Splendid afternoon tea at Lilianfels – Katoomba, Sydney

Splendid afternoon tea at Lilianfels – Katoomba, Sydney

Lilianfels - with cake tower


On a recent trip to Sydney, Australia, a group of us enjoyed a superb afternoon tea at the elegant boutique hotel in Katoomba (north of Sydney, in the ‘Blue Mountains’) called Lilianfels.

Gentle readers, it was fantastic!  We were a party of eight. Following a rather grueling but rewarding three hour hike down Giant Staircase, across the valley “floor,” then up the vertical railway – so cool! – then across the clifftop along the Prince Henry Cliff walk.

Best. Hike. Ever. Never disappoints.

We went up there on a very hot day, Wednesday 29th Dec 2010. Katoomba very populated by the masses — we even saw a drop bear !!! ( LOL – a fellow was hiding behind a rock to scare his family walking behind us – hahaha!)

We also saw an echidna and a brown snake !!! Lots of bell birds etc — gorgeous.

So, one of the advantages of ending up at Lilianfels afterwards was that you can walk there from the Three Sisters (same street) so we didn’t have to move our cars. (And we had been lucky enough to find two good spaces when were arrived around lunchtime.)

Lilianfels - cake towers

What can I say? Fantastic high tea — more food and dainty cakes that you can handle (we took many home) — I thought the finger sandwiches (aka sambos) were the best, especially the egg salad.

Instead of tea, I ordered what was a decent latte (may have cost extra, but I don’t think it did. Kids “spider” and fancy juice did, I think.)

Scones were plump and fluffy — there’s never enough cream (but I was so full anyway, I couldn’t even eat the second scone).

Delicate cakes and macaroons looked gorgeous. There was a little lemon pannacotta served in a shot-glass, as well.

Service is FIVE STAR. Wonderful staff. Now, bear in mind they did not have a record of my booking, made about three weeks previously from LA for a party of 12. I called the day of to pare the rez down to a definite party of eight and that’s when I got the alarming news. Panic!! Well, they seated the eight of us in a gorgeous group of lounge chairs — no problem whatsoever.

The also brought us a complimentary glass of champagne for all the adults. They said at the time it was because the food was taking so long but I am pretty sure it was because of the booking mess-up as the manager came and spoke to me on our way out to apologize. I took that opportunity to I rave about the exceptional service.

No one batted an eye that we were all a bit red-faced and sweaty and in hiking clothes and shoes. We all washed our faces in the fancy bathrooms and made ourselves fairly presentable for a simply divine afternoon tea.

Highly recommended.

$45.00 pp;   $65.00 if you want unlimited champagne. Worth every penny.


Blue Mountains Resort and Spa

Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba
New South Wales, Australia
Tel: +61 (02) 4780 1200
Email: [email protected]

Review by Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


  • I love high tea! Your review reminds me Caelum in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, where tourists and locals alike flock to sample pastries like chocolate cake with acorns and acorn liqueur, honey cake, apple cake, etc. There is a cute gift shop area where you can take home sweets made by nuns throughout Spain!

  • Can’t talk… mumble…. mmmmmmmm… drool… too.busy.eating.high.tea…

    My fav was the egg sandwich…


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