Anne Thornley-Brown is the President of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto based firm that regularly organizes incentive travel and executive retreats in Dubai, Oman, Jamaica, Malaysia, Singapore, and Canada. They provide one stop shopping service with a personalized approach to incentive travel for corporate groups of 10 to 60. Customized itineraries include travel, transfers, hotel, tours, team activities, and special events.
(c) Fairmont Express, Victoria
Afternoon Tea Spots
I didn’t grow up with an afternoon tea tradition and I can’t remember the first time I had afternoon tea. Perhaps it was at Bermuda’s Harmony Hall resort in Paget but I’m not sure. Clearly, I enjoyed it as, over the years, no matter where I have travelled I have looked for opportunities to enjoy tea personally and to incorporate it into my work with clients. I have many warm memories involving tea. There was the afternoon I spent exploring the grounds at the Palace of the Golden Horses in Kuala Lumpur. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tea they had advertised was more like a meal.
I had been to Singapore many times but it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I finally had a chance to have tea at the Raffles hotel. After a meeting with a prospective client in the area, I just walked over to Raffles. Even though they were fully booked, they managed to find a table for me. It was a most enjoyable high tea and I finally had a chance to try the famous Singapore Sling.
One particularly memorable experience was the time I went to the Cameron Highlands. I was on my own and since there weren’t enough people for a bus, the tour company arranged a car for me and matched me up with 2 gentlemen from Kuwait. We went higher and higher up in the hils. Eventually, we arrived at a tea plantations. We had a full tour of the plantation and saw exactly how tea was grown and processed. Then, we had some scones with cream and tea fresh from the plantation as we relaxed and took in the view. Later, we went strawberry picking. As I was returning to Toronto the next day, I saved my strawberries for a special treat. At the KLIA, one of the restaurants let me have some whipped cream and they didn’t even charge me for it. After the plane took off, I enjoyed the fresh strawberries that I had picked the day before and then I had a cup of tea. I remember thinking “Now this is the life”. I encourage all of my clients travelling to Malaysia to make a visit to a tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands a part of their itinerary.
Afternoon Tea for your Incentive Trip
So, if you want to include afternoon tea as a part of your corporate incentive trip, where can you go? At many destinations, your group has the option of:
- arranging a private tea in your meeting room or a hotel function room….many hotels will upgrade your meeting pacakge and do this for you
- going to a local tearoom or hotel that serves tea – always book WELL ahead of schedule as tea is popular and usually sells out early.
A Crash Course in Tea:
There are many ways to enjoy tea around the world:
Cream Tea: This usually consists of choice of tea and scones with Devonshire Cream and preserves.
Traditional Afternoon Tea: Includes choice of tea, sandwiches, scones with Devonshire Cream and preserves, and pastries.
(c) Fairmont Express, Victoria
High Tea: Includes choice of tea, sandwiches, cheeses, meats, scones with Devonoshire Cream and preserves, and pastries.
Specialty Teas: Venues and hotels around the world have created their own specialty tea packages that sometimes include strawberries, champagne and a host of other local treats. In Asia, you’ll often find that the tea is a full buffet that you can easily use as a substitute for a meal.
Japanese Tea Ceremony: In Japan, the tea ceremony is steeped in tradition and a very relaxing interlude. Here is where you can get more information:
- Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so (Traditional Afternoon Tea)
Japanese Tea Ceremony
- Hotel Okura (Choshoan Tea Room)
- Imperial Hotel
- Wak Japan
- Westin Miyako Hotel (Shikushi Tearoom)
- Raffles Hotel
- Four Seasons Hotel (The Bar)
- Regent Hotel
- Palace of the Golden Horses
- Carcosa Seri Negara
Enjoy scones and fresh tea on a tea plantation. There are many but I had the pleasure of enjoying tea at one of the:
Sultanate of Oman
- Haffa House Hotel
- The Chedi
United Arab Emirates
- Burj Al Arab
- Madinat Jumeriah (Al Fayrooz lounge)
- Raffles Dubai (Raffles Salon)
- Desert Palms Resort – Enjoy your tea and snack in one of their polo pavilions while you watch polo
- Hyatt Regency (The Kitchen) – For a change of pace from tea, enjoy some of the most delicious Arabian specialty coffees you’ll find anywhere
- Emirates Palace
- Royal Plantation Hotel (Ocho Rios)
- Ritz-Carlton (Montego Bay)
- Terra Nova (Kingston)
- Firefly (Port Maria)
- Strawberry Hill – On weekends (Blue Mountains)
- Mocking Bird Hill Hotel (Port Antonio)
- Old Curiosity Tea Shoppe (in Markham)
- Windsor Arms Hotel
- The Old Mill (Toronto)
- King Edward Hotel (Downtown Toronto)
- Four Seasons Hotel (Downtown Toronto)
- Fairmont Royal York (Downtown Toronto)
- The Red Tea Box(Queen St. West)
- Tea Emporium (Eglinton Ave. West)
- Millcroft Inn (Alton)
- Prince of Wales Hotel (Niagara on the Lake)
- Pillar and Post (Niagara on the Lake
- Princely Pear Tea Room (Alliston)
- Ritz Carlton Hotel
- Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel