“Afternoon Tea is an indulgence, a moment to sit back and relax, catch up with a friend on the latest news, or just watch the world go by,” describes Mariano Garchitorena, The Peninsula Manila’s Director of Public Relations. At The Lobby, customers are treated to relish these precious times with the least amount of interference while enjoying the best scones, crumpets, clotted cream, and cucumber sandwiches – truly a slice of one of the finest British traditions.
Afternoon Tea, which is also referred to as ‘low tea’, includes a light meal that is traditionally served on a lounge or low table, hence the name. At The Lobby, guests take a seat on the comfortably plumped-up chairs, taking in the view of what is undoubtedly one of Manila’s most gorgeous lobbies while brightening up their afternoon with tea selection served on exquisite Haddon Hall-Green china. The tea scones are made using an original recipe from The Peninsula Hong Kong and the teas are from The Peninsula Teas line. The Lobby, recognized as one of the most elegant meeting places in Manila, serves an array of select teas and infusions. For over four decades, the Afternoon Tea experience continues to be sought after by business people, expatriates, diplomats, travelers and residents.
The pleasures of a flute and classical guitar duo add to the enjoyment of the moment. A Traditional Filipino Merienda Buffet is also available,” adds Garchitorena.
Aside from maintaining a quality of service that is practically legendary alongside using only the very best ingredients to constantly re-engineer the menu, it collaborates with partners to tweak products to reflect the occasion. For example, MaARTEA Afternoon Tea (fundraiser for the National Museum), The Well-Appointed Life for Salcedo Auctions, Peninsula in Pink Afternoon for breast cancer awareness or Christmas Afternoon Tea. Such events are the trajectory for The Lobby to have more collaboration with creative individuals and will be doing more events such as fashion shows, art exhibitions, and tea talks.
Although The Lobby is considered a ‘matriach’ of the Afternoon Tea in the country, it never rests on its laurels, fully acknowledging that others are looking to have a slice of the pie. It sees competition to be the motivator that keeps them on their toes, pushing them to innovate its tea selection and the menu. Listening to the team is therefore crucial for they have direct guest contact, and will have all the details of the guests’ preferences. To maintain the brand’s standing in the market and consistent customer service, Garchitorena says, “Training. Training. Training. We keep on training our teams – both front and back of the house – in the Peninsula brand of service.”
When asked how they maintain the authenticity of their Afternoon Tea experience, Garchitorena says, “A great team on The Lobby floor and in the kitchen, sparkling silver, china and stemware, fresh flowers in bud vases, music in the background and impeccable service that stretches back 41 years to 1976 when we first opened – that’s our ‘open’ secret.”