Needs A Hotel When You Can Retreat To A Multimillion-Dollar
Texas Lawyer, April 1999
view from the 32nd floor of the Wells Fargo Tower
in Houston might be a remarkable one, but exotic it isn’t.
It pales in comparison to the panorama that Mike Rogers, an
associate with Gardere, Wynne, Sewell & Riggs, saw while
vacationing at a house in Bali, Indonesia last June.
Putih is situated on five lush acres overlooking the cool
blue ocean. Surrounded by tall trees and tropical foliage,
the structure stands as a treatment to traditional Balinese
the spacious lower-level, marble lays wall to wall in the
open pattern of customary Indonesian floor plans. Rooms flow
into one another with few wall partitions. Tropical hardwood
covers the bedroom floors and accentuates the Chinese and
Mediterranean antiques that blend well with the Balinese rattan.
is listed as one of the 50 most beautiful homes in the world
by Architectural Digest and is among
the many locations offered as retreats by a Houston travel-consulting
firm, Tour of Enchantment. The company, owned and operated
by Gregory Lee Patrick, provides multimillion-dollar private
residences as part of its all-inclusive tour packages.
celebrity homes are also available as vacation getaways, among
them the luxurious homes of Mick Jagger and Princess Margaret
on Mustique Island, Francis Ford Coppola’s house in Belize,
and Randy Travis’ Hawaiian homes and Jane Seymore’s castle
in England. Patrick is perhaps most proud of a vacation he
arranged for several high-ranking government and military
officials to stay at Princess Diana’s family home, Althorp
Castle, 10 days before her fatal car accident.
few lawyers have time to vacation, for those that can afford
it- packages begin at $3,000 per week and can go as high as
a quarter of a million dollars for two weeks these tours
are worth the money.
Nations, a Houston solo practitioner, traveled with his family
to Jamaica in 1997. They spent just over a week at a 10-room
were so many rooms, we didn’t use them all,” he says.
Villa Mahogany, is situated on an acre and a half of tropical
gardens, overlooking the private Half Moon Bay. The furnishings
and Persian rugs add to the elegance of the dark mahogany
floors and architecture of the interior, designed so the heavy
shutters open, allowing the breeze to sweep through the house
and out over the veranda.
lies in an area rich in luxury. Nations says he jogged through
an opulent neighborhood lined with mansions every morning.
You might say he has a penchant for mansions- he recently
purchased the historic Sterling Mansion in downtown Houston.
Vinson & Elkins partner Joe Allen also traveled to Jamaica
a few years ago. Although the company operates several homes
there, he also stayed at the Villa Mahogany. The house, he
recalls, sat atop a hill overlooking the bay, a golf course
and the ocean.
was beautiful, lush and tropical, with flowers and shrubs,
Allen says. Nations also praises the landscaping of the villa,
recalling the mornings he spent eating fresh fruit on the
other end of the world, the company operates castles throughout
Europe. Humewood Castle in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains is
among the most enchanting 18th century homes the
company offers. A gothic-revival structure, the façade is
draped in pure granite and is set, in some places, with original
stained-glass windows. Flanked by two lakes, the estate stands
before green hills indicative of the country.
square foot interior reveals arched ceilings, dark wood moldings
and furnishings in deep, rich hues of yellow and red. The
castellated home evokes notions of chivalry and nobility,
and is equipped with a staff to infuse the feel of royalty.
architectural havens, Tours of Enchantment supplements a full
staff to pamper clients. Among others the company provides
a chef, bartender, maid and masseuse.
says the home in which he vacationed was staffed with an entourage
of people. “There were 24 servants there waiting on us hand
and foot,” says Rodgers “We even had a ballboy when we played
tennis,” he says.
provides butlers at the agency that staffs Buckingham Palace
and the Savoy. And clients have a driver at their disposal
for the duration of the stay, a helpful extra added by the
tour, according to Rogers and Nations.
and kitchen staff are hired out of Europe. “They have no budget….and
get to create their own menus,” says Patrick. “They get to
be true artists,” he adds.
chefs prepared meals for Roger and his guests in Bali. He
says “they cooked the most wonderful meals.”
like having your own five-star hotel,” he adds.
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