In my hunt for great Christmas gifts this year, I looked into experience days as an alternative to physical items. There are experience day vouchers available for pretty much everything imaginable, so you can treat loved ones to an experience that they will truly enjoy, no matter where their hobbies and interests lie. While I was exploring the many, many experience options available online (there are literally thousands) Red Letter Days got in touch and kindly offered to send me a gift voucher for a Champagne afternoon tea for two at Manchester’s five star Hotel Gotham. I was thrilled to be able to test out the whole gift voucher process myself, and the afternoon tea I was able to sample was perfection. Here are a few notes on how the experience vouchers from Red Letter Days work, and the afternoon tea!
Experience Days from Red Letter Days – how it works
Red Letter Days offer an enormous amount of experiences, and it’s easy to filter them by location and type on the website. Once you’ve picked out the perfect thing for your recipient, you can send them their voucher via post or email. My voucher was sent via email (hooray for paperless) and it contained all of the information I needed to get my experience booked in, and in the diary. In my case, all I needed to do was give Hotel Gotham a ring and tell them I had a voucher to redeem. I then picked a date and a time for my reservation, and that was it – it really couldn’t have been more simple. When I arrived on the day of my reservation, I simply showed the receptionist my voucher email.
Afternoon tea at Manchester’s Hotel Gotham
Despite living in and around Manchester for over eight years, Hotel Gotham wasn’t on my radar as it’s neatly tucked away in a spot that, while very central, is just off all of central Manchester’s main shopping streets. It’s just a couple of minute’s walk from Piccadilly Gardens and Manchester Central Library, and it’s a jaw-droppingly gorgeous building that transports you back to the roaring twenties from the moment you see it.
Visiting in December made the whole experience all the more special, as the whole hotel had gone all out with Christmas décor. The front door was bedecked with such a glorious display of festivity that it wouldn’t have been out of place in New York. As my husband and I entered, we were greeted with a doorman who directed us to where we needed to go to find the Honey restaurant, and it quickly became clear that the whole hotel had been expertly decorated from top to bottom.
As soon as we arrived at the front desk of the Honey restaurant, our coats were taken and we were led to our table where we were introduced to our server for the afternoon. The restaurant is on the sixth floor, and the views are better than any others I have experienced in the city.
While I’m usually more excited about the food aspects of an afternoon tea, on this occasion, my husband and I were both giddy about the tea situation. Neither of us are tea connoisseurs, but the way the selection of loose leaf teas was presented to us was brilliant. Our server brought along a wooden box, not dissimilar to a cigar case, which was full of little jars of loose leaf tea. We could look at each tea, have a smell, and read extensive descriptions of the offerings in the menu. It’s entirely possible that this attention to detail can be found in many other afternoon tea experiences, but it was a first for me!
After choosing to try Silver Tips loose leaf tea, Champagne was brought to our table and we were able to take in the stunning Christmas décor while listening to a selection of light classical music provided by a wonderful live pianist.
Our food quickly arrived and our server talked us through every aspect of the afternoon tea – as we were visiting close to Christmas, the afternoon tea had a festive theme and included turkey sandwiches, Christmas pudding profiteroles, and tiny red velvet cakes that looked like Christmas trees.
Everything was delicious, and we thoroughly enjoyed every single bite. Our server was attentive and generally lovely – he made sure we had everything we could possibly need.
I finished off the experience with a Hotel Gotham specialty – a white hot chocolate complete with raspberry puree and freeze dried raspberries. This was a sumptuous combination of flavours and the perfect way to finish off a lovely couple of hours of luxury food and drink!
The whole experience was just wonderful and in all honesty, if someone gifted me this, or any other afternoon tea experience, I would be absolutely thrilled. This is something that I will remember for years to come as we had such a nice time, and the memories of the day will last much longer than a physical thing.