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Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas' elegant tea room

The Scrumptious One has had a hard time finding the holiday spirit this year – what with the 70-degree bright and sunny weather over the past weekend. But leave it to the hospitality geniuses at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas located at CityCenter to help find it, and by the sleighful.

If you haven’t been to the hotel’s impressive tea room located on the 23rd floor than this is the time throw on a scarf to set the mood and go for a visit. The festivity of the season abounds with special holiday teas featured on the hotel’s Classic English Afternoon Tea menu. Favorites are Mulling Spice which is a warm infusion of hot apple cider, Gingerbread House, which is a smooth tea of freshly dried ginger root, nutmeg, cinnamon, licorice with a mild finish of vanilla, and Nutcracker is Ceylon black tea infused with hazelnut and aromatic vanilla. And that’s just the beginning of holiday offerings at Mandarin Oriental.

Chef Santin's Gingerbread Pagoda

Pastry Chef Gianni Santin has outdone himself by hand crafting a gingerbread pagoda complete with a garland garnished bridge and sugar art bonsai trees that are the color of jade. While creating the six-story masterpiece that took him a mere eight hours, Chef Santin employed not only gingerbread, but also coriander, cinnamon sticks, and star anise revealing that, “If it can be made out of wood, I can make it out of gingerbread.”

The inspiration for the pagoda is of the Chef’s own imagination and was a result of spending 15 years living and working in Asia. He etched and painted each piece of gingerbread before it even went in the oven. “Once it’s out of the oven that’s when I bend it. That’s the tricky part, bending the pieces like the bridge and swaying rooftops, and not breaking them.”

The other magical part of your visit, if you go between 3 and 5 p.m., are the holiday carolers. The city’s premiere high school choirs are performing each afternoon through Friday, December 24. Dressed in period costumes of velvet capes and felt top hats, Yours Truly enjoyed the musical stylings of the award-winning Centennial High School choir.

Afternoon tea is from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and includes bite-size sandwiches of salmon cucumber and watercress, egg salad chives on brioche, curried chicken salad, and Black Forest ham and horseradish cream. There are also freshly baked scones served with Devonshire cream and housemade jams and preserves, and, of course, a selection of tiny, decadent pastries.

Between the pagoda, carolers and holiday-inspired teas, it’s a beautiful way to spend the afternoon and should be a holiday tradition you start this year.

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