Walking into the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel, in Cape Town, you are instantly transported into a bygone era of elegance and charm that is truly hard to find in the world of hospitality. From the moment you step in, you can’t help but be overwhelmed with everything from the furnishings, floral arrangements, smiles and artwork – all of which creates an immersive experience, so much more than just a hotel. The “Mother City” is loaded with traditional and modern approaches to tea that have made their way from England, centuries ago, and found a home in some of the most posh and stylish venues across the city. But, none can compare to that of the Mount Nelson.
I spent a few glorious hours here indulging in the tea experience, one that has a reputation amongst travelers as being the best in the city. I had to try it to form my own opinion and see just exactly how good it was, I wasn’t disappointed. I was greeted by a host who found my reservation promptly and led me to an indoor/outdoor area that was essentially an extension of the gardens this hotel has become so famous for. I was seated on elegant linen-covered chairs and handed a menu of countless teas to choose from.
Before I knew it, my host returned to explain the various options to me. Would I choose Sencha from Japan? Assam from India? A rose-scented Darjeeling? They all looked so good. In the end, I chose a green Sencha from Japan and, of course, ordered a glass of ice-cold Brut to go along with it. Soon after, I was brought several tiers of gorgeous sweets, scones, cookies and sandwiches – enough to feed an army, but I wasn’t complaining.
The food was absolutely incredible – especially the scones with lemon curd.
Each small morsel was so well assembled and each flavor intentionally chosen, that my tastebuds literally exploded in happiness.
Throughout the next two hours I was able to sit and enjoy the garden view, grazing on delicious snacks that left me quite full. All of this didn’t even include tables inside that were ladened with cakes and other sweets to enjoy.
For anyone who is visiting Cape Town, whether you’re a guest at the Belmond Mount Nelson or not, you cannot miss this high tea experience. It would be a true tragedy and a “miss”. This experience is an integral part of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.