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5 of the most indulgent luxury high teas of India and Sri Lanka

India and Sri Lanka are home to some of the most remarkable hotels; from grand palaces that are now luxury properties to heritage icons immaculately restored. Yet often travel itineraries are tightly packed with activities and sightseeing with too little time to stop and enjoy the places we are visiting, the fabulous hotels we are staying in and life’s little pleasures. But one way to do all of those things is to leave a free afternoon on your travels and pause for high tea. After all, what’s not to love about hot scones with jam and cream, tea served in beautiful cups and saucers and if you really like to indulge – perfectly chilled Champagne on the side! In Sri Lanka and India, high tea is also a gentle nod to the colonial pasts that are part of their histories, especially when taken at any of the grand heritage hotels.  Served on wide sweeping verandahs, under opulent chandeliers and in plush couches, here are five of the best luxury high teas in India and Sri Lanka worth indulging in. 1.  Norwood Bungalow, Tea Trails, Sri Lanka A stay at Tea Trails, Sri Lanka’s first Relais & Chateaux resort, produces many highlights. One of which is certainly the afternoon teas. You can’t visit Tea Trails just for high tea, you can only indulge if you are staying there – but it’s just another reason to visit these beautifully restored Colonial-era tea planters’ bungalows.  Afternoon tea is served on the verandah everyday, with a tea menu that’s exquisite and worth trying as many as possible. But it’s not just the extensive tea selection worth raving about. There’s fresh baked chocolate cake, scones and smoked salmon sandwiches served on a fine cake stand. Don’t be shy to ask for a glass of sparkling either if that’s what you fancy – the accommodating and gracious staff at Tea Trails will be more than pleased to serve you one.  High tea is best enjoyed after a walk through the tea plantations to work up an appetite. An elegant setting, remarkable service and great views – high tea at Tea Trails ticks all the boxes. Norwood Bungalow 2. Sea Lounge, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai Having lived in Mumbai for many years, I always love taking people to the Taj Mahal Palace for afternoon tea at the Sea Lounge. They serve an impressive afternoon tea, but it’s their take on Mumbai street food that guests always love experiencing. The Sea Lounge is rich in charm, with live piano playing during the afternoon tea. The views are fantastic and it’s worth reserving ahead so you can sit in one of the booths near the window and gaze out over the Gateway of India. One of India’s iconic luxury hotels, this afternoon tea should be on everyone’s bucket list. Sea Lounge 3. Amangalla Resort, Galle, Sri Lanka I found myself on the verandah of Amangalla Resort, the stunning Aman hotel in Galle, on a recent afternoon. With dark storm clouds approaching we had decided to stop and pause for tea – and we are very glad we did! Amangalla has a couple of options for high tea – a full high tea or just a serve of hot scones. We ordered the scones and they were amazing. Served warm with thick, delicious cream and homemade jam and presented with the choice of a boutique tea. The service is understated and exceptional. We sat and enjoyed watching the dark storm clouds roll over Galle and loved the atmosphere at this great hotel. Amangalla 4. The Verandah Café, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur The Verandah Café is the perfect spot to go to be surrounded by Rajasthan’s royal heritage. Once the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Rambagh Palace is now a luxury Taj property and one of India’s grandest palaces. Also known as `The Jewel of Jaipur,’ you can relax over afternoon tea and champagne at the Verandah Café and dream of a royal life of yesteryear. The impressive Moghul gardens and stunning palace façade may distract you from you the equally lovely afternoon tea. Time seems to disappear when sitting at The Verandah. Rambagh Palace 5. Galle Face Hotel, Colombo This icon of Colombo has many draw cards for hotel guests and outside visitors, including its daily high tea. Galle Face Hotel is a 150-year old heritage property that has recently been fully refurbished. The hotel serves afternoon tea on its outside verandah overlooking the ocean. The high tea is served in courses that begins with an iced coffee and ends with a Sri Lankan pancake filled with coconut and jaggery. It’s a substantial afternoon tea with excellent service. A glass of prosecco from the drinks menu makes an excellent accompaniment. Galle Face Hotel Lincoln Harris is Founder at India Unbound. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. You must have got through a lot of teas, sandwiches & cakes while living in Mumbai, there are lots of amazing choices of where to go there! I’m a big fan of afternoon tea, or ‘high tea’, but I do prefer places that give you a little more flexibility over things rather than being quite rigid in the options, like if you have dietary requirements or you’re a bit of a fussy eater so you can ask for slight changes to be made with sandwiches. It must be beautiful to sit on the veranda overlooking the ocean at the Galle Face Hotel, proof that you can have your cake & eat it too!

  2. I absolutely love high tea. I often go to hotels before the pandemic with friends to enjoy high tea and talk about life. I like discovering new pairings and I always try the hotel staff recommendations. I’ve never had a pairing I didn’t like. Perhaps becauce I love any kind of tea, but green tea in particular. Seems to me the most unique setting is Galle Face Hotel in Colombo since you have the sea as your backdrop. It couldn’t be more relaxing or conducive to sharing adventure tales with your buddies.

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