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Tea For Two (Or More!)

The holidays are here, and between shopping for gifts, entertaining out-of-town guests and attending evening soirees, it’s no wonder one is left feeling a bit sluggish by 3PM. Thankfully, there’s a time-honored (and undeniably elegant) way to refresh and recharge: afternoon tea. Here are five landmark hotels offering both traditional and modern tea services.

Teatime treats at Allium.

1. Allium at the Four Seasons Chicago
Break from tradition with Allium’s newest offering, “Not Your Aunt Sally’s High Tea.” This fresh take on afternoon tea features the classics—think cucumber watercress sandwiches, petit fours and scones—alongside such culinary novelties as lobster cannolis, BLT push ups and housemade pop tarts. Pinkies out! Through Dec. 29 beginning at 3PM. Allium, 120 E. Delaware Place, 312.799.4900,

2. Palm Court at The Drake Hotel
Indulge in the splendor of The Drake Hotel’s festive Holiday Tea, which offers decadent pastries accompanied by a harpist and Christmas carolers. Reservations are highly recommended for this perennial favorite, which runs through Jan. 5. from 1-5PM. Palm Court, 140 E. Walton Place, 312.787.2200,

3. The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago
Any visit to The Peninsula Chicago is sure to be a luxurious experience, and The Lobby’s afternoon tea service is no exception. Take in the impressive views of Michigan Avenue as you enjoy any one of the hotel’s proprietary teas and recharge with a menu of cakes, smoked salmon remoulade and grilled chicken salad. Remember to cap it all off with a glass of Laurent-Perrier brut Champagne! The Lobby, 108 E. Superior St., 312.337.2888,

4. Lockwood at the Palmer House
Enjoy a classic teatime in the famed lobby of the Palmer House Hilton. Sample a selection of Harney & Sons teas paired with an assortment of sandwiches and pastries prepared by Lockwood restaurant. Our latest obsessions? The edelweiss cake, featuring a delicious combination of raspberries, white chocolate mousse, lady fingers and almond dacquoise. Available 2-4PM. Lockwood, 17 E. Monroe St, 312.917.3404,

5. Pavilion at The Langham Chicago
Pavilion, The Langham’s cozy second-floor lounge, offers “Tiffin at The Langham,” a traditional afternoon tea that first debuted at the luxe hotel’s London location in 1865. Indulge with proprietary teas, sweet and savory treats, and live music. Seatings at 3PM and 4PM. Reservations required. Pavilion, 330 N. Wabash, 312.923.9988,