Travel Insight: Scarlett O’Hara would be Impressed with Afternoon Tea at Virginia’s Jefferson Hotel

October 2, 2013 Leigh Powell Hines

Afternoon Tea at Virginia’s Jefferson Hotel

Word around Richmond is that “Gone with the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell stayed at the Virginia’s Jefferson Hotel while writing the famous Southern novel, which turned into the iconic movie classic. As an avid fan of “Gone with the Wind,” I will go ahead and say, “Fiddle dee-dee, they do look a lot like the stairs in Rhett and Scarlett’s Atlanta home.”

Jefferson Hotel Lobby. Stairs a lot like the Stairs in Gone with the Wind

We’ll never really know for sure. But I do know that at the top of those beautiful stairs is the Palm Court Lobby, where you can have one of the best afternoon tea services in the South. Seriously, it’s the most elaborate, traditional tea service that I have encountered on my Southern travels, especially for the reasonable price.  I recently named it as one of my Top 10 Southern Culinary Bites I had this summer.

Afternoon Tea at Jefferson Hotel Impresses with Seating Under Tiffany Stained Glass

Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia

First off, the setting for afternoon is exquisite. Dining under Tiffany stained glass takes it up a notch in an elegant ambience. The original stained glass is impressive, and so is the marble statue of the hotel’s namesake, Thomas Jefferson.

Like with most afternoon teas, I fill up on the scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves. I can’t help it. I love scones and that rich cream with just a touch of sweetness. Frankly, my dear, I would be fine with just scones, but you get a lot more than that at the Jefferson Hotel.

Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia-Afternoon Tea

We had tea service for four, and we had so much food that we ate the rest of it the next day for breakfast. Yes, scones taste delicious the next day just plain. The Jefferson afternoon tea includes assorted tea sandwiches, pastries, and tea breads for $24 per adult.

Afternoon tea is under the direction of the Hotel’s signature restaurant, Lemaire, and under the culinary leadership of a Richmond native, Chef Walter Bundy. As a special treat, we also sampled a fabulous fruit-and-cheese platter, and a few extra sweets such as chocolate-covered espresso beans and pretzels. Lemaire specializes in a menu rich with Virginia-grown products.

Jefferson Hotel chocolates

Book Holiday Teas at The Jefferson Hotel in Early Fall

The holidays are one of the Jefferson Hotel’s busiest times for afternoon tea. It’s the place to see and be seen.  Reservations are already filling up for December with daily afternoon tea, the chocolate lover’s tea, and the children’s Teddy Bear tea. The Jefferson Hotel will also host two teas in December with a very special guest from the North Pole. The Santa tea usually sells out within a matter of hours. Reservations begin for the Santa tea at 6 a.m. on October 7.  All tea reservations may be made by calling (804) 649-4661

Holidays at the Jefferson

The Jefferson Hotel, located at 101 West Franklin Street in Richmond, Virginia, is a member of Preferred Hotels and is a five-star property. It is one of 45 hotels in North America to hold both the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards for 2013.Special Holiday packages begin at $245. Look for more on the Jefferson Hotel on the HinesSight Blog later this month.

Disclosure:  I was a media guest of the Jefferson Hotel and stayed at the hotel with a special negotiated rate. Afternoon tea was part of my package and was included in my media rate at no additional charge. As always, opinions are my own, and your experiences may vary. 

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I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.

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Leigh Powell Hines

Leigh Powell Hines, a former TV Journalist/Communications Executive, combined motherhood and her journalism experience and started The Hines-Sight Blog to inspire parents to pack their bags for family travels in and around North Carolina, where she resides. Leigh knows the best in family travel, but as a parent in her mid-forties, she seeks out restaurants and hotels that adults can enjoy, too. Luxury hotels are Leigh’s passion, and she is ready to travel the world, one luxury hotel at a time. Connect with Leigh on Twitter @Hinessightblog, Facebook and check out Hines-Sight Blog on Pinterest.

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