Cloud 23 at the Hilton Hotel Deansgate is a spectacular experience. With views across the whole of Manchester and the chance to spot your own house or favourite Manchester venue on a clear day, it is a stunning location for a special celebration or just a treat for yourself. With the Christmas period in full swing, Cloud23 is now offering festive afternoon teas until the end of December. Jemima Forbes ventured up Manchester’s tallest building to see if it really was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Cloud23…
Opting to go on a Sunday, perhaps the venue’s busiest day but with an extra special treat, we were greeted by the sound of live carol singers belting out tuneful Christmas classics. Immediately getting into the spirit of the holidays, we were led to our table on the west side of the building with views towards Castlefield, Media City and Salford.
The venue itself is understatedly glamorous and is now fully decked out with silver and gold decorations for Christmas. The afternoon tea itself began with a glass of champagne while we enjoyed the scenery, carols and hot drinks from a large list of tempting choices. The drinks menu includes a large selection of global teas and coffees as well as sweeter alternatives. Deciding on the rich hot chocolate, the milk chocolate version came topped with cream and popping candy- an unexpected but not unpleasant joyful twist to this chocolatey favourite. The white chocolate version was similarly delicious and not so sweet as to spoil the spread of delicious savoury and sweet snacks that arrived on an icicle-themed tiered tray.
With a selection of savoury sandwiches and tarts as well as sweet treats, visitors are spoiled for choice by this festive twist on the traditional British afternoon tea. The open stuffing and cranberry sandwich was vividly reminiscent of eating turkey and stuffing sandwiches on Boxing Day and the warm mushroom duxelle tart had a subtle but delicious taste.
More of the festive theme was seen in the sweet options with colourful candy canes, a stollen and a mulled wine jelly topped with brandy cream representing classic and contemporary versions of Christmas favourites. I also enjoyed the mini macrons and the chocolate mousse covered madeleine cake that was not too sickly but full of flavour.
As I visited the stylish and relaxing sky bar on a Sunday, the afternoon tea was the champagne option and had some slight alterations to the normal menu. I wasn’t able to taste the whisky infused hot chocolate or the bespoke white port, lemon, pear and spiced ‘White Blizzard’ cocktail that accompanies the Winter Wonderland afternoon tea, but they sound as if they would perfectly compliment the Christmas spread.
If you book your afternoon tea for a Sunday you’ll receive a glass of champagne to sip on in style as you listen to a group of talented carollers. After finishing your delectable treats and enjoying panoramic views of Manchester from all four sides of the building, why not continue your festive afternoon by wandering a few minutes down Deansgate to the Christmas markets? The Cloud23 afternoon tea is the perfect way to enjoy Manchester in the run up to Christmas and should be a definite addition to a full day of present shopping any day of the week!
For more information and to book your festive afternoon tea, check out their website at: