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“1st Experience Was Wonderful, 2nd Was a Bust!”

The French Room at Taj Boston
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Ranked #841 of 3,273 Restaurants in Boston
Price range: $30 - $50
Cuisines: American, European, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Cross street: Newbury Street
Transit: Green Line - Arlington
Description: Taking Afternoon Tea in this elegant chandeliered and mirrored setting with opulently draped windows overlooking fashionable Newbury Street is a Boston tradition. A harpist plays and a sense of gracious conviviality prevails, while guests sip their tea amidst original paintings, sculptures, high-backed upholstered chairs and inviting sofas.
Reviewed April 28, 2012

This review is for the afternoon tea at the Taj. I've done the Taj tea twice, and my first experience was excellent. However, I went for my birthday in February, and was sorely disappointed.
They offer 2 and 4 pm seatings, and the 4 pm one (little late for tea, no?) was the only seating with availability, 2.5 weeks in advance. The Taj is great with decor and ambience, the tea room is what you'd imagine when you picture ladies-who-lunch going to tea 100 years ago. Lots of gilt, white linens, tufted chairs and of course, the violinist puts it right over the top (when I went the first time, they had a violinist AND a harpist, which was delightful).

Though we had a reservation, we still had to wait, and the staff seemed utterly confused as to what they were supposed to be doing. We were finally seated by an overly-enthused staff-person, then served our tea, sometime later. They offer four options, The Taj Royal, which includes tea sandwiches and profiteroles, the Duchess, which only includes tea and sweets, a Traditional Cheese Tasting, and a Children's Tea. Menu is available here: http://www.tajhotels.com/Luxury/City-Hotels/Taj-Boston-Boston/PDF/Afternoon-Tea-Menu.pdf. I ordered the Taj Royal.

The waitress plopped the teapots down willy-nilly, with no indication of to whom each pot corresponded, and we found ourselves rearranging the pot-warmers and pots trying to get them all in the right place. I have a shellfish-allergy, so asked them not to include the lobster profiterole in my serving, and replace it with another item from the tea. They took it upon themselves to also remove the salmon/caviar tea sandwich from my tea and not inform me, and it wasn't until later that I realized I'd been cheated (I would've complained at the time, had I known). The cucumber/cream cheese and egg salad sandwiches were ok, as was the pumpkin madeline and (very sticky) french macaroon. The opera torte was to-die-for, and chocolate-covered strawberries are always great!

Their major failing was the staff. My best friend had brought a cake and special candles for my birthday, and provided it to them, to bring out after our tea. Halfway into the tea, I see our over-enthused greeter emerging into the room with my lit cake, and the violinist began playing "Happy birthday." He walked 10 feet into the room, looked around confusedly, then turned and left. 20 minutes later he returned, with different candles (the others my friend had brought had melted down during his first attempt), another round of happy birthday from the violinist, and he walks right past our table where we're staring at him expectantly, places my cake on a table full of 12-13-year-old girls (with their mom, who said nothing!) next to us, and one of them blows out my candles! Great. Tween-spit all over my cake. My best friend summoned the greeter and inquired if they'd just given our cake to a table full of strangers. He looked mortified, went back to the girls' table and took the cake back JUST before they began cutting it, and took it back out of the room. Another round of violin "happy birthday," a new set of generic candles, and the cake finally made it to our table (brought by the greeter's replacement).

We all waited for a while for a staff member to come over and apologize, offer some sort of compensation, but nothing happened. Eventually, one of my guests went to talk to management, after which they brought our table complimentary glasses of champagne (I had a pregnant guest at my table, and several others who don't drink). I really would've preferred they offer us the value of our cake instead, or something all of my guests could enjoy. Sigh. I e-mailed The Lounge about my experience, which they ignored. The tea is very expensive ($38.00!/person) so I expect superior quality/service. I'll hesitate to go back to the Taj after this.

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2  Thank DaraC F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TajBostonManagement, General Manager at The French Room at Taj Boston, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback, and for joining us a second time for Afternoon Tea at Taj Boston. We are thrilled you enjoyed your first experience, and we sincerely apologize that your second visit did not exceed your expectations.

At Taj Boston, our Afternoon Tea in the French Room is meant to be a luxurious and unique experience to remember. We take feedback very seriously, and work to make all necessary improvements with each review. One request has been a change in tea times, which have changed since your February visit. We now offer Afternoon Tea at 1:30pm & 3:30pm Friday-Sunday. We also do our best to ensure our guests can enjoy Afternoon Tea by limiting the number we take. For this reason, we tend to fill up rather quickly and encourage guests to make their reservations as early as they can. We know that this is not always possible, so to allow for more reservations, we have expanded our room to allow for more guests and also added Friday tea service.

Unfortunately, we were not performing to our usual standards on this day. We take all feedback very seriously, and we are grateful that guests like yourself report any issues you face. On behalf of the Hotel, I would like to sincerely apologize that the entirety of your experience was not perfect. I have sent your feedback to the rest of the Management team, and will ensure that these issues are addressed and avoided in the future.

Kindest Regards,

Taj Boston Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 - 43 of 54 reviews

Reviewed April 21, 2012

It was an oven; they were unable to control the temperature in the room. Everyone in our group and at the tables around us was uncomfortably hot. Average food, miserable heat. I won't be back

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
3  Thank AT135
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2012

Great service, large windows to people watch or if you prefer, have a sip of wine by the fireplace.

1  Thank oneLmichele1111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2012

I expected much more for the Taj. The service was just okay. The food was also just okay. I wasn't wowed by anything really. I much prefer the Bristol Lounge to the Lounge at the Taj.

1  Thank RIBluebird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2011

Very comfortable and relaxing with great service. You would think it would feel stuffy, but it is anything but. It has a nice fireplace and large windows for people watching.

Thank Jeff P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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