This weekend, I spent a lovely few hours with my 6-year-old over tea at the Ritz-Carlton. I had told my daughter that tea would be fancy, like Fancy Nancy. So for the occasion, she broke out her Christmas dress to wear one last time and a faux fur coat. With a few ringlets added to her pony tails, we were headed to the Ritz.
When we arrived, she was impressed by the doorman and whispered, "Is this like Eloise at the Plaza?" As the hostess showed us to our cozy table for two, the other ladies enjoying tea greeted us with welcoming smiles, seeming to know I had a rookie with me. Our hostess asked my daughter if this was her first time for tea and then took her time explaining several tea options. After choosing one suitable for adding lots of cream and sugar cubes, we spent some time enjoying our surroundings. My daughter especially noticed the crystal chandeliers, the busts of people whom she guessed to be George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt, and the gold gilding around the fireplace.
My daughter tried her tea and then switched to lemonade. She's not the most adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, but the ambiance of the Ritz gave her the courage to try every tea sandwich and pastry set in front of her. She even discovered she likes salmon.
My favorite part of the day was spending some quiet time together. The setting was such that we both slowed down and just talked about school, friends and activities. While the price of the tea was high enough that I would not choose this activity frequently, I foresee making tea at the Ritz a tradition once or twice a year. We have plans to make a reservation during the holiday season when the Ritz offers a Teddy Bear Tea, and we plan to invite some grandmothers to join us.
The price of the full tea is $27 (we were charged half-price for my daughter) and includes tea sandwiches and pastries. Price of the light tea is $17 and includes the pastries. Gratuity is added to your bill, and a reservation must be made 24 hours in advance.
100 Carondelet Plaza
St. Louis, Mo., 63105