Author Henry James once said: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Afternoon tea is a quintessential pastime. The concept of eating small bites with a warm cup of tea has grown into an epidemic food culture around the world since its introduction in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840.
History has it that the Duchess would become hungry at around four o’clock in the afternoon and dinner wouldn’t be served until eight. She began to ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter, as well as cakes; something to fill the in-between hours. This became a habit and she began inviting friends over to join her.
This break for tea quickly became a fashionable social affair. By the late 1800s, the bourgeoisie and upper-class women would put on the most elaborate gowns, gloves and headpieces for the occasion, which would usually be served in the drawing room between four and six o’clock.
Today, afternoon tea can be had outside of royal houses; everywhere from casual cafes to hotels would have a version. In London alone, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, as well as legendary hotels Claridges, Ritz and Savoy are iconic spots to enjoy the best afternoon tea in the world.
Closer to home, KL is no stranger to some truly exquisite sets. Some offer a classic selection of scones, butter cakes and dainty sandwiches, while others take on a more modern interpretation with canapés, tartlets and macarons. Of course, these always come with a pot of tea (or champagne) from the best purveyors in town.
Whether you’re looking for a cosy corner to hang out with your friends, accompanied by tea and cakes, or need some liquid courage in the middle of the afternoon to perk you up, here are some of KL’s best spots for the perfect afternoon tea.
Blooming orchids in shifting colours of purple, pink and white set the tone in The Orchid Conservatory. The colonial-inspired space, popular for weddings and intimate celebratory events, is unmistakably one of the prettiest high tea spots you can find in KL. Enjoy a cup of floral-infused tea accompanied by the sumptuous sweet and savoury delights as you marvel at the stunning blooms amidst good music. Put on your Sunday’s best because the glorious orchidscape within the glass atrium calls for an #ootd moment.
Price: RM110-120 nett per person
Opening hours: 3.00pm – 6.00pm daily
The Orchid Conservatory, The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, +603 27858000
The afternoon tea set in Latitude 03 offers great value for money. Enjoy a three-tiered tea set of east meets west featuring local cakes as well as chocolate pudding, nutty tarts and scones. Immerse in the elegant setting as you choose from a selection of Harney & Sons teas or a cup of hot cocoa.
Price: RM52 nett per set
Opening hours: 2.00pm to 6.00pm on weekends
Latitude 03, Le Meridien Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2263 7888
You can never go wrong with butter cakes, egg tarts and chicken burgers for teatime. The Afternoon Tea set at The Lobby Lounge is a luxurious setting with a good sense of privacy especially if you’re looking for a more romantic location. Indulge in their wide selection of Ronnefeldt tea – over 40 kinds to choose from – and if you fancy something aromatic, try the special blend of royal Oolong Tie Guan Yin.
Price: RM75 nett per person
Opening hours: 3.00pm – 6.00pm daily
The Lobby Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2142 8000
Mandarin Oriental is known for frequently bringing in new gastronomic experiences for greater dining options. The Lounge on the Park maintains similar expectations with an array of finger sandwiches, patisseries and scones. Gaze into the scenic view of KLCC park as you enjoy your afternoon tea in the comfort of their cosy interiors.
Price: RM140 nett per person (comes with one hot beverage) & RM187 nett per person (comes with a glass of champagne)
Opening hours: 2.30pm – 6.00pm daily
Lounge on the Park, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, +602 2179 8883
The signature St. Regis Classic Afternoon Tea comes highly recommended by many tea aficionados and sweet-tooth gourmands. The indulgent set comes with elegant sweet treats, gourmet finger sandwiches and warm buttery scones that are presented beautifully on gold-rimmed Legle tableware in shades of baby blue, lilac and peach pink. If you’d like a good flatlay, here is the place to be.
Price: RM130nett per person (RM205nett per person with a glass of Veuve Clicquot)
Opening hours: 3.00pm – 6.00pm (weekdays), 2.00pm – 6.00pm (weekends)
The Drawing Room, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, No. 6, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, +603 27276660
Parked next to the lobby of the newly opened Four Seasons KL, The Lounge is a great spot not just for afternoon tea, but also for working lunches, dinners and a nightcap. Their high tea comes with a good selection of savoury canapés (try the smoked salmon roulade with spinach) as well as warm scones and patisseries. Other must-try light bites include the Passion and Coriander au Religieuse (choux pastry), and Sarawakian pineapple with black pepper.
Price: RM115 nett per person (comes with a hot beverage) & RM220 nett per person (comes with a glass of champagne or wine)
Opening hours: 11.00am – 10.30pm daily
The Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, MY-10, 145, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +603-2382 8670
The year-long high tea set in OneSixFive called ‘Secret Garden Afternoon Tea’comes with a selection of sweet cakes, as well as a generous serving of buttery scones, tarts and sandwiches. These pretty morsels are served in a three-tier white chest for a little bit of excitement. Enjoy your afternoon tea here with their choice of TWG Tea, coffee or champagne if you fancy.
Price: RM142 nett for two persons (+RM85 per person for champagne)
Opening Hours: 2.00pm – 5.00pm daily
OneSixFive (IVIV), Intercontinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 165 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2782 6168
Enjoy your afternoon tea at a different altitude when you dine at Thirty8 in Grand Hyatt KL. Located on the 38th floor, guests are guaranteed uncompromising views of the city as you indulge in the most decadent spread of sweet bites, homemade scones, macarons, chocolate desserts and ice cream. Enjoy their three-tier high tea set on weekdays priced at RM90.00 nett per person or go all out with their weekend High on Sugar experience. Besides their sweets, enjoy delightful savoury options including the Black Angus beef meatballs, shepherd’s pie and dim sums.
Price: RM 160 nett per person
Opening hours: 12.00pm – 5.00pm on weekends
Thirty8 Restaurant, Bar & Lounge, Grand Hyatt Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 12 Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2182 1234
Set in The RuMa Hotel and Residences, Librari at Seven Lobby Bar & Lounge offers the perfect cosy corner for an afternoon tête-à-tête. The Afternoon Tea at Librari is an artisanal curation of beautiful petit cakes and savoury small bites created by the team led by Chef Tyson Gee. Among the must-try sweets include the Tahitian vanilla canele, Ceylon tea and black sesame macaron and calamansi meringue tartelette. Try also the Pahang single origin 70% dark chocolate and hibiscus éclair. Pair your afternoon get-together with a selection of Voyage Tea.
Price: RM115 per person
Opening hours: 3.00pm – 5.30pm daily
Seven Lobby Bar & Lounge, The RuMa Hotel and Residences, 7 Jalan Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2778 0888
Located on the 53rd floor of the newly opened Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, Altitude serves a curated menu of sweet and savoury bites for breakfast, brunches and afternoon tea. Immerse in the captivating views of the city as you sample the delicious array of light bites including the recommended Land Meets Sea (beetroot macaron with cured salmon), The Sea Wave (sea urchin crème with apple and roe) and Teh Tarik Choux-Choux (tea-flavoured cream in a choux pastry).
Price: RM98++ per person
Opening hours: 2.30pm – 4.30pm daily
Altitude, Level 53, Banyan Tree Residence, 2, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +603 2113 1823