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"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." Henry James

Life is hectic. We know. You’re busy! Even your holidays can feel rushed. Take time for tea.

Since Anna the Duchess of Bedford held the first afternoon tea sometime around 1840 – as a light meal to fill the gap between lunch and dinner – it’s been a statement of fashionable relaxation and fine socialization. Tea time has remained en vogue ever since. Shouldn’t the hallmark of a good vacation be taking time to stop in the middle of the afternoon, enjoy a spectacular view and drink some fine tea?

Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton National Park

At the Prince of Wales Hotel, a heritage icon in Waterton Lakes National Park, we adore afternoon tea.

And so we present our 8 essential ways to indulge in tea time:

  1. Slow down. Just as the brewing process requires time, there’s no rushing afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel. It’s leisurely and relaxing to decelerate your day in the mountains.
  2. Talk to your friends! Connect. Chat. And perhaps even indulge in some good old-fashioned gossip. Afternoon tea is as much about witty and thoughtful conversation as it is about warm beverages. 

Afternoon Tea at the Prince of Wales

  1. Honor the moment with old-fashioned good manners. Start your tea time with a pleasant greeting to your friends, perhaps even to those at the table next to you. Smile. Listen to some pleasing music. Nod politely. Follow the rules of tea etiquette and be proud to do so.
  2. Unplug. Put away your devices as you approach the table for tea. Look around you, soak in the spectacular views of Waterton Lake. Take a deep breath. Then another.
  3. Help your health. The health benefits of tea have been known for thousands of years. From mental alertness to a renewal of the spirit – there’s no downside. Findings have also shown tea to be a strong antioxidant, a promoter of lower blood pressure and a way to increase bone density! 
  4. It’s pretty. From the white linens to the three-tiered platter, sophistication elevates the moment during afternoon tea. At the Prince, we proudly serve the handcrafted and luxurious blends from Tea Forte.  

Afternoon Tea overlooking Waterton Lake

  1. Eat well. Having tasty little things to nibble on are essential. Tiny sandwiches (like prosciutto and arugula) are followed by pastries. At the Prince of Wales Hotel, our chef creates biscotti dipped in white chocolate, mini cupcakes and lemon and Yorkshire curd tarts. And of course, scones – which should be enjoyed with jam and cream, and always broken in half (never cut with a knife).
  2. Make the most of your day. Tea time counters what Anna, Duchess of Bedford, called that ‘sinking feeling’ during the long gap between lunch and dinner. In Waterton, summer days are long. Post-tea, head out for a hike, bike ride or boat cruise. Dinner can wait!

How to stir your tea. Yes, there’s a right way to do it. Or perhaps a ‘proper’ way. Milk should always be added after the tea is poured and stirred back and forth. Stir up and down (6 o’clock to 12 o’clock), not circular. No clinking the spoon against the cup. Stir slowly!

A National Historic Site, the Prince of Wales hosts a daily afternoon tea that has become a tradition in the area and features the best views in town. The Prince of Wales Hotel was built in 1927 by the Great Northern Railroad. Inspired by a Swiss mountain lodge and named for Britain’s future King Edward VIII, it shines with Old World grandeur. The Prince of Wales’ traditional afternoon tea honors the amazing scenery of Waterton and encourages a relaxed, authentic and thoughtful experience. 

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