My friend, Rebekah, is sadly leaving us Arizonans behind. But for a good reason. She’s going to be traveling the world for the rest of the year and then settling in NYC where she’ll be pursuing her dream career. No, we don’t hate her. But, we are really sad she’s leaving us – even though it’s for good reason and thought afternoon tea was a good send off. Ritz Carlton, which shut down and is being reopened next year on steroids, is still my favorite place for tea
Beautiful location, of course, and the traditional tea is about what you would expect from a high end resort. We sat near the pianist (who’s a staple and local icon) and had the window seat, which couldn’t be more ideal. However, the service was nowhere near what you would expect from a high end resort such as the Phoenician.
We ordered the royal tea service, which is the top tier tea service that comes with the Perrier Jouet. The service started off great but at some point went downhill. I tried to wave down our server about half a dozen times over about 15 minutes with no luck. When I finally stood up to go speak to her (she was at her station) she gave me a look of exasperation and told me to hold on and went to help out another table, leaving me standing there awkwardly.
Then, she poured Gruet sparkling wine in my half filled Perrier Jouet glass. When I mentioned that we were drinking the PJ she said that they’ve been refilling all the glasses with the Gruet.
This is not fine dining service. I’ve worked a long time in the restaurant business and am pretty surprised at the quality at the Phoenician’s service. If your diners paid a higher price for better quality champagne the last thing you should be doing is pouring a cheap sparkling wine in the glass.
Hopefully, this was just a case of a bad server or a server having an off day. I’ll certainly give it a try again as everything else was on par.
I’ve had afternoon tea at the Ritz and Biltmore (as well as other hotels around the country) so I may be a bit pickier than most. But I feel that if you’re paying $70 plus an automatic 22% gratuity that you should be getting a better level of service. All in all, I’d still recommend it for the location, atmosphere, and views alone.
Their scones are some of the best I’ve had, however, and their dessert options are probably the best.