Where: Charlotte, North Carolina
Style: Traditional luxury
Tea Selection: 10+ loose leaf teas by Rare Tea Company
Teatimes: Saturday to Sunday, 1 to 4
Reservations: 24-hour notice
Cost: $64 Royal Afternoon Tea; $49 Afternoon Tea; $29 Children’s Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tips: The children’s afternoon tea typically features different “kid-friendly” items on the tiered tray, so be sure to clarify if you’d like your kids to enjoy the same themed tea menu as the adults. For anyone with back or mobility issues who may prefer a traditional dining table over a low couch, we’d also recommend making this request when you reserve.
Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our North Carolina afternoon tea directory for the latest details.
Destination Tea Notes: Ever since we first assembled the North Carolina Afternoon Tea directory, The Ballantyne’s seasonal afternoon tea menus have been on our destination tea bucket list. In many ways, afternoon tea at The Ballantyne Hotel is picture perfect (as you’ll see), with pretty china set at a variety of elegant seating arrangements from high-backed chairs to tufted sofas around low tables. Watching the happy diners around us, we believe our experience at this luxury hotel was an anomaly, possibly due to staffing issues that have plagued the restaurant industry lately. Forty-five minutes after our reservation time, our tea and food arrived all at once, and less than 30 minutes later, another server asked us to “handle” the bill, mentioning guests arriving for the seating after ours. Choreographing a flawless afternoon tea service is no easy feat, but we hope to see this done expertly at higher priced afternoon tea services like this one, especially when there is a 24% service charge automatically added. While we love that The Ballantyne dreams up creative scratchmade themed menus that include premium teas and feature local ingredients, we would have liked the teas to be served differently to prevent oversteeping, and the tiered tray treats to be freshly made (a few showed signs of having sat out). Though we had an unfortunate experience related to the meal’s execution, everybody has an off day, and a few tweaks could make this an afternoon tea to remember.