Friday, July 25, 2008

Unwind With An Afternoon Tea at Le St-James

My daytime job has kept me incredibly busy the past couple of months. I work in the telecommunications industry, mobile/wireless sales mostly. It's a dynamic and exciting field where I don't have time to get bored. I'm a people person and love interacting with customers. When I make a customer happy, I'm happy. These days, business has been picking up quite rapidly which means that I've been struggling to maintain that same level of customer satisfaction. But my body is smart and always manages to let me know when to slow down, take a break and decompress. It won't hesitate to scream at me : "Woa, woa, 'minute là!' stop and breathe!".

We all need to live a healthy and well balanced life. To do so, we owe it to ourselves to listen to and be conscious of the little messages our body sends us. It's not hard like a lot of us would tend to believe. It's simple. Listen to your body. Let everything go. Learn how to do absolutely NOTHING just for one day, even for a minute. Treat yourself.

This brings me to sharing with you how I pampered myself last Friday after an insane week at work;

Spending an entire afternoon having tea at Le St-James, a luxurious hotel in the heart of Old Montreal.

It was an excellent way to "disconnect" myself from the craziness of the day without traveling distances to a getaway resort. It works for me because it involved drinking some of the finest teas in the world, a relaxing setting, great conversation with the wonderful company of my dear friend Anne and of course, great food.

It was my first "English" afternoon tea experience which I found truly soothing, pleasant and fun. Only 2-3km away from my workplace, this hotel had the perfect "getaway" ambiance which made me feel like I was at an out-of-town spa resort.

We were both spellbound by the beauty of the The Grand Salon formerly known as the 'Bankers Hall', with its two mezzanines fit for an opera. Smaller alcôves are clustered around the room for intimate tête-à-tête. We were treated like special guests by the attentive and friendly personnel. It was like traveling back in time and having tea on the legendary Titanic.

From the moment we walked in The Grand Salon, we both knew we were going to enjoy this experience. We were ushered to a small and private tea room, one side opened to The Grand Salon and the other to a window viewing rue St-Jacques of Old Montreal. It was exciting. We each had our own beautifully upholstered couches facing one another and separated by a beautifully carved mahogany tea table, already set, waiting for us. Our attendant even offered us more cushions to be more comfortable. How indulging. We could have taken a nap if we wanted to!

I believe most luxurious hotels in big cities would offer Afternoon Tea service. If you ever come across one, please do try it out. It's an unregrettable experience. And believe me, you'll be mesmerized by the whole experience that 'work' won't even cross your mind. Oh, and make reservations to have the best possible seat and table.

Tea menu.

To start, a sublime chilled white porto, Porto Blanc, Offley Cachucha

Amuse-bouche : Fois gras, shrimps and caviar canapés
Refined teas: Pleine Lune (very aromatic and spiced tea)

Pear and blue cheese delight on seven-grain bread with cream cheese, chopped roasted nuts
Smoked salmon, lemon, lettuce, soft "viennois" style bread
Feuillantine of white bread with crispy cucumber

Petits fours

Fresh Berries with Crème Chantilly

A glimpse of The Grand Salon at Hotel Le St-James

As for the cherry on top, we were there but missed this by probably a fraction of a minute! All this entire time we were enjoying our afternoon tea, he was probably in his room maybe just 2 floors above us, getting ready for his big gig at the Montreal Bell Centre that same night. If we had walked in a little earlier or left a little later, we could have been amongst the screaming crowd, or probably having a deep meaningful conversation with him at the main entrance. One can always dream.

Oh, well, they don't call it 6 degrees of separation for nothing.

Old Montreal right outside of Le St-James


Cynthia said...

It really is rejuvenating isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Cynthia,
Quite rejuvenating indeed. I would do it again very soon!

Kajal@aapplemint said...

A perfect way to de-stress. The tea cucumber sandwiches look so cute.

Anonymous said...

What lovely pictures, you really captured the moment... It did feel like we escaped the 'real world' for a few hours. I am glad that we were able to enjoy afternoon tea together.

Véronique Meunier - Triathlon said...

J'ai bien ri en lisant le woa woa minute-là!!!
Tu as capturé un très beau moment.
Et, en effet, les petites bouchées de luxe ont l'air appétissantes!