been. I had a small bite of the Orange-praline slice, which was not my cup of tea, but very rich and nutty.
Raspberry Cheesecake / Creme Caramel
By the time we finished the complete afternoon tea set, several hours had passed and we were stuffed with a sugar high to last us days after. The sun was setting, leaving a soft shadow over the lounge. While the space was still full when we left, I think the biggest miss of the Park Hyatt’s lounge is the lack of music for added ambiance.
Overall, the Park Hyatt’s Lounge on the 63rd floor is worth going for the view and the view alone. The afternoon tea is a lovely compliment to the superior sky-high view, but I wouldn’t say it’s something I would go out of my way for, taking in consideration also that this is also one of the priciest afternoon tea deals available in town.
Review of the Park Hyatt’s Afternoon Tea: Located in the Yintai Center at Guomao across from China World Hotel, 2 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District, Tel: 85671838/1840. Afternoon Tea Available daily, 2:30-5:00PM
- The View from the 63rd floor Lounge of the Park Hyatt makes it worth the visit. The super high 360 view gives you a whole new perspective of Beijing’s CBD.
- If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, the Park Hyatt’s inclusion of two choices from their dessert counter is an added treat.
- The slick, contemporary decor is the perfect set-up to impress business colleagues.
- The multi-tiered display of snacks and sweets is plenty enough to leave you satisfied all afternoon and possibly substitute for dinner even!
- Atmosphere is quiet so you are free to chat away, read or work on your laptop with minimal disturbance.
- While the silver coated tea set looked lovely, it was not functional at all as the handle did nothing contain the heat and protect your hands from the boiling hot water inside.
- Service was on the slow side, but who’s really in a rush when you’re sitting down for afternoon tea?
- The snacks that came with the afternoon tea were a hit or miss. The mini sandwiches were all pretty stale (a fault I’m finding is consistent with all mini cut-out sandwiches thus far) and the sweets on the top tier were also a lot better looking than they actually tasted. The winners of the tea set were definitely the bottom tier of mixed Asian delicacies and also the two desserts we selected from the dessert counter.
- It was a lovely experience, but I anticipate this being one of the pricier afternoon tea deals in town at approx. RMB 200 per person, but I also suppose this is expected given the location and the regular clientele the Park Hyatt attracts.
Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being best)
- Food: 6
- Atmosphere: 8
- Service: 6
- Overall Experience: 7