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Credit: Flickr / tizbarb

The iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver now provides a gluten-free afternoon tea

The historic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver gets current with a scrumptious gluten-free afternoon tea

I have a confession. Other than popping into the lobby of the Hotel Vancouver to show it off to out of town guests, I’d never really been in that historic hotel.

I grew up hearing about it, as the iconic castle-like building has been a downtown fixture since it opened in 1939. And it seems that everyone’s parents had either honeymooned in one of the luxe rooms, or celebrated to the sounds of Dal Richards up in the suave Panorama Roof Ballroom (an incredibly cool space that these days is only available for private functions).

My guess is the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is like many of the celebrated things in our town that residents never get around to seeing. And that oversight was something I really wanted to correct. So when a friend casually mentioned the Fairmont offers a gluten-free afternoon tea, I was doubly intrigued.

Gluten-free Tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Fairmont Vancouver Hotel gluten-free tea
Maia excitedly studies the Fairmont's
treat tray (Image: Diane Selkirk)

The perfect opportunity to check out the tea (and the hotel) came when it was time to celebrate my daughter Maia’s 11th birthday.

Eleven-year-olds are very busy people and between school, sports, lessons and friends the opportunity to sit and listen to her as she chats about her life have been waning.

But afternoon tea is a meal that must have been invented with long lazy conversations in mind. And the Hotel Vancouver’s version of tea time, a towering tray of treats that are as gorgeous as they are tasty, is definitely a meal that encourages you to go slow and savour each bite.

Maia and I were settled into cozy armchairs for our tea. Across from us were an adorable bride and groom sipping champagne and nibbling on little cakes. Beyond them were an extended family, a group of friends, another mother and daughter duo and several other tables filled with people who seemed to be celebrating significant and noteworthy moments.

If all that weren’t enough to make Maia feel special then our awesome server certainly was. She walked Maia and I through our tea options (I stuck with the Earl Grey, but Maia decided to go with the recommended bubble gum, a sweet fruity herbal mixture that she loved) and when our tower arrived she explained our meal.

I was incredibly impressed by how tasty the gluten-free baked goods were. Even the scone managed to pass muster. Maia was shocked at how much food there was. We sipped and nibbled and chatted about life. Maia felt very adult, I had a chance to catch up with my girl, and we can now both say we’ve been to the Hotel Vancouver.

Tea is $38 per person and is served Monday to Sunday at 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. If you want gluten free, dairy free, or vegetarian (or have some other dietary need), be sure to mention it when you make your reservation. (604) 662-1900