The Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg is the most prestigious hotel in the city and its restaurants are the recipients of many awards (Two Michelin Stars, Gault & Millau, Golden Teacups…). The Wohnhalle Lounge serves a seasonal themed British afternoon tea which is rumoured to be the best in HH, a reputation that is well deserved:
The Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg Setting ★★★★★
The Fairmont hotel sits on Neuer Jungfernstieg, on the Western side of the Binnenalster inner lake. It is within walking distance of the Rathaus town hall and the upscale shopping districts of Neusdtast and Alstadt, the most prominent locations in Hamburg.
The beautiful 19th century building combines historic charm and modernity. The hotel is furnished with great taste and lives up to its reputation for luxury and excellence.
The Wohnhalle Lounge
The winter Afternoon tea is served in the Wohnhalle, a gorgeous lounge with a last century English country-house vibe. The predominantly warm colours as well as the antique armchairs and sofas induce a relaxing atmosphere, which makes an ideal venue for afternoon tea.
Guests may sit by the fireplace or by the windows to enjoy the view on the Alster (which is especially stunning at night).
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The tea selection is the strongest point of this afternoon tea, which combines choice and quality. The loose-leaf tea is supplied by the Ronnefeldt Teehaus, a Frankfurt based supplier with almost 200 years of expertise. It is among of the best tea quality I have ever tasted and puts the Westin Hamburg’s JING tea selection to shame.
Guests can choose between several types of teas: Black, Oolong, Green, White, Yellow, floral and aromatic. I recommend starting with the Darjeeling Spring tea: it is delicious and I usually prefer to commence with a black tea. However, your choice of beverage may differ if you wish to match the “Vier Jahreszeiten” (four seasons) theme.
It is rather unusual to have yellow tea on the menu so it would be a shame to skip it, I recommend it towards the end of the afternoon tea as it is a perfect finish. The teapot is placed on a candle warmer so the tea will stay hot for a while; this is quite common in Hamburg but very unusual in the UK!
The tea is expertly brewed with a Samovar, a rather unusual method which makes the experience even more interesting. The water quality of the city of Hamburg also guarantees an excellent taste since Germany’s tap water quality is top-notch.
René Möller happens to be the best tea sommelier I have ever had the pleasure to speak to. He is knowledgeable and has a great sense of service, so do feel free to request his expertise for a proper pairing.
The Savouries ★★★☆☆
Four run-of-the-mill sandwiches are on the menu: “Roast beef with truffle remoulade”, “Salmon with Horseradish”, “Egg salad with cress” and “Cucumber with cream cheese”.
These were all reasonably tasty but also very ordinary, making them the weakest part of this afternoon tea. The cucumber sandwich was the best of the four, while the egg salad was quite disappointing.
The Scones ★★★★★
Each guest gets one plain and one raisin scone, along with jam and clotted cream. The scones are delicious and freshly baked but it’s the jam that caught my attention: it is simply the best homemade jam I ever had!
The Cakes & Pastries ★★★★★
The pastry selection varies with each season and let me say that the winter selection is most excellent: “Opera cake”, “Poppy-fig cake”, “Blood orange mousse & Chestnut biscuit”, “Blackberry & Earl Grey biscuit” and “Almond & cranberry cake”.
I’ve too often been served fruit tarts and chocolate brownies along with my afternoon tea but the Fairmont Hamburg pastry chef has created some original cakes, which are a pleasure to the eye and to the palate.
Each of these sweets has a distinctive taste of its own, with the Blood orange mousse & chestnut biscuit leading the way in terms of originality. The Opera cake was especially tasty, it gets my vote despite my mixed feelings towards anything that is coffee based.
The Service ★★★★★
Andreas Winkels, René Möller and the rest of the staff are efficient and polite, always making sure that guests are having a perfect moment. There was no pressure to leave right on time and the staff even brought me some biscuits towards the end, that level of attention is reminiscent of the service excellence I experienced while having afternoon tea at the Ritz Paris.
Keep in mind that the definition of good service changes from country to country so the staff may seem a bit stern, especially so if you are used to the excessively warm and friendly British ways.
Conclusion & Overall Mark★★★★★
The Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg serves the perfect British afternoon tea, with a strong emphasis on tea quality. The delicious pastries, the relaxing atmosphere and the brilliant service are especially worthy of praise, and this afternoon tea lives up to its reputation for being the best in Hamburg.
Be warned that excellence comes at a price though: the Fairmont Hamburg afternoon tea costs 59€ per person and 73€ with a glass of Champagne. That makes it the most expensive high tea in the city as far as I’m aware.
If you are in Hamburg and love a good afternoon tea, don’t miss out. It’s well worth it and perfect for a rainy day, a common occurrence in our beloved HH.
+: The hotel’s location & setting
+: The Wohnhalle’s atmosphere
+: The tea selection
+: The scones & pastries
+: The service (brilliant tea sommelier)
-: The ordinary savouries
-: The most expensive afternoon tea in Hamburg
Phone number: + 49 (0) 40 3494 0
Bookings can be made for groups of 6-8 guests