Society / Featured Parties

Houston Power Couple Follows George Clooney, Takes Over White Lotus Villa for Beyond Special 50th Birthday Party

Three Nights Of Celebrations That Include Royalty, Italian Opulence and Plenty Of Good Friends

BY // 08.10.23
photography Giuseppe Ippolito

George Clooney had just checked out of Villa Tasca in Sicily when talented interior designer Bill Stubbs and his partner Kurt Grether took over the historic residence, featured in HBO’s The White Lotus, for a soirée celebrating the birthday of Stubb’s son Chad Stubbs.

Amal and George Clooney had been in Sicily for makeup mogul Charlotte Tilbury’s 50th birthday celebration. No small coincidence, it was Chad Stubb’s 50th birthday as well.

Gala evening at Villa Tasca in Sicily for Chad Stubbs 50th birthday celebration (Photo by Giuseppe Ippolito )
Gala evening at Villa Tasca in Sicily for Chad Stubbs 50th birthday celebration (Photo by Giuseppe Ippolito )

While the Clooneys booked the lavish Contessa Suite for a brief holiday, the Stubbs entourage visited for an evening that began with cocktails at sunset on the magnificent terrace overlooking the villa’s 20 acres of lush gardens. A six-course dinner followed in a grand salon, replete with historic trompe l’oeil frescoes and exquisite Murano chandeliers, all part of the glamor of the Renaissance Italian architecture of the villa. Following dinner, the clutch of 50 friends and family moved back to the terrace for birthday cake and a video tribute to the birthday boy.

The celebration spread over three days with evenings in the grand palazzos and lunches at open-air seaside restaurants.

“The first night was Palazzo Raffadali hosted by the fabulous Principessa Stephani Raffadali, who is 90 years young and filled with funny stories and a zest for people and new things,” Bill Stubbs tells PaperCity. “Kurt and I became acquainted with her during our last trip to Sicily a few years ago.

“This palazzo is beyond fabulous, commissioned in 1468, Palazzo Speciale Raffadali added the Raffadali surname in the 17th century when Eleonora Speciale married Prince Raffadali.”

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Bill Stubbs with Principessa Stephani Raffadali at Palazzo Raffadali for Chad Stubbs 50th birthday celebration (Photo by Giuseppe Ippolito )
Bill Stubbs with Principessa Stephani Raffadali at Palazzo Raffadali for Chad Stubbs 50th birthday celebration (Photo by Giuseppe Ippolito )

Evening two of the Sicilian adventure, the group gathered for cocktails at Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi, where they were welcomed by Princess Carine Vanni Calvello Mantegna di Gangi. The palace, according to CulturalHeritageOnline.com, is noted for the “magnificence of its rooms, for the integral preservation of the interior furnishings, and for its extraordinarily grandiose layout.”

Moving on, the group had dinner in the grand ballroom of Palazzo Alliata with Principessa Signoretta Alliata serving as hostess. The room with a frescoed vaulted ceiling is most noted for its stunning 19th century Murano glass chandelier that has 99 arms, said to be the largest ever made by the master of Italian glass.

Chad Stubbs' celebration Sicily included dinner in the grand ballroom of Palazzo Alliata which boasts an 18th century Murano glass chandelier with 99 arms, said to be the largest Murano chandelier ever made. (Photo by Giuseppe Ippolito )
Chad Stubbs’ celebration Sicily included dinner in the grand ballroom of Palazzo Alliata which boasts an 18th century Murano glass chandelier with 99 arms, said to be the largest Murano chandelier ever made. (Photo by Giuseppe Ippolito )

The finale saw the group entertained at a seaside lunch, hosted by Bill Stubbs’ daughter and husband, Courtney and Dr. Robert Hunter, at the five-star Hotel Villa Igiea in Palermo. This is the same hotel that the group called home for those three magnificent days.

How did this Houston couple arrange for such lavish partying?

“A few years ago, we went with a group of friends who are members of Leaders of Design Council,” Bill Stubbs notes. “The trip was planned by Lani Summerville, who introduced us to the amazing Palazzo’s and the royal families that are entrusted with them.

“When Chad decided Sicily was where he wanted to celebrate, we called Lani who reached out to the various families to see if they would host us again.”

Chad Stubbs was born and raised in Houston and currently lives in New York where he is executive vice president of Moet Hennessy (LVMH).

A final note from Bill Stubbs?

“I spent my honeymoon in Italy over 50 years ago and my ex-wife Dian Diamond (Chad’s mother) and I found it very amusing that we are together here again 52 years later celebrating our son,” he says.

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