I had been to tea at the Hotel Bel Air many years ago, far before Puck took over the dining operations, and I thought it was over hyped at the time. I went there approximately a month ago (sorry that I am slow and less elaborate than others for reviews, but I do try within my time constraints). For context, my friend and I have been going to tea once or twice a year for most of the last 25 years. We care about the quality of food, service and atmosphere and use this time to enjoy the experience and catch up on life. Of semi-current visits, we like the Peninsula, Langham somewhat less, and hated the Huntington.
The tea times are limited to 3 and 4 pm on Friday and Saturday and it is $60 per person without champagne. My friend added on $12 - $15 champagne which she was quite happy with. It is outdoor seating and the plating and environment is much more of an upscale Californian feel as opposed to a traditional flowered china tea.
Picture of the table/plating for the mini sandwiches and crudites (which we didn’t try but loved the look of):
Although often different from a typical tea, like the delicious mini grilled cheese sandwich for example, the food was excellent and very generous.
We both love scones. These were cooked harder than a usual scone but fantastic. The home made jams were also good, especially the berry.
The desserts were also generous and delicious:
The service was excellent and better than we have recently experienced at the Peninsula which was at the top of our list before this outing. I could be wrong, but felt that the Dorchester affiliation showed in the quality of food and service. They were gracious about take-home wrapping - it is simply too much food - so many tables had take home boxes… As we have experienced at other high end places in LA, they seem to have a two hour window (we took the three PM time) and then they are subtlety to semi-subtlety ready for you to leave as they prepare for dinner service.
It is not trying to be a 100% traditional tea, but was overall a delicious and wonderful experience (and we are picky if not already apparent). I will be going happily going back.