A Family Escape for All Ages

August 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

By Laurette Veres

Photo by Laurette Veres

Families return to The King and the Prince Beach Resort year after year. Southern hospitality, great beach access, and expansive resort pools are just some of the reasons to love this escape. The resort is nestled along a beautiful stretch of beach on St. Simons Island, off Georgia’s coast. Travelers come from all over the world to enjoy this amenity-rich property.

Steeped in History

Frank Horn and Morgan Wynn opened this regal property in 1935. Fires, grand re-openings and Navy takeovers are part of this seaside tale. During the winter of 1942, German U-boats were sighted off the Georgia coast and the hotel became a radar training facility for the U.S. Navy. It reopened to the public in 1947.

The historic property has been lovingly restored throughout the years. From the stained glass windows to the portraits of King George II and Prince Charles Edward Stewart, you’ll note attention to history at every turn. The Ocean is the star here with most guests spending their days walking, searching for shells or participating in water sports. The beach is expansive during low tides; but only a sliver of sand is left to walk on when the tide rolls in. No worries, the luxurious pool area has two large pools and a kiddie pool; plenty of room to play and relax within the private, gated complex.

Fun for the whole family

Catch the St. Simons Colonial Island Trolley for a historic island tour or visit the shops in the village. Children under five are free at the St. Simons Lighthouse. Fort Frederica National Monument features ruins of an 18th-century town and a fort established to defend the southern boundary of Georgia against Spanish forces.

Golf

The King and Prince Golf course is about a 20-minute drive from the resort. The front nine holes meander through majestic oaks and around lakes in an upscale neighborhood that was once a cotton and rice plantation. On the back nine, golfers veer away from the neighborhood and take wooden bridges into the marsh. Four spectacular holes are situated on islands in the saltmarsh, teeming with wildlife, scenic views and challenges.

Dining

ECHO, serving classic coastal cuisine and handcrafted cocktails, is the island’s only oceanfront restaurant. Enjoy shrimp & grits and find out why the nutrient-rich waters of the Georgia coast create super tasty shrimp. The name pays tribute to the Hotel and St. Simons Island’s history during World War II. Radar was a new technology, and this hotel was the center of it all. The King and Prince bar was an after-hours gathering spot for soldiers, their wives and members of the local Civil Air Patrol.

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort became a member of the Historic Hotels of America in 1996 and it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. So,if you enjoy historic hotels and beautiful beaches, this is a great wedding destination.

For more information visit:

www.kingandprince.com

www.ColonialTrolley.com

www.SaintSimonsLighthouse.org

www.nps.gov/fofr

Kiwi Rising

August 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

By Laurette Veres

Photo by Laurette Veres

Most Americans dream of visiting New Zealand and— thanks to a new direct flight— those dreams can easily come true!

New Zealand is a commitment.The introduction of a direct flight to Auckland on Air New Zealand makes this commitment much easier for Houstonians. The flight is perfectly timed— leaving at8:00pm. Premium Economy seating includes hearty, and surprisingly tasty food. Air New Zealand has also smartly paired their food with delicious New Zealand wines. The flight also includes New Zealand Films, entertainment, and a high-tech, in-seat console allowing you to instant message fellow passengers. With all of these great accommodations, the fourteen hour flight literally flew by (pun intended).

Mentally prepare for it, enjoy a movie, take a nap, and you’ll be refreshed and ready to greet this beautiful country. The flight lands in Auckland, which is a great launch pad to tour this dynamic country.

The perfect start to a day in Auckland is to go up the SkyTower right in Auckland. Viewing this breathtaking city from 1,076 feet above gives you the chance to really see the expanse of the harbor and to get a look at interesting buildings and neighborhoods. I was there during the holidays, so the giant Santa on the side of a four-story building caught my eye.

I walked to the Langham Hotel and had time to tour the Symonds Street Cemetery. This was the first official cemetery in Auckland, which has been closed to burials since 1886. High Tea at the Langham is a great holiday tradition. Enjoy some bubbly before selecting from over 30 different tea flavors. I opted for the white blossom tea, a delightful blend of white tea handpicked from China’s mountaintops.

The lodge experience in New Zealand allows travelers to traverse most of the country, and see many facets of the land all the while enjoying five-star, luxurious service. Three well- known lodges are American- owned and offer distinct New Zealand experiences. All of them also offer stunning accommodations and first class food overseen by group Executive Chef Dale Gartland.

With their superb cuisine and an exceptional wine cellar, you’ll find yourself looking forward to drinks and canapés each evening before dinner. Many guests follow similar itineraries and it’s fun to see familiar faces as you compare travel stories.

