With the exception of an imminent Houston Astros World Series celebration (fingers crossed), the grand opening bash at the new downtown C. Baldwin hotel may very well turn out to be the party of the year in Houston.
Celebs? Check. Models? Check. Raucous entertainment? Check. The brass at Brookfield Properties, which has reimagined the former Doubletree at Allen Center, pulled out all the stops to christen the hotel named for Charlotte Baldwin Allen, known as a savior of early Houston.
And what a party for dear Charlotte. The chic crowd of more than 2,000 rounded off a veritable society checklist. Houston Texans star and style stud DeAndre Hopkins and muscular man-about-town, Whitney Mercilus, made surprise appearances, joined by a bevy of their teammates, including Justin Reid and DJ Reader. Guests were greeted by the McNeese State University marching band, comely check-in models, and Insta-worthy backdrops including a wall heralding the phrase, “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”
How else to celebrate urbanity and girl power? Why not disco diva Gloria Gaynor, who was flown in for the party. Gaynor brought the house down with “I Will Survive” and other classics. She was joined by The Suffers, The Dolls, and DJ Shante.
Social mavens Lynn Wyatt, Becca Cason Thrash, Vivian Wise, and Elizabeth Petersen showed up. The business world was well represented by Texas Medical Center CEO, Bill McKeon; Gow Media CEO, David Gow; Downtown District/Central Houston head honcho Bob Eury; BMW West general manager Maria Moncada Alaoui; and Paloma’s Maryam Naderi.
Houston rapper Slim Thug and Willie D were in the house, as were foodie favorites Dominick Lee of Poitín, Riel’s Ryan Lachaine, and mixologist Linda Salinas. Media was repped by TV talent Linda Lorelle, Ernie Manouse, Isiah Carey, and Miya Shay. Some of Houston’s brightest performing arts stars showed up in the form of Houston Ballet principal dancers Harper Watters, Oliver Halkowich, and Chun Wei Chun; the Alley Theatre’s Brandon Weinbrenner; and Houston Arts Alliance president, Leigh Smith.
Hip influencers and scenesters Lauren Craft, Matt Johns, Jose Solis, James Glassman, Saba Jawda, Kara Smith, Jonathan Beitler, Michael Chabala, Neera Patidar, and Amanda Abiassi stopped by as well.
Adding to the buzz was rock star chef Chris Cosentino (who has just opened his highly anticipated restaurant, Rosalie Italian Soul). Cosentino oversaw the copious amount of tasty bites that seemed to magically appear at every turn, flowing as fast and easy as the endless supply of libations.
The new C. Baldwin boasts stylish accommodations and common areas; state-of-the-art meeting and event spaces; the aforementioned signature restaurant Rosalie Italian Soul; the soon-to-be open beauty retreat, Paloma; and experiential boutique, Sloan/Hall.The modern design was brought to life by internationally renowned Lauren Rottet of Houston-based Rottet Studio, as well as award-winning Kate Rohrer of Philadelphia’s ROHE Creative.
As for the hotel: C. Baldwin’s guest rooms and suites are outfitted with modern décor and boast floor-to-ceiling windows. Premium rooms and suites on floors 15 to 20 provide views of the city and the surrounding Allen Center. Original portraits of Houston women with flashy cars shot by local photojournalist Elizabeth Conley adorn the walls. Select corner rooms are even outfitted with Peloton cycles.
Missed the party? No worries: The hotel’s circular lobby bar – complete with show-stopping chandelier – is sure to be a hot downtown gathering spot.