Destination Tea: Dunes Manor Hotel

Where:  Ocean City, MD
Style:  Victorian
Tea Selection:  One signature brew at daily tea; tea selection at full afternoon tea
Teatimes:  Daily, 3 to 4; or by reservation for private parties
Reservations:  Walk-ins welcome for daily teatime; 1-week notice for private parties
Contact:  410-289-1100 
Cost:  Complimentary Afternoon Tea; $29 Full Afternoon Tea for private parties of 10 or more
Destination Tea Tips: Dunes Manor Hotel serves a light tea for guests, which is also open to the public, and a full afternoon tea for private parties. At the daily tea, though you may find folks queuing at the tea table, the line moves quickly.

exterior Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD

Destination Tea Notes: When Thelma Conner built Dunes Manor in 1987, she knew the lobby design needed to encourage a social scene, because she planned to launch a tradition: afternoon tea offered in the lobby every day, in every season. You might think hot tea wouldn’t draw a crowd in the summertime, but no, even the young men selling photo sessions on the beach come in for teatime. It’s an informal, come-as-you-are gathering, of families and friends in the lobby, and outside on the long veranda overlooking the ocean. Guests visit the tea table for the hotel’s signature tea blend and choose from a selection of freshly baked scones and cookies. Pleasingly unexpected, Dunes Manor’s afternoon tea successfully juxtaposes casual “salt life” with ornate silver tea service and real china teacups with saucers. Three decades after she established this tradition, we love that Thelma’s vision of bringing people together over tea continues on.

foyer of Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Thickly striped wallpaper, embossed ceiling and antique chandelier create a Victorian feel in the foyer of Dunes Manor.
antique vanity at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Beautiful antique vanity and flower arrangement
Mrs. Conner launches afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Mrs. Conner herself, who opened the hotel on April Fool’s Day to laugh at those who “thought I was an old fool to build a hotel at the age of 74 years old.”
afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Front lobby where ladies chat over tea in one of several gathering areas
afternoon tea seating areas at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Mix-n-match antique-style furnishings compose at least five seating areas where guests come in from the heat to take tea in the cool lobby.

Tea Service

tea service at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
A staff member pours tea and helps serve lite bites to guests.
tea blend at afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Today’s tea blend is a black tea with mint and cinnamon cloves which is lovely. Other days it may be flavored with fresh oranges.
drinking tea at afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Here’s the cover shot. As we say, real men drink tea.

Scones and Sweets

scones and cookies at afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Because we favor homemade goodies, we recommend opting for the fresh batches of scones over the cookies.
cranberry and blueberry scones at afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
As the tea service goes on, new flavors of scones emerge from the kitchen. First, white chocolate cranberry and blueberry scones are on the scene.
chocolate chip cinnamon scones at afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Later chocolate chip cinnamon scones appear – yum!
sipping tea on the back deck at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Dunes Manor Hotel offers a picturesque outlook on the back deck, where guests can rock, take tea, chat and gaze out on the ocean.
afternoon tea overlooking the ocean at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Friends rocking side-by-side, sipping tea and enjoying the view
hooked rug with teapot at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
Marketing Manager Traci Huggans is herself a treasure of this hotel because she truly loves it. A local resident who remembers coming to Dunes Manor as a child when miniature Christmas trains would ride around the lobby, Traci makes sure I get to see this tea-themed hooked rug, donated to the hotel in 1997, as well as the estate’s teacup and teapot collection, showcased near the front desk [pictured below].
photo of Mrs. Conner serving afternoon tea at Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, MD
And here she is: Mrs. Conner serving afternoon tea.
[Photo: https://www.dunesmanor.com/about-us.htm]
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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