80th Anniversary Afternoon Tea at Notch8 (Fairmont Hotel Vancouver)

In honour of its 80th anniversary in May, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver‘s Notch8 restaurant came out with a themed afternoon tea with traditional sandwiches and sweets. I was lucky enough to win afternoon tea for two in May which I redeemed on my birthday in July.

Ambience: Having had afternoon tea at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver when it had been served in The Roof and in the lounge prior to renovations, I felt that everything had been more elegant in the past. Hotel Vancouver underwent major renovations between 2014-2018 and had claimed that they would bring back the glamour of the 1920-30s. I was disappointed to discover in 2017 that there was nothing Art Deco about the lounge or restaurant. Moreover, I am not fond of grey exteriors and interiors when the city is often overcast. Nevertheless, the salon where afternoon tea is served is hidden away at the back and looks like a small library (and reminded me of the one in the Kensington Hotel in London). The room is dimly lit (I don’t think there are any windows) with more light coming from the bookshelves. On the other hand, I liked the presence of the grandfather clock, the decorative ceiling tiles, and the classic wall console table. Whilst I’m pleased they played classical music, the other diners spoke loudly and only got louder as the volume increased. Probably didn’t help that the tables were close to each other.

Service: Service was as expected, polite without being intrusive. It was sweet of them to ask what the occasion was for coming to tea.

Food: Before I talk about the food, I want to mention the chinaware. As pretty as the new chinaware are with gold leaves, I thought our Castle in the City ought to have used its elegant Fairmont China Collection. After all, Hotel Vancouver is meant to be the grandest place to take tea!

At $59 per person, I thought it was reasonable as other Fairmont locations often charge more. It comes with a parfait, five sandwiches, two scones, and six sweets. The delectable sweets are served in a treasure box, which we asked them to bring later as our table was quite small. My favourite of the treats was the Battenberg cake, shaped like a handbag. As it was my birthday, the staff also surprised me with a chocolate cupcake with a candle. I was very touched!

A treasure box of sweets:
crème brûlée macaron croquant; Earl Grey eclair; marzipan Battenberg cake; candied orange treacle tart; raspberry trifle; apricot Linzer Torte.

Unfortunately, our table of three could not finish everything so we asked for takeaway boxes, which I later shared with my friends. I cannot tell you how bad I felt for asking for many boxes!

Overall, I enjoyed the 80th Anniversary Afternoon Tea with my family. I would suggest the hotel to bring back the Fairmont China Collection and, if there’s ever another renovation, to create a more opulent room to match the ballrooms in the hotel.

The 80th Anniversary Afternoon Tea is available until Friday, 21 September.