A Tea Fit For Royalty at the Palace Hotel














Since I was a little girl, I had this fascination with going to high tea. My mother used to take me to a local favorite called the English Rose Garden, where we would get all dolled up and indulge in delectable finger sandwiches and confections on a doily covered table. Since the teahouse closed down, I have relentlessly sought out the best high tea havens to explore in America and this last year, the United Kingdom. I went to three high teas while in London as well as a few more casual teas in the UK (let me know if you would like a post on this later) and had some serious posh caffeine withdrawals when I arrived home for the summer. Therefore, I knew I had to celebrate my birthday, my mother’s birthday, and my grandmother’s birthday with high tea, and in one of our favorite places in San Francisco: The Palace Hotel.

The Palace Hotel truly makes its guests feel like royalty. Once you open those ornate black iron doors kissed by gold, you can look forward to sensational service and a luxurious interior that can make any guest feel monarchial.

I’ve stayed in this hotel before, but this was my first time experiencing their Signature High Tea in their Garden Court restaurant. All I can say is, wow. It was everything I dreamed it to be and more. The atmosphere is like an updated version of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. There are cream marble columns, mirrors, and opulent chandeliers throughout. Then there is this breathtaking rotunda, and gold accents. Everywhere. These old world details are offset by modern furniture and rugs to give the escape an eclectic feel. To further the flawless ambiance, hypnotic harp music played throughout the afternoon, soothing our souls while we spoke and ate.

The court was not just unmistakably magical, but the tea itself was too. My mother, grandmother and I had their Legacy blend, an aromatic, black tea with whispers of vanilla and rose. The tea complemented both the sweet and savory portions of our meal.

Our benevolent waiter not only brought out an array of desserts after our curated sandwiches, but a mini fondant birthday cake for the three of us to share. As if things could not be any more perfect, the Palace Hotel surprised us by having the Garden Court harpist strum “Happy Birthday” for us. I really did feel like royalty that day, and I believe my mother and grandmother did too. It was such a treat to share that moment with them, three generations, three birthdays, one braided cord of passionate women who consistently are a support unit to one another.

To match the glamour of my atmosphere and food, I went for a very Breakfast at Tiffany’s ensemble. As Audrey Hepburn is one of my biggest life and style role models, nothing seemed more fitting. The main part of my look was this gorgeous little black dress I got from a vintage store. I love how the sleeveless torso scoops down both in the back to show off my shoulder blades and in the front to accent my décolletage. It reminds me of Holly Golightly’s black dress that she wears with her oversized hat. As the dress is very tight throughout, I like how there is some tulle gathered at the bottom and accented with a flower. The dress definitely aims to showcase a woman’s figure, which I hopefully didn’t lose after all those desserts! For those final classic touches, I wore my cream cameo earrings, which I let take center stage by pulling my hair into a half up half down style. Finally, I am wearing my nude coach pumps with black tips. I felt like a modern princess, or at least a San Francisco socialite for the day!

Nothing could have made my twentieth birthday more memorable. I am so blessed by the two women in my life that accompanied me and the dreamy room we spent our afternoon in. Don’t be surprised if you see me going to more high teas when I go back to Los Angeles!


Keeping it Krischic,

Kristin Vartan


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