Decorated with garlands and glittering with lights, the Hilton Fort Collins hosted its second afternoon of the Holiday Tea yesterday, offering what visitors said was an elegant experience with tasty cuisine.
Earlier this year, the Hilton introduced its High Tea to their monthly schedule, a formal tea held the third Thursday of every month from 1 to 4 p.m. every month in its restaurant.
“We’ve been really excited about this new opportunity,” said Gail Arnett, who is in charge of reservations at the Hilton.
During the holiday season, the Hilton has extended the dates for the Holiday Tea, setting three dates throughout December, spending a few more days to celebrate the season and display holiday decorations for a longer amount of time.
“We already have such beautiful decorations up,” Arnett explained, “so we thought, why don’t we take advantage of this?”
The symphonic orchestra and Silver and Satin women’s choir from Blevins Junior High School, invited by the hotel, served as the event’s musical guests and played holiday music in accordance with the festivities.
Brian Floyd, the director of both music groups, said he felt the day’s performances offered the students the chance to showcase their talent for the public.
“This is a great opportunity to show the community what our kids our doing,” he said. On Thursday, Dec. 18 the girl’s choir from Moore Elementary are next to perform at the Holiday Tea.
Kelly Moniz, the Hilton restaurant manager, has organized the tea for three months and said she loves the event.
“It provides an opportunity that no one else in Fort Collins really offers at this point,” Moniz said. “This tea is a great way to relax and have a wonderful time.
“It’s also a very leisurely event. There’s no rush here. If you want to stay an hour, you’re more than welcome to.”
Nearly 70 people were expected at the Thursday afternoon tea, Arnett said, which is significantly higher than their average attendance of 40 to 50 people throughout the year.
Of those who come, most are Fort Collins residents, though some church programs and business groups reserve a spot, Arnett said.
For most residents, they said the high teas have become a way to keep in touch with friends.
Long-time friends and coworkers Judy Mckenna, Wendy Douglass and Dorothy Martin were there for just that reason as they shared memories over a cup of tea.
All retired employees of CSU’s Cooperative Extension, the women attended the high tea in October and returned Thursday for a few hours of talk and laughter together.
“We really enjoyed the event a few months ago,” Martin said. “I think this is really a niche market that no one else has worked with yet.”
“There’s something social about having tea,” Douglass said.
Mckenna followed, saying that this was “a very nice touch to offer here in Fort Collins.”
“We’re really just a bunch of tea drinkers,” Martin said with a laugh.
Staff writer Alexandra Sieh can be reached at email@example.com.