Friday, October 8, 2010

High Tea at Pera Palace Hotel

Last month, the Pera Palace Hotel reopened after the completion of a two year renovation project. The hotel was originally built in 1892 for visitors arriving in Istanbul via the Orient Express. Many famous people have stayed here, including Agatha Christie, who stayed in room 411, now called the Agatha Christie room. Her novel "Murder on the Orient Express" may have some inspiration from this hotel. I went to the hotel for a visit and to experience their afternoon high tea. A nicely restored Plymouth is parked at the front door, and a friendly doorman opens the front door for guests.
High Tea is served in a large ballroom with a beautiful ceiling, faux painted marble walls and wooden interior balconies. At one end of the ballroom, a piano was being played - Moon River, and other western tunes.

Without giving me a menu, the server asked me what kind of tea I wanted. I asked what was available. English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea and Turkish Tea. These are all teas available in the food stores, so nothing special... I surpressed my laugh and requested the Earl Grey. The tea arrived as well as the sandwiches. I had a salmon sandwich and a roast beef and cheese sandwich. The pink and white plates were very pretty.

The next two courses of scones and sweets were served together via a buffet table. Yes, that is a bit of gold leaf on top of the square chocolate cake.

The atmosphere was very nice and relaxing and I was glad I had a chance to visit the hotel. Back out on the more hectic streets of Istanbul, I found myself humming Moon River, which did not seem to bother any of the Istanbulites a bit. Reservations are not required for the daily 3 - 6 pm high tea, but are for the hotel rooms. So if you are interested in a stay, here is the link http://www.perapalace,com

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