Destination Tea: The Grand America Hotel

Where:  Salt Lake City, Utah
Style:  Traditional elegance
Tea Selection:  12+ loose leaf teas and 4 flavored hot chocolates
Teatimes:  Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 3:30, reserved on the half hour
Reservations:  Online reservations required
Contact:  Reserve here, 801-258-6000
Cost:  $32 Afternoon Tea; $24 Children 12 and under
Destination Tea Tip:  The parking garage is a quick walk from the front entrance, or bring cash to tip the valet.

Destination Tea Notes: We’ll get straight to the point: put afternoon tea at The Grand America Hotel on your destination tea bucket list. This afternoon tea experience goes above and beyond our criteria for the best afternoon teas — scratchmade, delicious, creative recipes + high quality teas + beautiful ambiance + gracious service — for a frankly incredibly reasonable price. Scroll through our pics to see how The Grand America strives to spoil its teatime guests with surprise extras. Although the hotel was built fairly recently, in time for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, we commend their choice to decorate in Old World fashion, with hand-blown glass chandeliers and marble floors imported from Italy, handmade solid wood French furniture, cerulean blue upholstery and rugs set against wood paneling in the lounge, and original oil paintings from the early 20th century. Music lovers will also get a treat, when they find themselves humming along to the modern songs the harpist sprinkles into her repertoire.

front lobby at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Afternoon tea is served in the lobby lounge.
lobby at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
The harpist sets an elegant, calming mood, but listen carefully…it’s not all classical tunes.
chandelier at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
The Lobby Lounge offers a blend of loveseats, low tables and dining tables for afternoon tea seating.
potted palm at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
A cozy corner for tea for two, with a colorfully potted palm to recall the original hotel palm courts where afternoon tea was famously served in the early 20th century
lounge seating at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
For those who want their tea fashion to be on full display, reclining at these lounge tables is perfect.
mother-child painting at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
This early 20th century original oil painting, “Mother and Child” of Lady Gail Mott, wife of the co-founder of General Motors, with son Charles, overlooks mothers and their children taking tea together.
dressed up at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Younger guests can practice manners, teatime etiquette and dressing their best.

Tea Selection

blooming tea at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
For a dramatic opening, our server sets this “jasmine fairy maiden flower” on the table to bloom as it steeps, while we choose our teas. We recommend sipping this delicious tea, but only after it completely cools, because the wine glass is scalding hot to the touch at first.
tea poured at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Each guest receives a personal teapot. Noting that this tea list focuses on high quality teas rather than artificially flavored blends, we choose Peppermint, Jasmine Silver Tip, Darjeeling and White Petal (chamomile with sweet olive and white tea).

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

scones at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Two items await us on the table as we are seated. The black currant scones are lovely, with lemon curd, raspberry jam and clotted cream. Next is a curious item: a decadent strawberries and creme chantilly — essentially a wine glass of rich whipped cream with berries. It is so yummy, if out of step as an amuse bouche for afternoon tea. It would seem more apropos served in a reduced portion (such as a shot glass) at the meal’s end.
tea sandwiches at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
The savories are well made: Egg Salad with Tarragon, Roasted Turkey Sandwich, Smoked Salmon with Dill Crème Fraîche on Pumpernickel (the table favorite), Cucumber Sandwich with Feta Cream Cheese and Olive, and Chicken Waldorf with Celery and Cranberry on Brioche.
desserts at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Dessert is divine: Hazelnut mousse, citrus madeleine, passion fruit chocolate cake, lemon tart, salted caramel tart, butter cookie with raspberry jam, vanilla macaron and raspberry gumdrop (known in France as “Pâte de Fruit”). [I expanded my French vocabulary!]
Angela Renals of Destination Tea, at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Truly, in this setting, I need to be robed in a flowing tea gown with beautiful beading and embroidery.
Bouvet's painting at afternoon tea at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City
Easter Egg! When you visit, request the “Art Tour at the Grand” pamphlet and see if you can find this perfectly themed painting in the halls off the lobby: “Le Thé” by Henri Bouvet, depicting his family having tea.
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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