A day of culture. Art and afternoon tea. It’s difficult for me to think of a better way to spend a day. And Wilmington, Delaware, has just the answer. After my recent trip to the Brandywine River Museum of Art, I headed down to downtown Wilmington. Only a short drive away from the museum is the historic HOTEL DU PONT. The luxurious hotel serves up afternoon tea that will spoil and delight. It’s a day to savor and enjoy.
It doesn’t take long to become impressed by the HOTEL DU PONT. Even those unfamiliar with its legendary reputation for luxury will soon get the picture once they step inside the lobby.
History of HOTEL DU PONT
Opened in 1913 by then DuPont Company president Pierre S. du Pont (who you may be familiar with as the founder of Longwood Gardens), it was one of the first high rises in the city of Wilmington. The city’s downtown area around Rodney Square is full of historic and important buildings. The Brandywine River is less than a mile away.
But the hotel is perhaps the most impressive of them all. The grandeur and lavishness of the Italian Renaissance building is everywhere. An elaborate and colorful wooden ceiling and massive stone carved door frames — and that’s just the lobby. Elsewhere, the Gold Ballroom is hard to believe. Covered in elaborate carved wood paneling and a large chandelier. It’s a reminder of artisan craftwork that we see so little of these days. Needless to say, the hotel lives up to the hype.
To get a taste of the finer things in life, even just for an hour or two, I recommend afternoon tea at the hotel’s Green Room.
Afternoon Tea at HOTEL DU PONT’s Green Room
The splendor from the lobby spills into the Green Room. It’s like walking onto the set of Downton Abbey (or whatever your preferred period drama is). Drapes hang over huge windows overlooking Rodney Square and wooden paneling adds details to the walls and ceilings. The only thing missing was someone sitting at the piano playing some quiet mood music.
The service for afternoon tea at HOTEL DU PONT matches the furnishings. Formal, professional, and very attentive. Even with the leisurely pace, the server who attended my husband and me made sure nothing was missing.
Traditionally afternoon tea is comprised of a selection of canapes, scones and a selection of pastries. HOTEL DU PONT does not deviate from this. However, they do a few things differently. The restaurant changes the afternoon tea menu frequently. Each month has a different set menu that is fresh and seasonal.
For July, the theme for afternoon tea at HOTEL DU PONT is berries. This started with Strawberry Patch, a Yerba Mate based tea, and Wild Blueberry, delicious teas blended locally by Levitea. The delicate canape course included bites like truffle egg salad filling buttery, flaky miniature croissants and microgreens added a pop of color and freshness on top of carefully rolled slices of smoked turkey on white toast with cranberry mayo. My husband declared the egg salad the best he’d ever had.
Meanwhile the scones — a classic cream currant scone and a strawberry white chocolate scone — were served warm. And, uniquely, with a lemon cream as an accompaniment as opposed to the standard lemon curd. The scones were perfection, avoiding the common pitfall of being too dry. The strawberry white chocolate scone was on the verge of oozing goodness — like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.
And the pastries. Oh, the pastries. Miniature crème brûlée with fresh raspberries, bite-sized lemon tarts topped with berries, berry coffee cake and a super smooth chocolate raspberry mousse cup were some of my favorites. The chocolate-dipped HOTEL DU PONT macaroons were unlike any macaroon I’ve ever seen with the coconut hidden inside the coin-sized cookie. Any baker knows that berries can be tough due to the extra moisture, but the pastry chef at the Green Room is clearly a serious professional.
Let me assure you, no one has ever left an afternoon tea hungry.
Afternoon tea at HOTEL DU PONT’s Green Room is served daily with a reservation at 3 pm and 3:30 pm.
HOTEL DU PONT offers valet parking. There is also a public parking garage across the street on the corner of 11th and Orange Streets. Alternatively, there is limited street parking around the hotel.
Thank you to the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau for hosting me! All opinions, as well as all photos, are my own.