Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago (in Pictures)

There’s just no other way to say it, Peninsula Hotels just do it better.  I remember reading stories about the ultimate afternoon tea experience at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.  This is one of the most highly rated hotels in the world, if not the highest. And afternoon tea there was spoken about in hushed and reverent tones.

While I still haven’t made it to Hong Kong, I did manage to visit The Peninsula in Shanghai, which you can read about by clicking here.

The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago is, of course, no exception. Beyond the impressive hotel property itself,  I believe it’s the staff that helps make this hotel distinctive.  It’s old school, it’s gracious and it’s rare.

Read on for a picture tour of the Peninsula Chicago and the afternoon tea they serve in the 5th floor Lobby Lounge.

Let’s begin with the street level entrance to the hotel on East Superior Street, just steps away from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, arguably the finest shopping neighborhood in the city.

Front entrance Peninsula Hotel Chicago on E Superior St

Entrance to Peninsula Hotel Chicago

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Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Shanghai Hotel

Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai © Peninsula Hotels

It was Friday afternoon in Shanghai – the largest city in China with a population exceeding 20,000,000 – and rush hour traffic was in full force.  In my taxi, I was observing how drivers fought for every square inch of pavement in an effort to make slow but steady forward progress. However, no one ever makes contact, at least not as far as I can tell. In my whole time there, I never witnessed a single sideswipe or glancing blow – it’s amazing, really, how so much iron and steel can squeeze through the streets of old Shanghai without so much as a scrape or a small dent.

After about 45 minutes or so, I arrived at “The Pen” – the Shanghai Peninsula Hotel, located right on the historic Bund and facing the river. It was quite an adjustment to step off the crowded Bund and into The Pen where it was, all-of-a-sudden, quiet and serene with string (violin) music playing from the mezzanine above.  It was remarkable, really, how different it was inside the hotel – an oasis, if there ever was one. Continue reading

Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula Hotel, Chicago

The Lobby (image courtesy of Peninsula Hotels)

The Lobby (image courtesy of Peninsula Hotels)

It was 2:45 pm and I had arrived early for the Afternoon Tea Service at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. From the moment you walk in, you sense something different, elegant. You get the feeling that if you simply think of a request, someone would appear to fulfill it without any further effort on your part. Continue reading