Price: $$$ 25-35 per person Would I go back: Yes Reservations: Recommended
Afternoon tea is held in the Oak Room on the main floor of the Palliser Hotel. They only have afternoon tea on Saturdays as on Sunday is when the have their brunch. Like all afternoon tea places, I would recommend booking ahead especially if you have a food allergy so they can prepare the food to your dietary needs. Plus they don't advertise afternoon tea on their website so sometimes they may not have this service available call ahead to make sure they have afternoon tea available.
The Oak Room is a lounge like the Rundle Lounge in Banff Springs it is nicely furnished with dark wood and old Victorian style decor which sets a nice atmosphere. I've been here twice for afternoon tea and they've seated us in nice big comfy arm chairs. Unfortunately, unlike the Banff Springs Hotel, Rundle Lounge it is lacking a view of ..... anything really. But also unlike the Rundle Lounge they don't have busy resorters going in and out of the establishment so it's all afternoon tea goers that are there during the afternoon tea time slot. This is still an upscale bar lounge though so one will see a bar area in the Oak Room where one is having tea.
Unlike the Rundle Lounge though the service here are on the ball of things. Both times I've been here they knew the reservation name right away and already have a table ready. As mentioned in one of my reviews I have a peanut allergy and both times I went they remember right away that one of the member of their guests have a peanut allergy. Which the chef had made a special tray with peanut safe delicacies. On one occasion they had only one tray as it was a small group the server informed of which on the tray I can have and brought me a separate dish with some pastry and treats specially made for my peanut allergy. The waiting staff was friendly, attentive to our needs and walks through those that are first time experiencing afternoon tea. Since the Palliser does not advertise they have an afternoon tea there was not special blend made for that hotel but the the waitress had a full selection of teas and can recommend types of tea based on a person preference in flavours. There is no being forgotten here after the three tier tray comes out the waitress comes to check on you to see if there is anything else you may need, bring you more hot water or a fresh pot of tea.
The food on the tray was good. In fact I would say it's better than the Banff Springs Hotel. There weren't just finger sandwiches, there were other savoury pastries as well. There were scones with yummy devonshire cream and jam but there weren't a big selection of types of scones but more than at the Rundle Lounge. The pastry and treats were not lacking in creativity like at the Rundle Lounge and there weren't all nanaimo bar like treats, in fact I was quite impressed with their selection they had and the attentiveness to my food allergy that they made me special treats that were safe. As I mentioned earlier since it's not an advertised afternoon tea with Fairmont they don't have their special Fairmont blend tea but they still have a nice selection of tea available. Which you can try a different tea when the server comes to refresh your tea.
In all the food was good and much more creative than the Rundle Lounge in Banff Springs Hotel and the price of $25 you pay for this afternoon tea experience is more worthwhile than to trek all the way to Banff unless you want that scenery. This is no fine dining top of the class afternoon tea but you have attentive servers, good food, and it's worth the amount you paid.