8/50 NYC Adventures: High Tea at The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza.

Iconic. Epic. Faaaaaahncy. This hotel is so known, so featured throughout historical literature and film that it has become a character in its own right, almost a living, breathing entity. The Plaza is a cornerstone of all that was scandalous and glamorous in Fitzgerald's roaring twenties epic, The Great Gatsby. This hotel set the awkward dichotomy between regal and bumpkin as Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin cracked us up 'til we cried in Big Business. Every little girl was jealous of Eloise's spectacular living situation and every little boy wanted to be Kevin in Home Alone 2, sliding across the slick mosaic tiles in the lobby. This hotel has been impressed upon our memories even as children. It's a legend in it's own right, the epitome of classic perfection and a standard of American royalty.

// Walking in on a red carpet. Well sure. //

The Time I Took My Sister There. And Surprised Her.

I've told you about The Plaza before. I've visited so many times over the past year, because DUH it's pretty and fancy and there are always gigantic arrangements of fresh flowers in the lobby that looks like they were flown straight in from Eden itself. And I like the chandeliers. Each time I walk through the lobby (usually touring around guests), I long to sit in that gorgeous central restaurant, the renowned Palm Court. It's probably just where people meet for important business lunches, but in my mind (that of a 12-year old little girl who loves tea time and china and playing dress up), I think it's the pinnacle of all fanciful fun in this city. Yes, so silly. But I knew that there was someone who would probably love a tea time experience here even more than me: my little sister.

The Company.

I say little. But she's not. She towers over me at 5'8 and whenever strangers meet us, they immediately think she's the older sis. It's probably because of my cheeks. I have some wicked chipmunk cheeks. Even though I look like I'm storing away some nuts for the winter, these days I've accepted them as a semi-endearing feature... while Rachel's cheeks are high and contoured and chiseled like an America's Next Top Model. But I don't tell her that too much. Cuz I don't want to lose all her goodness to the realm of modeling. She's got brains, too. Aaaannnywho, my little sister is a total doll and I just knew that she would die if I took her to The Plaza for high tea. And who doesn't want to see their baby sister freak out in the middle of a quiet, refined hotel? Too bad she's so composed. Drat her meticulously polite upbringing. Where did that come from??

This is fun. She thought I was just taking a picture of her:

Rachel at the Plaza from Kristen Hale on Vimeo.

The Menu.

We were seated. We tried not to giggle too much. We were presented with gold-tipped menus. I tried not to talk to the waiter in a fake British accent. It was hard. We ordered one of each of the tea services and awaited our porcelain beverage china to arrive. We tried to talk about the weather and mother and daddy and where "everyone should summer" (much like Phoebe from Friends at 2:06). Then our drinks actually arrived and instead we dove into real conversation about life, dreams, boys (eek!), babies (double eek!!) and our dissimilar yet spectacular journeys. My sister is a fountain of sweetness. We had such a dear, wonderful time together.

The Service.

Should you be surprised? The service was astounding. Our waiter was precious, noting my pregnant belly and artfully explaining to me what I should and shouldn't eat and drink. He brought delicious substitutions for all the soft cheeses and uncured meats in the meal and left us to sit and talk for hours. There was no rush. So of COURSE we sat there for hours, sneaking pictures when I hoped others weren't looking. I didn't have the heart to whip out my giant SLR (you can't help but feel a sense of decorum in that place) so all the photos are brought to you by my handy dandy iPhone. One of the best parts? Well, one of the tea sandwiches was so delicious, I might have ordered a second helping. Which he gladly brought out and didn't charge me for, stating, "the baby must have what it wants!" Seriously. So precious. Although that rosy memory has faded slightly since I had a weigh-in at the doctor yesterday... perhaps a few too many tea sandwiches. Perhaps.

The Experience. 

Overall, this experience was just THE BOMB. The Plaza holds its standard. I mean, that place could have some mad ego because it's so dazzling and spectacular, and yet, the air is crystal clear of any vanity or pretension. It's just so, swell. There was nothing unpleasant about our high tea experience, even the bathrooms were stunning. Coming to New York? I would more than highly recommend a reservation at the Palm Court for the high tea service. You would absolutely be wooed by the opulent romance and epic, lavish charm. And if that doesn't get ya, the tea sandwiches will.