Connect Lounge at Marco Polo Understands High Tea Completely

While “afternoon tea” paints a picture of a leisurely time over dainty snacks, delicate drinkware, and expensive teas, its origin is actually a little less glamorous. What is now common in the city’s poshest hotels was started in the 1800s in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Anna would often find herself hungry because of the large gap between lunch and dinner in her household, so she began to request bread and butter, cake, and some tea every afternoon. This became a habit, until she began inviting her friends and they moved from bedroom to drawing room. Eventually, other women from the high society embraced the trend and met up daily with their gloves, hats, and gowns on—hence, the afternoon tea was born.

But it wasn’t all about being fashionable and taking forever to finish one cup of Earl Grey. England’s working class also followed the tradition—indulging in afternoon breaks with scones, cakes, or toasts with cheese, while sitting on tall stools (thus, “high tea”). Not so much as a social event, but as a meal.

Today, high tea is offered in most hotels and some upscale restaurants, which choices of pastries, sandwiches, dim sum, desserts, coffee, cocktails, and tea. Marco Polo Manila has recently introduced its own rendition, one that not only fits the 5-star hotel’s luxurious ambience but also goes back to the roots of the tradition. Marco Polo’s afternoon tea treats are elegant and exquisite—light on the eyes but heavy on the stomach.


Available from 2PM to 6PM at the Connect Lounge—the hotel’s lobby lounge on the 24th floor—Marco Polo’s Afternoon Tea offering is a real steal at PhP788. Good for two, it comes with an amuse bouche sherbet, your choice of finger sandwiches, English scones with jam and heavy cream, a selection of pastries, a chocolate fondant with vanilla and chocolate sauce, and a choice between coffee or tea. All that on a three-tier tray that perfectly sets the mood for a cozy afternoon.

The Connect Lounge is designed such that guests can marvel at the breathtaking city view on one side and tempt themselves with luscious food displays on the other. Marco Polo Manila takes the concept of “high tea” quite literally—I recommend getting one of the tables beside the floor-to-ceiling windows so you can relax and enjoy your tea with a view of Pasig and Quezon cities. The oversized couches in the middle, on the other hand, are more suited for bigger groups.

When you order the Afternoon Tea set, you will be asked for your sandwiches and drinks of choice. Baguettes come in 5 flavors—plain, tomato, parsley, squid ink, and corn—and I suggest trying one of each except the plain (you get to choose 4 sandwiches). Then, choose from the mouthwatering meats—salami, mortadella, smoked salmon, shrimp, chicken, prosciutto—and add some greens, dressing, and cheese (Emmental, gruyere). The combinations are totally up to you.

While the lounge staff assembles your tray, you will be served first with the sherbet (strawberry, mango) and your chosen drinks. We tried both sherbet flavors, and had green tea for drinks. Individual tea pots come with fancy strainers. By the time our treats came, we were so eager to sample those colorful sandwiches and petite pastries.

The sandwiches are small but filling, thanks to those generous toppings. I especially loved the squid ink and parsley baguettes; the sausage roll is pretty tasty as well. From the dessert selections, I found the cream puff and the panna cotta most alluring. The real winner among the sweets, however, was the chocolate fondant, which was like a cross between a lava cake (rich, gooey filling) and a soufflé (consistency). The chocolate was intensely addicting and mind-blowing.

Guests can opt for freshly brewed coffee, or enjoy their favorite tea. Should you wish for an afternoon tipple, the drinks can also be upgraded to cocktails, for an extra charge.

With its delectable treats, astounding panoramas, stylish ambience, and cozy atmosphere, Marco Polo’s Connect Lounge is the perfect venue for enjoying the afternoon tea tradition. Whether you’re looking to finish some work alone, meeting up with a client, or craving to fill your tummies like Duchess Anna (or any other normal human being), this delicious offering is sure to please you.

Tip: call (+632)720-7720 for reservations as the Connect Lounge is almost always full.

Connect Lounge @ Marco Polo Manila
24/F, Sapphire St. cor. Meralco Ave., Ortigas, Pasig City

What's your afternoon indulgence?

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