WELL-MANNERED FRIVOLITY

We Spent a Night at Hogwarts at the Harry Potter Yule Ball

Can’t make it to Platform 9 ¾ this winter? No worries: Hogwarts has come to Houston.

By Claire Anderson and Rosemary Akpan November 30, 2022

Step into Hogwarts for a night at the Harry Potter Yule Ball.

It’s been 11 years since the final Harry Potter movie came out, and let’s face it: some of us are still missing Hogwarts. Well, ta-da! The Yule Ball has come to the muggle world at last, and you don’t have to fly all the way out to London—by plane or broomstick—to attend. Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration, a limited-run immersive experience co-produced by Warner Bros. and Fever, just premiered in three international locations (Montreal, Milan, and Mexico City), with Houston being the only U.S. city selected for the event. 

Whether you’re wearing full Hogwarts regalia (robes and scarves in your house colors), an evening gown or suit, or something more casual, you’ll be able to step into a true Hogwarts experience for a night. The venue, Paraiso Maravilla, located in the Galleria-area, is the true star of the show, with its rustic, castle-like setting decorated with sparkly Christmas trees, wreaths, chandeliers, and (of course) floating candles. 

“The venue really transforms the experience,” Kate Poueymirou, Houston’s Yule Ball producer (and self-proclaimed “Ravenclaw through and through”) said. “With Paraiso Maravilla being one of the smaller venues, there [are] a lot of different rooms, so it provides guests the option to explore more.” As an intimate venue, there are plenty of places to mingle, whether it be browsing through the cozy gift shop, mingling in the downstairs lounge, or taking in the dance floor view from the upstairs balcony.

The experience celebrates all of the Wizarding World through its decor, themed food and drink, and guests’ costumes. At the bar, you can order an authentic butterbeer or a Hogwarts house-inspired cocktail, like a Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, made with vodka, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and coconut water that will take you away to the Hog’s Head Pub.

The ball begins in elegant fashion, with the Hogwarts party hosts and prefects introducing themselves through a series of magical waltzes on the dance floor. The performers reappeared throughout the night to teach us a dance or two, emcee a fashion show where guests modeled their most spell-binding attire across the glamorous venue, and create some magic of their own in the form of an indoor snowfall to top off the events. “My favorite moment is when we make it snow,” says Poueymirou. “In Houston you don’t see snow often, so people always take their phones out, and there’s always ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’ and some claps. It’s a really nice send-off.”

 

Although the atmosphere of the event, largely thanks to Paraiso Maravilla’s fairytale venue, is truly enchanting regardless of what time you go (whether it’s the 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning slot, or a cool, starry night), the event information states that each session is an approximately two-hour event; for us, the party ended after roughly 90 minutes. For guests who arrived at the recommended 10 to 15 minutes early, they got (almost) a full night’s worth of activities—but be warned—by arriving on time or a little late, you might end up with a shorter night than you were expecting.

Tickets start at $59 for standard admission, and go up to over $100 for the Premium Pack, which includes a free drink and a Hogwarts house-themed gift. “This was meant to be an upscale, classy, elegant ball for the holidays, designed to be inclusive to all,” Poueymirou said. “You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to come and enjoy the Yule Ball. You can still be a part of it without having read all the books or watched the movies, and still enjoy the experience the same as everyone else.” 

If you can’t make it this year, there’s a possibility of the Ball returning to Houston (or other U.S. and international cities) next year. “That is definitely a discussion that we are hoping will continue,” Poueymirou said.

So, is it worth it? If you lean more muggle than witch or wizard, make sure you consider the price before you attend this unique immersive experience this winter; but if you already have your wand out, we by all means encourage you to join in on this magical new holiday tradition (or, once-in-a-lifetime chance) in Houston.

The Harry Potter Yule Ball runs daily from now through January 20, 2023. For tickets, visit Fever’s official website.

Filed under
Share
Show Comments