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

Because there are no security checks or lines, inter-island flights are fast, easy, and carefree. First stop: Bay of Islands and The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs. This quaint lodge is set into 6,000 acres of farm, forest, and beach land. The Kauri trees here are anywhere from 700 to 900 years old. This slow growing tree was previously used to build houses and repair ships. Get to know the property by taking a guided quad-bike tour. Follow Malcolm from SeaToys around the property or see what it’s like to be a farmer with Farm Manager Jonathan.

Although I’m from Texas, I was up close and personal with more sheep and cattle on this excursion than ever before! Ride through the Pine Forest and livestock-filled paddocks while enjoying expansive breathtaking views of the Cavalli Islands and Pacific Ocean. Three private beaches and an on-property waterfall give you the opportunity for a quick swim. The Pink Beach is a great place for a picnic. It’s also a breeding ground for the Tuturiwhatu and other native New Zealand birdlife. Manuka honey is known for its healing qualities; so hop on over to the spa for a signature Manuka honey treatment.

Once a week a local dance troop comes to the property. While we sip on Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, the Kerikeri’s Kapa Haka’s authentic performance offers a glimpse into the area’s cultural heritage. The dancers mingle with the guests, inviting us to get involved in the performance.

Most of the fun is available right on property and with surroundings this luxurious, you won’t want to leave. However, some off-site options include Manginangina, a park where nature walks teach the story of the forest with its massive trees and lush vegetation. Here, see how the forest evolved from young trees to the mature established forest during a guided walking tour of the Puketi Forest. Barbara, from Adventure Puketi, can arrange a private or group tour for you. This is a great activity for team building, conferences, and weddings. The Marsden Estate Winery is also a picturesque place for lunch and a charming rehearsal dinner location.

From my balcony, which overlooked the golf course, I could see the Southern Cross constellation. It definitely made me appreciate the true wonder that is New Zealand.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

The town of Napier is unique simply due to its unique architecture. It’s one of the few cities featuring Art Deco architecture. The city was re-built after a storm at a time when Art Deco was popular. The land here at Hawkes Bay is extremely fertile making it perfect for ranching, farming, and growing wine grapes. It’s here you’ll find The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, another stop on your luxury lodge tour.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a working sheep and cattle ranch. It’s also a nature sanctuary with fencing around the property to protect the flightless kiwi from predators. The kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand, yet most locals have not seen one. (How many Americans have seen a Bald Eagle?) The Kiwi Discovery Walk is an excursion unique to this property. Two  full-time staffers are committed to kiwi protection tracking 130 kiwis each day. Join one of these experienced sanctuary guides as they monitor kiwi chicks previously released on the property. Get up close and personal as they check the radio transmitters and weigh and measure the birds to monitor their well-being. Finding a kiwi is not guaranteed, but if you’re lucky, you’ll hold one before this tour is over.

A great way to see the 6,000 acre property is to hitch a ride in a jeep as it traverses this vast terrain. You’ll grab the roll bar on this real-life roller coaster ride until you make it safely to the serene beach. You can also visit the shearing barn and learn about the crew of shearers who arrive annually. See vast terrain changes and end up at the largest, most accessible mainland colony of gannets in the world. The gannets have distinctive blue markings around their eyes and a pale gold crown. They are a slightly larger than seagulls. Visiting the colony, you’ll see adults and young nesting. Look closely to see eggs and chicks in various stages of development. You’ll be amazed at how close you can get! It was nothing less than a National Geographic experience. Visitors to the colony will see adults and their young nesting in rows, carrying out their daily routine.

The birds can be seen from September until early May when they leave New Zealand and fly for Australia. In September, they return and build their nests, ready for the hatching of chicks during December and January. Due to the migratory nature of the birds, this activity is only available from September through May. Designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak, the Cape Kidnappers par 71 golf course challenges golfers of all skill levels. The course is located above the ocean, providing dramatic cliff views. Avid golfer or not, this course is an absolute must.

We only left this property once and it was in search of wine. See the sights on a bike ride that starts, stops, and ends at various vineyards. Lunch at Elephant Hill winery was perfectly paired with the delectable food that they had to offer.

Matakauri Lodge

Just when you think New Zealand can’t get any better, you step foot into Queenstown and the gorgeous Matakauri Lodge. This is the crowning jewel in the trifecta of luxury lodges on our journey. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge stayed here. Need we say more?

