Stuffed with extravagant hotels and indulgent gastronomic experiences, Dubai offers some of the most inventive and luxurious afternoon teas in the world. If you’re partial to snack-sized treats served on tiered cake stands with a steaming pot of tea (and possibly a glass of champagne), there are oodles of options to live like Alice in Wonderland’s Madhatter and March Hare and enjoy endless tea times in Dubai.
Booking a table for afternoon tea in Dubai is also a great way to explore the city’s glamorous venues, giving you instant access to some of Dubai’s most exclusive hotels and tourist hotspots including the Armani Hotel and iconic buildings like the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. From tea at the top of a tower and a classic English cream tea with scones and jam to a New York take on the traditional format and a floral-themed tea at a plush hotel, here’s our selection of the city’s seven best.
It’s always tea time
Floral Afternoon Tea, Raffles Hotel
The Floral Afternoon Tea offered by Raffles Hotel and served in the elegant salon is one of Dubai’s most inventive. The floral theme extends to every aspect of the experience, from flowers and rose petals on the table and ingredients like lavender, jasmine and verbena flavouring the food and butterfly decorations on the cakes. Among the delectable items on the menu are lavender honey macaroons, jasmine flavoured chocolate ganache and lemon verbena custard tarts. Traditional English Tea is given a flowery twist with dry rose petal scones with rose water strawberry jam and orange blossom custard cream.
If you’ve ever eaten out in New York you’ll know that the food is usually seriously tasty and the portions are more than generous. New York export Sarabeth’s café brings that spirit to Dubai’s City Walk with an amazing bakery turning out fresh cakes, cookies and breads. Sometimes crowded with locals at breakfast and lunch, there’s no better time to visit than afternoon tea. The eatery serves up a sampling of some of the baker’s best scones and cakes with an unmistakably American twist on tradition in the form of Sarabeth’s signature freshly-baked giant Chubbies cookies.
The Lounge, Address Boulevard
One of the most whimsical recent additions, the afternoon tea in The Lounge at the Address Boulevard hotel offers a plush setting and great tea selection. But what sets it apart are the fantastical savoury and sweet snacks presented in a miniature chest with curiosities like a tin of chocolate caviar and a chocolate cream biscuit bobbin placed on top. Three drawers open to reveal yummy miniature sandwiches, hand-made cakes, macaroons and scones. It’s a treat for the eyes as well as the taste-buds.
At.mosphere Lounge, Burj Khalifa
For a true "high tea", head to the world’s tallest tower – the Burj Khalifa – to feast on gourmet finger food on the 122nd floor. Sip on a selection of teas from the four corners of the globe accompanied by a menu of mouth-watering snacks. Don’t forget to chew with your mouth closed as the panoramic views of Dubai through the floor-to-ceiling windows are nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Sahn Eddar, Burj Al Arab
The magic carpet ride of high teas, the Arabesque tea offered in the Sahn Eddar lounge of the iconic Burj Al Arab building is deeply opulent and leisurely with seven courses of savoury snacks and sweets served on stylish tiered stands with fine bone china and a genie’s lamp-shaped teapot. There’s unlimited finger sandwiches and mini savouries such as Alaskan king crab rolls, followed by endless cream cakes, cupcakes, macaroons, chocolate brownies, key lime pie and of course buttery scones.
Partea, Dukes Dubai
A quintessentially British creation, the Partea in Dukes Dubai hotel’s tea lounge on Saturday afternoons offers tier-upon-tier of Battenberg cake and red velvet cupcakes, mini crème brulees and lemon meringue pies. You can scoff as many mini sandwiches as you like and load up your plate with treats but you might want to save some room for the warm and fluffy scones, Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Offering the most Alice in Wonderland-like tea party of the bunch is the splendid Victorian, transporting guests to another era in an atmospheric tea room of opulent velvet and ornate furnishings, gold leaf and oil paintings from the Victorian era with upholstered chairs at candle-lit tables. Located along Dubai’s City Walk, visitors served a classic exquisitely presented high tea of little sandwiches, cakes, pastries, warm scones and jam.
Novel teas in Dubai
It may be a British tradition, but the concept of Afternoon Tea has really taken hold in Dubai with countless hotels and eateries offering tempting treats to fill the time between lunch and dinner. If novelty and location are more important than gourmet quality food, you can even take your snack out onto the water with afternoon tea on a Boardwalk BBQ donut boat at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. For a more sophisticated teatime, try the Abra Afternoon Tea aboard an Arabian Abra boat laden with snacks and floating along the canals of Madinat Jumeirah.