Situated across from Santa Anita Park on West Huntington Drive in Arcadia, the newly opened Le Meridien Pasadena Arcadia pays meticulous attention and homage to the residents and history of the surrounding San Gabriel Valley community. At Longitude 118, the hotel bar and lounge, their unique high tea and highballs cocktail program combines a traditional high tea with Asian flavors.
A nod to the Le Meridien brand’s European heritage, the afternoon tea serves a fresh take on the traditional cocktail hour. The menu offers a choice of classic High Tea, Champagne Tea and Highball and High Tea, which includes premium hot tea, a full menu, a caviar canapé, and Hibiki Harmony Highball. Available Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there’s also a special Junior High Tea for pinkie lifters from ages six to 12.
The diverse selection of blended and hot teas includes Hong Kong-style milk tea with black tea, evaporated milk and brown sugar, Jasmine matcha milk tea with honey and almond milk plus oolong caramel, English breakfast, earl grey and yin zhen.
Starting with the savory, the finger sandwiches take a welcome detour from the usual classics. In addition to a salmon cucumber roll, there’s a perfect lobster and egg salad tartine as well as shiitake mushroom with aioli and a strawberry with mascarpone sandwich. Scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream come in matcha and regular.
Sweetest of all is the generous selection of petite pastries, starting at the top with a taro cream-filled mochi with salted egg yolk, a light cloud of divinity that practically floats onto your plate by itself. Rounding out the tiered tray are vanilla red velvet mini cupcakes, rich matcha chocolate truffles, ginger crème brûlée and French macarons. On special occasions, you may find traditional Dango mochi balls on a skewer in sakura, green tea and regular flavor on the tray.
Part of the cocktail program, there are craft cocktails from inspired tea-infused spirits including a Fuchsia Fascinator, a mix of El Jimador tequila, nuit d’ete hibiscus tea-infused syrup and yuzu as well as the Show Pony, which combines Suntory Toki with matcha green tea, honey and ginger.
Le Meridien Pasadena Arcadia’s Art Collection Tells Its Story
In addition to the ways in which the classic European and modern Asian elements fuse in the cuisine, the overall aesthetic of the hotel as expressed in its elaborate and bespoke design and art elements. The hotel itself embodies a fusion of cultural atmospheres — a luxurious visual scheme of peacocks, Paris, and a day at the races that pays equal homage to the owner’s love of haute couture (specifically Le Meridien’s historic relationship to the Hermès brand), the history of the site with its wild peacocks and famous racetrack, and the important Asian presence in the contemporary Arcadia community.
From the sprawling glass mural by Ron Dier that presents like an abstract painting but resolves into a monumental peacock tail, to the David Ellis murals in the dining room combining Chinese ink painting with aerial topography and wind in a speeding horse’s mane, and a suite of large-scale Mark Garry works merging abstract painting with vintage street maps of Paris, at every turn there’s another visual derived from global and local histories.
French illustrator Serge Bloch’s charming original works on paper, celebrating the fashionable fun of grand hats for Derby Day, Cari Guerin’s classical line drawing of an Andalusian pony on meticulously stitched and gold-leafed tea bags and a number of magical, mysterious paintings by William Attaway including both equestrian and aviary spirits are just a few of the impressive works on site that create special, intimate art experiences at every turn.