Frills, flowers and cold, empty eyes?
Olivia’s Dollhouse Tea Room is like no other in town
Sat, Apr 10, 2010 (2:30 p.m.)
Photo: Laura Davis
Discreetly tucked away at the corner of Tropicana Ave. and Sandhill Rd. lurks a teahouse like no other in town. Like no other in the state, for that matter, and it doubles as either a child’s greatest fantasy or an adolescent’s worst nightmare.
At first glance, Olivia’s Dollhouse Tea Room may seem innocent enough, but on the inside is revealed a party palace only the Mad Hatter could appreciate — or a little girl who’s never seen any of the Child’s Play movies.
The modest exterior of Olivia’s has kept the private party house off the radar of many locals for seven years now. Opening the door reveals all the things you’d expect to see in a child’s fairytale picture book — a statue of a dog dressed as a butler holding a platter of tea, giant colorful butterflies and fluffy stuffed animals. Taylor Swift’s “You Belong To Me,” plays overhead a bit too loudly. Pink flowers and frills are everywhere you look, and the heavy scent of air freshener fills your nostrils. But that’s not even the most overpowering aspect of this tucked away teahouse. That would be the porcelain dolls lining the walls, staring at you with those cold, empty eyes.
- Olivia's Dollhouse Tea Room
- 3742 East Tropicana Avenue
Of course, little kids love that sort of overindulgence, making this the perfect place to house the birthday party of Olivia’s average customer base. “Most [of our customer’s] ages are from three to 10,” explains the Las Vegas installment’s manager, Tonya Holyoke. There are seven “glorious,” as they say, other locations in California.
The appeal to the young birthday girl is that she literally can be treated like a queen for a day. Well, at least an hour or two, depending on the package you buy.
“The first thing we do is crown our queen,” explains Holyoke of the average tea party’s process. “Then we'll have them come into the dressing room and we do their hair, makeup and nails. Then we’ll line them up for a fashion show and we take their picture.” The queen doesn’t just rule the roost during her parties, she gets to try out life as a pseudo-celebrity, too. And, of course, the queen gets the throne. In this case, an actual cushioned throne, complete with flowers sprouting out the top, that’s situated at the top of the heart-shaped table.
“We’ll do a tea toast, [and] we’ll say happy birthday to the queen,” continues Holyoke, adding that the queen gets a bell she can ring to, uh, summon the staff should she have any pressing needs. Like more pink lemonade.
While there are those adults drawn to the teahouse — Holyoke says they do get the occasional bridal party and baby shower — the features that make Olivia’s so special can only be fully appreciated by those still dreaming of Never Never Land. In which case, what a dream it is.