There are all sorts of tea parties. There was the Boston kind which wasted a great deal of good English tea, but got the message over. Then the political kind, whose movement now sails under another name. Extraordinarily, this year I have attended two of the finer gatherings of ladies which have actually served tea.

I have been gifted each year to a special birthday treat by my two daughters. This year’s birthday celebrations culminated in a lovely high tea at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel.


The Fairmont is one of the fine old historic hotels in San Francisco, and has been featured in many films and television shows. Nearly completed, but nearly destroyed in 1906, at the time of the great San Francisco earthquake, it was rebuilt by Julia Morgan, who was also famous for building William Randolph Hearst’s castle San Simeon, down the coast a bit.

The hotel was ready for occupancy by 1907 and business has been brisk ever since. One of its attractions is the Tonga Room, with its Hurricane Bar, a historic tiki bar. It features a bandstand on a barge which floats in a former swimming pool, a dining area built from parts of an old sailing ship, and artificial thunderstorms. In 2009, the owners announced plans to close the Tonga Room. In response, a group filed an application to make the Tonga Room an official San Francisco landmark. I’m happy to say that Dr. A and I, in our hey-day, sat under the thunderstorm a few times. Great fun.

The Venetian Room was where Tony Bennett first sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in 1961. A statue of Tony Bennett was unveiled outside the Fairmont in August , 2016, in honor of his 90th birthday, the performance and the song’s history with San Francisco.

As if we three ladies weren’t giggling enough, we were joined by my granddaughter, who flew in from London, and a sneak attack from her brother. Oh yes, they also served tea.


22 comments on “MY TEA CUP RUNNETH OVER

  1. Sounds like a wonderful birthday tradition made even better by the grandkids popping in. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a wonderful time. I was recently in San Francisco for a writer’s conference. I should have visited the Fairmont Hotel. Next time, I guess. 🙂


  3. Sitting under thunderstorms sipping tea sounds a lot of fun. Do guests carry umbrellas while under this storm? Does this hotel have thunderstorms on the menu?


  4. Yes, I was wondering if they had something stronger than tea. We got grandsons over for Easter and made so many pancakes, I have to lie down.


  5. Oh to be in the Venetian Room and hear Tony Bennett sing that song in 1961!


  6. I can remember a few visits to the Fairmount, Kayti, and it is a grand old hotel. It sounds to me like your family spoiled you properly! Good for them. –Curt


  7. What a lovely birthday treat. My daughter has treated me to high tea at the Empress Hotel, so I have an idea of what your experience was like. 😊


  8. What a special treat to have high tea at the Fairmont Hotel!!
    That is where my parents were married and where Ron and I spent our first night of marriage. In those days, the first night was a big deal. Ha!! Today, young couples have been celebrating their first nights for years before they marry.


    • It’s one of the lovely old hotels in the City to hold a celebration. I hope it never changes. It does people good to partake of old tradition. We were dismayed to see a few (very few) young people dressed inappropriately as they came to tea. Perhaps tourists. Ha Ha. I knew your parents were married there, and nice that you and Ron started your married life there.


  9. What a fabulous day. I’ve seen the Fairmont, but never been inside. I think a high tea there would be absolutely wonderful. Quite apart from the atmosphere, the tradition and history, and the sheer beauty, lucky you to have family show up unexpectedly. Every time I read one of your “local color” stories, I think perhaps I did leave a teensy part of my heart in San Francisco!


    • San Francisco, along with all other big cities, has changed, and in many ways not for the better. But it’s not only nice, but important to keep old traditions alive. I began life in Los Angeles, but there is nothing save perhaps Catalina, which holds traditional memories. A traditional memory to me is remembering days when people dressed up and used their party manners. I’ll look for your heart next time I’m there.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That sounds like a perfectly lovely and very special celebration.


  11. Sounds like my kind of tea party!


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