Where were you last Thursday night? If not at C. Baldwin, downtown's highly anticipated new multi-million dollar hotel, you just might have missed out on the hottest party of the social season.
The 354-room Curio Collection by Hilton hotel—named for Charlotte Baldwin Allen, the heretofore unsung "Mother of Houston"—is technically 182 years in the making. It officially opened October 10 to major fanfare, drawing nearly 2,000 guests for a boisterous bash that included surprise performances from Kam Franklin and the Suffers and, later, Gloria Gaynor, who thrilled the crowd with her preeminent disco anthem "I Will Survive."
What did not survive? A single trace of the DoubleTree, which previously occupied 400 Dallas Street. Gone are all the forgettable trappings of your standard chain hotel; in their place, an entirely reimagined, one-of-a-kind space with modern and stylish decor inspired by (and for) trailblazing women. Internationally renowned, Houston-based designer Lauren Rottet brought the space to life along with award-winning Kate Rohrer of Philadelphia's ROHE Creative.
Party-goers were greeted by the McNeese State Marching Band; inside, jet-set DJs The Dolls and Shanté maintained a lively soundtrack.
Houston's dynamic diversity was on full display in the guest list, which spanned everyone from socialites and CEOs to rappers and NFL stars to boxers and ballerinas. Lynn Wyatt, Becca Cason Thrash, Slim Thug, Willie D, Whitney Mercilus, DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Reid, Miya Shay, Isiah Carey, Harper Watters, Chris Brown, Bill McKeon, Vivian Wise, and more all rubbed shoulders over the course of the evening.
Guests also got a first taste of Rosalie, the property's Italian-American restaurant from celebrated chef (and Top Chef Masters winner) Chris Cosentino, named for his great-grandmother. No one went hungry thanks to Cosentino, Rosalie executive chef Sasha Grumman, and C. Baldwin food and beverage head Charlie Skipsey, who kept the crowd sipping and snacking all night. Offerings included signature cocktails (a delectable purple vodka-based concoction called the Dalai Mama was a hit) and comforting Italian favorites like wood-fired pizza, fried mozzarella balls, and heaping individual bites of pesto pasta twirled around forks.
The party spread throughout the two-story space, from the lobby to the double-story lounge to Rosalie's bar, The Parlour, plus the outdoor green space where guests had their fortunes told in the form of rapid-fire poetry. Inside, Shannon Hall and Marcus Sloan also opened the doors to the onsite location of their beloved boutique, Sloan/Hall. Local non-toxic nail salon Paloma also has a hotel presence.
All told, we think Baldwin would be proud.