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GOURMET TRAVEL: The Carolina Inn, Chapel hill, north cAROLINA

In the words of Miss Little Luxie aged 6 … ‘This is the loveliest place I have ever been, I wish we could stay here forever’.

The Carolina Inn is a place of beauty, sitting proudly like the Southern Belle she is, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We were visiting the Inn for Afternoon Tea - a southern tradition, and just as the hotel’s décor and style combines traditional with modern style, so do their Afternoon Tea menus.  Bringing two little girls for their first experience of a traditional Afternoon Tea, we chose the appropriately named ‘Little Princess’ tea.  Thankfully the hotel anticipated the mix of children and adults wanting a refined experience and children are served their tea in the light and airy hotel lobby as opposed to the intimate tea room.

The menu was delicious. The first plate was a selection of savoury sandwiches, such as cucumber and cream cheese, while the Princesses at the table loved their own plates of peanut butter and jam and grilled cheese sandwiches. Next to be served were freshly backed scones with jam and Devonshire cream and sweet treats including delicate cupcakes and macaroons.

The most popular however was a final course of delicious chocolate covered strawberries. The vintage feel of the tea & its menu is further added to by the eclectic mix of vintage crockery and tea cups, which have been collected over time by the hotel’s owner. The tea menu was wide ranging but of course, considering our location, I opted for a fruity Blueberry tea named ‘Carolina Blue’.   Children are served pink lemonade is their very own china teapots which of course were popular with the children.


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The service at the hotel was impeccable - as it should be at such a well-respected hotel, but what made it stand out was our tea hostess’s attention to our two little luxies.  Our server made excellent small talk with Miss 6 about her finest party dress and took the time to inform her about the ritual of Afternoon Tea, while understanding what Miss 3 needed and what was needed to keep her (and therefore us) happy - serving her lemonade in a sippy cup was much appreciated.

Of course I enjoyed the delicious tea, but the two little princesses were always going to be the harshest critics. Their Verdict? An overwhelming success - Little Miss 6 can’t understand why we ladies can’t spend every day drinking tea and eating delicate scones… while Little Miss 3  can’t stop talking about those delicious Chocolate covered Strawberries.

LUXURY LINKS: www.carolinainn.com


A special mention must be made to a dietary request we placed the day before the tea. One member of our party has a gluten allergy. Half expecting to have to forgo half of the menu it was a very pleasant surprise for a plate of gluten-free sandwiches, with the same fillings as the main stand, to be brought discreetly to our table. 

Sarah Bryans 15/7/15 

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