Entrance: The first thing we noticed when we entered Shambhala was the soothing sound of water trickling in a small fountain. There is a beautiful stairway to the right of the entrance and three tables by the windows to the left.
Greeting: Upon entering we were immediately greeted by several of the tea servers. And since our sister Nicki is a regular, they showed us the private rooms that were available. We had the priviledge of enjoying tea at Shambhala on three occasions and selected two different private rooms on our first two visits and sat at a table on the main floor on our third visit.
Service: Our tea server gave us a menu and lemon water upon arriving in our room. In each room there is a sing call button so that you can page your server should you need anything. The server kindly waits with you while you select your tea. We are certain our server would have reviewed the tea options with us if we spoke better Chinese, but thankfully there is some English on the menu.
Presentation: One of our favorite pieces of the tea service are the doileys with embroidered fabric coasters resting on top - each is brightly colored and ornately stitched. We loved the infusion process with the Shambhala Chinese black tea - pouring the tea from the tea pot through a sieve and into a serving pitcher - it added a fun element to the tea experience.
Table decor: All the tea accroutrements were delightful including the bowl where we rested the sieve and the darling stir spoons with porcelain floral handles.
Aesthetics: There is not enough space on our blog to discuss the Shambhala aesthetic. The Shambhala has four floors of tea rooms and each private room is uniquely decorated in Tibetan decor. The two private rooms we were seated in were amazing. The walls in one of the rooms are covered in beautiful gold floral fabric with an accent wall in red floral fabric. The ceilings have ornate gold detailing as do the cupboards. No detail has been missed in the tea rooms. The Tibetan decor made us feel like we were having tea in a grand museum.
Tea Quality: The Shambhala Chinese Black Tea was delicious even after several infusions. The looseleaf tea held its flavor well. The Chinese Date Tea was excellent and as an added plus it is good for your skin.
Tea Variety: Shambhala offered 16 varieties of tea - 5 Chinese teas, 5 English herb teas and 6 Shambhala health teas.
Food: Shambhala appears to offer a selection of food which is listed in the menu in Chinese characters, so we did not partake in the food. We noticed other tables with delicious fruit platters, but were content with the light tea biscuits we brought from Bread Talk (another of Dalian's delightful shops).
Music: The private rooms allow you to control the volume of the Tibetan music that is playing - you can turn the music off entirely or listen at your desired volume. We loved the Tibetan music and it added to our overall enjoyment of the tea. Nicki purchased a Tibetan cd since she loved the music at Shambhala so much - she tried to purchase a cd at Shambhala but unfortunately they do not sell cds of their music :(
Lighting: You can control the lighting in the private rooms and make the lighting as dim or bright as you like. There are curtains in the windows that you can draw or open as well.
Bathroom: We were able to experience a traditional Chinese water closet with beautiful marble floor. The lovely Tibetan decor extended into the lou.
Take Aways: The sweet manager gave us each a set of four book marks designed with different Tibetan artwork and decor.
Price: The tea is priced by the pot or cup. The price per pot of tea ranges from low to high depending on the type of tea you select.
We wish Shambhala sold their teas or had a gift shop because we so loved everything in their tea house and wanted to buy a souvenir. Luckily we were able to find pillow covers and coasters that were reminiscent of Shambhala's decor at Da Cai Shi (an endless indoor Chinese market where you can find any and every Chinese souvenir you could ever want!).