Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio

Best Takeaways and Loveliest Piano Music

Lindsey's recent birthday included a surprise afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland.  What a wonderful way to spend a gray, Sunday afternoon (or really any afternoon).

Entrance: After taking the elevator to the 6th floor, you arrive in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton hotel. Beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling create a lovely, sparkly ambiance.

Greeting: A charming Ritz employee escorted us to a quaint room where the tea-ers are seated.  Upon entering the room we were greeted and shown to our table.  As we were the first to arrive for tea, we were seated at the best table which was directly across from the gorgeous roaring fireplace.  The early bird gets the best tea table!

Service: As contrary to other tea services, we did not have tea pots on our table.  Instead, the servers poured us tea from communal tea pots which were placed on a table in the center of the room. The servers were excellent and we never got to the bottom of our cup before it was quickly refilled. Our tea was never cold and we were very impressed with the constant attention.  The servers first brought out a plate of sandwiches within minutes of us sitting down (although we had arrived a little early). Long before we finished the sandwiches, our server brought out a three-tiered server with scones and desserts.

Presentation: Our table was beautifully set with cream, sugar and a trio of jellies and honey. The beautiful presentation matched the elegant surroundings.

Table decor: Our matching tea ware was a lovely floral pattern fitting for the upcoming Spring season.  I adored the trio of jellies on the table.  The gorgeous tiered server and tea pot were silver and adorned with a lion at the top (a symbol from The Ritz-Carlton logo).

Aesthetics: An inviting and warm atmosphere was enhanced by lighting from the marble fireplace and chandeliers.  A plush floral carpet with rich draperies were perfectly fitting for a luxurious afternoon tea. The room was filled with dark wood tables with various arrangements complemented by an array of beautiful settees, sofas and chairs. Ornate picture frames decorated the wood paneled walls. A large parlor table sat in the center of the room with a lush plant surrounded by an array of tea pots.

Tea Quality: Our tea selections were The Ritz-Carlton Blend (Blue Sapphire) and the Vanilla tea.  We both took our tea with cream and sugar and thoroughly enjoyed every sip!

Tea Variety: The Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland offers 7 tea choices: The Ritz-Carlton Blend (Blue Sapphire), Special Rare Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Vanilla, Peppermint Tisane, Green Jasmine, and Cherry Sencha.

Food Quality and Variety: Our first course included 4 finger sandwiches: smoked salmon, cucumber (Lindsey's favorite), sliced egg, and black forest ham (Lindsey's tea companion's favorite).

The next course was a three-tiered server with a variety of desserts and scones.  The scone course featured an elderberry scone and pineapple upside down cake.  For the pastry/dessert course, they served espresso caramel cashew cake, pomegranate poached baby pears, and banana cream tartlets.

Since it was Lindsey's birthday, she received an extra course - a chocolate covered strawberry, caramel and cashew cake (with a lit candle in it) and a Happy Birthday chocolate!

Music: The entire tea service was accompanied by a lovely pianist. He played soft melodies appropriate to the relaxing setting. The pianist also kindly played "Happy Birthday" for the patrons celebrating their special day!

Lighting: The chandelier lighting and glow from the fireplace were appropriate for an afternoon spent leisurely sipping tea.

Bathroom: There were two bathrooms located near the tea service; both featured marble walls, grand stalls and cloth disposable hand towels.  Lovely floral pictures accented the bathroom walls, and Lindsey was told the men's room featured a picture of a polo player.

Takeaways: The lovely hostess allowed us to take home a menu insert along with the trio of jellies on the table. The hostess wrapped up the leftovers and put them in a charming Ritz-Carlton bag.

Price: Average