Make like the Mad Hatter and enjoy tea and a scone (or several scones) at one of Dubai’s indulgent afternoon teas.
The best experience: Abra Afternoon Tea, Madinat Jumeirah
It’s as close to Venice as you’ll get within a half-hour drive, and those Venetian gondoliers don’t even serve you scones. The two-hour experience at the Madinat, however, offers just that. You’ll board an abra and sail the canals of the Madinat Jumeirah. Along with a welcome drink, the abra is laden with an array of sweet and savoury treats, soft drinks and tea. It’s a relaxing way to watch the sun set over the Arabian Gulf, with great views of the Burj Al Arab.
Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh, Dubai, Dhs750 for two, 4pm to 6pm, Tel: (04) 3668888. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah. jumeirah.com
The oh so English: Partea, Dukes Dubai
If you’re after a quintessentially British afternoon with a bit of a twist, you’ll find it at Dukes Dubai. The hotel has just launched a Saturday “ParTea” brunch, hosted in the third floor tea lounge. You’ll be presented with a tiered tower of finger sandwiches and mini savouries, with the option to order more of each of your favourites. Then there’s a buffet of sweet treats with everything from battenbergs and lemon meringue pie to red velvet cake and pint-size creme brulee. Fresh-from-the-oven scones finish off the afternoon. Pinkies up!
Dukes Dubai, Oceana Complex, Palm Jumeirah, Saturdays 2pm to 6pm, Dhs195 soft, Dhs240 with one glass of sparkling, Dhs340 with unlimited sparkling Dhs520 with unlimited French bubbles. Tel: (04) 317 6000. Taxi: Dukes Dubai, The Palm. Dukesdubai.com.
The music maestro: Mozart Afternoon Tea, Armani Hotel
As Dubai Opera opens its September season with a trio of Mozart’s most famous stage productions, Armani/Lounge has created a Mozart-themed menu of teatime treats. Enjoy three tiers of Austrian-inspired delights, including Black Forest turkey ham with sauerkraut, salmon and cream cheese mini pretzels and a cranberry, almond, chicken salad trammezine. Finish up with an espresso-flavoured spin on a classic Opera cake, Vienna Sacher Torte and rich Black Forest sphere.
Armani/Lounge, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, daily 3pm to 6pm until September 30, Dhs170. Tel: (04) 888 3666. Metro: Dubai Mall. armanihoteldubai.com.
The rural retreat: The Farm, Al Barari
It might be a bit of a mission to get to being way out in Al Barari, but it’s well worth a lengthy visit for the lush greenery for The Farm’s high tea. For Dhs175, enjoy a selection of sandwiches, desserts and fresh scones served with fresh cream and jams. It also includes two drinks per person from a hot and cold selection, and priceless countryside relaxation.
Al Barari, Emirates Road, Dubai, daily 3.30pm to 6pm, Dhs175. Tel: (04) 392 5660. Taxi: The Farm, Dubai. thefarmdubai.ae
The cookie masters: Sarabeths, City Walk
With a loyal following from the breakfast and dessert crowd, it’s pretty normal for the newly opened Sarabeth’s to have a line snaking out the door between the hours of 8am and 3pm. But there is a good afternoon tea and dinner menu, too. The high tea here is fairly standard, but it’s well executed. There’s egg salad on a mini scone, tomato and mozzarella skewers with pesto, a small sample of the bakery’s cakes, and (our favourite) a couple of their signature Chubbies – a fat, chewy biscuit stuffed with pecans and walnuts and so soft it’s barely been crisped by the oven.
Sarabeth’s, City Walk, Jumeirah, Dubai, high tea daily from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. Tel: (052) 3976750. Taxi: City Walk. sarabeth.com
The old favourite: Café Bateel, JBR The Walk
For an afternoon tea with a distinctly Middle Eastern twist, try the new afternoon tea menu at Café Bateel. You’ll get an Arabian welcome drink of sparkling date juice, before being presented with a three-tiered silver tray laden with fusion goodies – think baba ghanoush and pomegranate on date toast, cucumber and labneh finger sandwiches and date opera cake. Don’t worry, purists – there’s also traditional English fruitcake and scones served with jam and Devonshire clotted cream. Choose from either a classic selection of teas, or the gourmet selection, which includes one of the most expensive tea varieties in the world – the Silver Tips Imperial, harvested just five times a year beneath the light of a full moon. Now that’s fancy…
Café Bateel, JBR The Walk, Dubai, daily 1pm to 5pm, Dhs98 for classic tea selection, Dhs110 for gourmet selection. Tel: (04) 456 5837. Metro: Dubai Marina. bateel.com
ALSO: Arabian Ranches and DIFC.
The one to beat the heat: Iced Afternoon Tea, Al Fayrooz, Al Qasr
Cool down this summer with a spin on the traditional afternoon tea. Al Fayrooz Lounge in Jumeirah Al Qasr is introducing an Iced Afternoon Tea with six flavours to choose from: lemon, peach, mint, black current, date and green tea with rose petals. Accompanying thecooling iced teas are tarts, scones, bite-size sandwiches, and a final course of a chocolate fountain with dippable fresh fruit and cake pops. Perfect views of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and an ambiance set with live piano music are a welcome extra
Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh, Dubai, 2pm to 6pm, Dhs225. Tel: (04) 432 3232. Taxi: Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah. jumeirah.com
The highest: At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa
High tea (literally) in the world’s tallest building. Try the traditional La Gourmandise menu for a classic selection of sandwiches, scones and hot drinks – or upgrade to the Luxurious Menu for a four-course feast and a glass of something sparkling.
Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, noon to 4.30pm, Dhs320 (La Gourmandise menu, non-window seat), Dhs420 (Luxurious, non-window seat), Dhs450 (Luxurious, window table), Dhs650 (Luxurious with bottle of sparkling wine). Tel: (04) 8883828. Metro: Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. atmosphereburjkhalifa.com
The manliest: The Gentleman’s Tea, Ritz-Carlton
This one’s especially for the lads. You won’t find dainty scones and pretty cupcakes here; instead, the men of Dubai will be served up bites like Wagyu beef sliders, beef tartar with quail egg and a manly beverage.
The Lobby Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, daily 2pm to 6pm, Dhs295. Tel: (04) 3994000. Taxi: Ritz-Carlton Dubai. Ritzcarlton.com
The girliest: Raffles Salon, Raffles Hotel
A glam affair inspired by designer fashion collections (think chocolate in a stiletto). Feel like Carrie Bradshaw as you relax in the elegant salon with a sun hat lemon tart and a meringue swirl “bag”.
Raffles Hotel, Dubai, daily 2pm to 7pm, Dhs249. Tel: (04) 3248888. Metro: Dubai Healthcare City. raffles.com/dubai
*Please note, some restaurant times may be affected by Ramadan. We recommend calling before visiting.