Boulder, Colorado’s St. Julien Hotel & Spa combines afternoon tea and philanthropy with its annual Gingerbread Tea. Children get to experience afternoon tea while being part of a good cause.
Each winter holiday season the Gingerbread Tea raises money for a local charity called There With Care, which helps families and children who are facing critical illnesses. The St. Julien’s owner is passionate about tea and has hosted the Gingerbread Tea every year since the hotel opened in 2005.
The four-star hotel has elegant décor and a casual inviting atmosphere.
“We just want to have a good ambience for good conversation,” said director of banquets David Stutz. “It’s also a first step for children to learn etiquette.”
The Gingerbread Tea is held in the hotel’s ballroom for four Sundays, starting just after Thanksgiving and continuing into December. Two table seatings occur each Sunday at noon and 2 p.m.
The ballroom is decorated with at least three Christmas trees. A trio consisting of a piano player and two string musicians plays Christmas music on a stage in the center of the room. The tables featuring holiday-inspired centerpieces surround it. There is also a life-sized gingerbread man cut out, at which the There With Care volunteers take and print pictures of families.
Every child gets a gingerbread man cookie to decorate at icing and candy stations. There With Care volunteers assist the children as needed. For an additional $20 dollars, gingerbread houses can be purchased to decorate, which families enjoy doing at their tables together. Proceeds from the gingerbread house sales go to There With Care.
The children also get a gingerbread man tote that has a child-sized chef’s hat and an apron inside.
Attendees can choose from a selection of teas by Tea Forté.
“I think we’re going to be doing some new, exciting, fun stuff this year,” said pastry chef Mark Metzger, who likes to get creative for the Gingerbread Tea and put a holiday twist on the sweet items. He and the staff pride themselves on making everything fresh in-house. Metzger added, “We always try to do things that will put a smile on people’s faces. It’s not just about putting something in the oven and making it taste great.”
Metzger will also make gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan versions of pastries if given prior notice.
The Gingerbread Tea costs $35 dollars for adults and $19.95 for children. For $38.95 a glass of prosecco is included in what they call their Celebration Tea. The hotel caps reservations for the Gingerbread Tea at 150 and often has a waiting list of 50 to 100 people.
The St. Julien also offers Afternoon Tea year round every Saturday with a cellist in the Onyx private dining room of the hotel’s restaurant, Jill’s. “We always have live music,” said Stutz. “It adds an element of elegance to the experience.”
The hotel also hosts a Valentine’s Day Tea and a Mother’s Day Tea, after which every mother gets a rose.