Honolulu, Hawai’i: Afternoon Tea at the Halekulani

I love that everything moves at a slightly slower pace in Hawai’i (including my blog posts). Surprisingly, I get the same amount of work done, and yet there always seems to be enough time for family and relaxation. Maybe we should all move to Hawai’i?

Mom and I took a few hours off today for afternoon tea at the Halekulani Hotel. This is one of my favorite afternoon tea spots on the island, and also one of the smallest.

Served in the open Veranda, there’s only six tables in the entire room.

Very easy to give into the peace and quiet, high ceilings and heavy cream and soft green drapes, mix of old and modern Hawaiian decor.  I could live in this space.

Afternoon tea is served in courses. Shall we pick a tea first?

Our server (the gentleman in this photo) was so knowledgeable about teas and afternoon tea in general. A welcome surprise. Many servers at afternoon tea spots know absolutely nothing about the tea they serve or the tradition of afternoon tea. Every detail counts. As each pot of tea is brewed to order, we tried a variety of teas, four in total. We started with Hawaiian Vanilla – black tea with pikake flowers and vanilla, and Lychee-A├žai – black tea with pink globe amaranth petals and safflower.

For the second round: Maui Lavender Earl Grey and Queen Emma Rose. I usually drink orthodox teas at home, so partaking in a taste of different blends is such a treat.

Then come the tea sandwiches, four per person. Clockwise from bottom-right: Smoked Salmon, Cucumber-Boursin Cheese, Grilled Vegetables, and Duck Prosciutto.

Black Currant Scones served warm from the oven. Shiny tops, and such a tender, moist interior. I love how tiny they are – much easier to eat without making a mess.

Split lengthwise and smother on the Devonshire cream and housemade lemon curd.

Save room for sweets…here comes the dessert trolley!

Dessert options change daily, select any three of the five. Mom and I chose different ones so that we could get a taste of all the desserts.

Chocolate Financiers, Blueberry Almond TartsChocolate-Banana Macarons

This Strawberry Cream Puff was my second favorite…

…but the Matcha Roll Cake was easily the best of the set. Feathery light and rolled with a chestnut cream (pure chestnut puree folded into whipped cream). And no wonder! The pastry chef who created this dessert trained at 

Strolling around the hotel post-tea…the beach (and House Without a Key – a great place for 

We’ll be back soon!

  • anonymous
    March 8, 2012

    Just fabulous..love your Hawaiian posts Kathy..I could move there in a hertbeat and I live in sunny Spain !!

  • K and S
    March 8, 2012

    definitely want to check this out the next time I'm home!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    March 8, 2012

    Thanks so much Lousie! There's plenty to love about Hawai'i ^_^Hi Kat! Yes! I bet you would love it…such a pretty places and the tea service is one of a kind ^_^

  • Ethan Nicholas
    March 9, 2012

    just beautiful! that kind of ambiance makes me want to be sipping pots of tea outdoors all day long!by the way, you came up in conversation with Elspeth at Podunk the other day. it seems our meeting by chance at a tea salon is imminent!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    March 9, 2012

    Hi Ethan! Many of the afternoon tea spots in Honolulu are set in that open air/half-outdoor setting. Isn't that just magical? ^_^ A completely unique experience. Ooo man I need to go back to Podunk soon, please tell Elspeth I say 'hi'…am sure I will run into you there one day!

  • anonymous
    March 10, 2012

    That tea looks so lovely… and I'm so jealous that you're in Hawaii. Please bring spring back with you!

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