Party of the Year?

Hottie hunk in a tub serves martinis, girls go wild at travel biz confab blowout

Hottie hunk in a tub serves martinis, girls go wild at travel biz confab blowout

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Martinis prepared by a hunka hunka love in a bathtub were a major hit with female guests. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The lighted dance floor in the Hobby Center foyer changed configurations as the music changed. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The pipette food wall of salads was a hit with guests who had never before seen such a thing. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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David Cordua and Deborah Elias were the power forces behind this travel industry bash. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The acrobat suspended from the "champagne chandelier" dispensed bubbly through much of the night. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Every floor of Hobby Center was decorated in a creative format -- here a nightclub look. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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A garden of cheese delights (figs with blue cheese, apples and cheddar, etc.) grew beneath a tree at one buffet table. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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David Cordua and Michael Cordua strolled the party scene with pride. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The lighted dance floor followed the steps of hip hop entertainers. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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The build-your-own paella station provided a yummy taste sensation. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Cotton candy martinis -- Grey Goose Vodka poured over cotton candy made for a tasty libation. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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One of 12 food stations -- here fish and chips and mini sliders delivered sustenance for the late-night action. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Love that silhouette thing on the dance floor as seen from a balcony. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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News_Biz Confab Party_dance floor
News_Biz Confab Party_snack wall
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News_Biz Confab Party_champagne girl
News_Biz Confab Party_party scene
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News_Biz Confab Party_dance floor
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News_Biz Confab Party_dance floor

We're pretty sure that around 800 of the National Business Travelers Association conference attendees didn't make it to those breakfast meetings Wednesday morning. Tuesday night, they were partying at the Hobby Center like there would be no tomorrow — or at least, no work the following day.

Mark it up as the Houston party of the year — at least to date — with enough innovative adult entertainment to keep the sophisticated travel throng entranced for hours. Deborah Elias of Elias Events, which organized the party, finally had to pull the plug on things at 1 a.m., a full hour after the posted end time. 

Really, why would anyone want to leave the "Let Us Entertain You!" bash that boasted a living champagne chandelier, a buff martini bartender serving from a bathtub, Cordua Catering's wildly creative offerings including the inventive pipette food walls and a light-motion dance floor that continually pulsated to the DJ spins. The party spread across the Hobby Center foyer, into Artista, up to the Founder's Salon and even higher up to the Gallery with each floor offering a new amusement.

Thank you BCD Travel, Skyteam Global Airline Alliance, Fairmont/Raffles/Swissotel, Travelport and Enterprise Holdings — sponsors that sprung the big bucks for the invitation-only blowout. Elias promised "things you've never seen before in Houston" and she and her team, that included party designer Darryl Murchison and J&D Entertainment , delivered.

The "champagne chandelier" was actually a woman suspended overhead from, well, a chandelier of sorts. Throughout the first half of the evening, she poured bubbly into the glasses of astonished guests. Later in the night, it was cognac. 

While partygoers grazed through a feast of food and drink stations, 12 in all, highlight of the food maze was the collection of pipette food walls. Cesar salad, melon and prosciutto, and Greek salad were each offered on tiny pipettes which you squeezed to release the dressing inside as you slipped the ingredients into your mouth. 

David Cordua in formal chef attire kept a watchful eye on the party scene which he had envisioned as a "Hall of Mirrors" fantasy. Thus, the dry ice stations for mojitos and martinis, the "cotton candy" martinis and martini glasses with lighted stems. Lobster corn dogs, a crepe "spin" station, build-your-own paella, a cheese garden, fish & chips, mini-sliders, cupcake carousels, baby lamb chops served from a "smoke box" — the Hobby Center was transformed into a carnival of taste treats.

Add numerous musical groups, a tattoo station, a star-in-your-own-music-video station, a costume photo booth and a parade of costumed space-age characters (jugglers, stilt walkers, etc.) and you get the picture of one pulsating party.

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