Though tea has been popular since its introduction to Europe in the 17th century, it wasn’t until the 19th century that afternoon tea became a high society tradition. A common misconception is that The Drake Hotel has maintained “high tea” since it opened its doors nearly a century ago. In fact, The Drake has served “afternoon tea” since opening. “High tea”, coined in the Industrial Revolution, referred to working class families consuming their bread, butter, and tea at their high tables in their less affluent communities. Low tea, or the afternoon tea that is served at The Drake, consists of low tea tables, sweets and sandwiches—exactly the atmosphere the creator of afternoon tea time, Anna Maria Stanhope, the Duchess of Bedford, would have adored in the 1800’s.
The Drake's Palm Court has always hosted curious patrons from around the world who wanted to know more about the history of the famed tea room. Last year Palm Court, named one of the best locations for afternoon tea in the nation by Good Morning America, began "Historic Afternoon Tea" in an effort to inform loyal guests of its profound past.
This year the Palm Court will once again introduce "Historic Afternoon Tea". First, guests are invited to enjoy a leisurely lunch with traditional tea then they will be invited on a brief excursion through the hotel with one of The Drake's expert historians. The tea and tour starts at $35, tours are given at 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Reservations are highly recommended, call 312.932.4619 or email Lalla.ElAlaoui@hilton.com.