There are a number of Colorado specific traditions that long-time Coloradans love to share with people new to the state. Some of those traditions include: watching the cattle parade during the National Western Stock Show, taking your kids to Casa Bonita for cliff diving and sopapillas (not for the food), and driving through Rocky Mountain National Park every fall to watch the Aspen leaves turn colors.
One lesser known tradition is taking high tea (or afternoon tea) at the Brown Palace Hotel, Denver hotel to Presidents, and a lovely architectural reminder of Denver’s past as the Queen City of the West.
For those of you who’ve never enjoyed high tea and think of it as a quintessentially English activity…it is! And, it’s also wonderful. And, I have to admit, that every time I go for high tea I love it even more. This month had the good fortune to go again with a friend who recently visited Denver from New York.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit the hotel, pop in just to check out the main atrium area. It has a vast main area illuminated by beautiful chandeliers that hang from overhead. Many people bring loved ones to tea for a lovely afternoon of talking, savoring, and enjoying each other’s company.
On my last visit I enjoyed The Brown Palace Signature tea which is comprised of finger sandwiches, scones, and tiny desserts for $40 a person. Many people wonder if they will get full off of the finger sandwiches (they are tiny) and other tiny offerings and yes, you do.
High tea is a nod to what feels like a more refined time in history. It is a great excuse to dress up and have an experience of breaking bread, conversing, and enjoying the company of wonderful people in your life.
It’s not necessarily a quiet experience as there is a pianist who plays throughout the meal but it definitely adds to the ambiance.
Afternoon Tea is offered Monday through Sunday from 12:00-4:00 pm. Reservations are recommended as there is a limited amount of space. For those of you who are wondering if you should bring kids? Yes! As a special treat or opportunity to dress up and have a unique experience with the adults in their life. Because it’s not an inexpensive experience, you may want to consider if your child is old enough to enjoy and understand the whole experience.
Finally, every time I’ve gone for high tea it always takes longer than I expect. Anticipate that you will spend 2-hours slowly enjoying lovely cups of coffee served in china, smearing Devonshire cream on as many scones as possible, and talking about any and everything.
The Brown Palace staff offers attentive and friendly service without being overbearing and help to educate first-timers on how (and what) to order. Afternoon tea is one tradition that I look forward to enjoying for years to come, and I hope you do too!