Queenstown of New Zealand is the “adventure capital” where bungee jumping was invented. It’s also a cute town with great pubs, restaurants, and shopping. A few minutes from town is Matakauri— a picture perfect location on the banks of Lake Wakatipu framed by The Remarkables mountain range and Cecil Peak. Taking advantage of the view is an absolute MUST. The main lodge and each of the twelve separate guest suites feature a wall of windows that overlook the lake. Speaking of the view; soaking in the tub will become a nightly ritual. For dinner, the view is spectacular. You are surrounded by so much water, it looks as though you could be on a ship. The bounty is local and plentiful with a degustation menu carefully curated to pair perfectly with New Zealand wines.

If you’ve golfed at each stop in New Zealand, crown the trip off with an extreme golf experience like none other. Lift off with Over the Top Helicopters and enjoy a scenic flight over Queenstown before landing on Cecil Peak. Tee off from 4,500 feet at the world’s most picturesque golf course and enjoy a wine and cheese basket to celebrate!

New Zealand is a once-in-a- lifetime trip for many Americans. Why not mark it off your bucket list now and have a honeymoon for the ages?

ESSENTIALS

www.KauriCliffs.com

SEATOYS: www.hendersonbayrentals.com

ADVENTURE PUKETI: www.forestwalks.comwww.capekidnappers.com www.elephanthill.co.nz

TAKARO TRAILS: www.takarotrails.co.nz , www.matakaurilodge.com

OVER THE TOP HELICOPTERS: www.flynz.co.nz

Tantalizing Taos/ Mountain in Tamaya

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

By Laurette Veres

Photo by Laurette Veres

Just 135 miles from Albuquerque International Sunport and a short, 90-minute drive from Santa Fe, lies the sunny town of Taos, New Mexico. It’s here that you’ll find world-class skiing, hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, and mountain biking.

Taos is also a city steeped in culture and history. It is home to the country’s oldest continuously-inhabited Pueblo community.

In fact, many cultures blend together in Taos’ rich heritage including Hispanic, Native American, African American, Anglo, and more. The diverse cultural traditions that built this community are beautifully evident in the eclectic art and dining scene.

Other hidden gems include cultural sites like the historic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church (a National Historic Landmark), the downtown plaza known as “El Corazón de Taos,” not to mention a wealth of museums and art galleries.

New Mexicans have a tradition of inviting travelers into their homes and offering incredible hospitality. Bed and breakfast style inns all throughout Taos keep this tradition of hospitality alive. We started our B & B tour at Hacienda del Sol, which is situated on 1.2 majestic acres. The hacienda adjoins 95,000 acres of Taos Pueblo land with Taos Mountain. This stunning, picture perfect vista provides the ideal backdrop for an unforgettable wedding ceremony. We stayed in the oldest of three historic adobe buildings, constructed in 1804. Each morning we awoke to the aroma of freshly-ground, special blend coffee and a delicious breakfast in the air. This property is the perfect launch pad to explore the streets of Taos, or if you’d rather ski, head up to the Taos Ski Valley.

The big news on the slopes this year is the availability of the Mountain Collective Passes.

The Mountain Collective gives adventure seekers a two-day pass to 16 mountain resorts including Taos.

The legend of Ernie Blake, founder of Taos Ski Valley, is alive and well as people are newly-introduced to skiing and snowboarding daily at the Ernie Blake Snowsports School. It is often said that Taos Mountain has the ability to make you a better skier. Blake knew that a long day of skiing could improve your skills but it could also wear you down so, he planned ahead.

He buried martinis in Spanish flasks called Porrons at the base of certain trees along the slopes then marked the trees with a bow so skiers knew where to look. This tradition continues at the Martini Tree Bar where it’s always après ski time.

Also new this season is The Blake at Taos Ski Valley. The Blake, named for the Blake family, is an 80-room alpine guesthouse conveniently located next door to Lift 1 to deliver carefree mountainside adventures to its guests. If you’re looking for a unique wedding venue, The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant provides a beautiful backdrop to make your Taos wedding celebration even more distinctive and memorable.

We continued our bed and breakfast tour at the Casa Benavides Inn. This property, a complex of several converted buildings, boasts 37 rooms on the property. Each themed room has a different name and décor from “The Blue Lady Room” to a “Painted Desert Room.” Casa Benavides is conveniently located just steps from the main square in the heart of Taos and all it has to offer. We arrived mid-afternoon and were greeted by tea service and a plethora of sweet pastries. The rooms at Casa Benavides are quite spacious with heated tile floors and our large bathtub had a mountain view. Breakfast was spectacular— the homemade yogurt is perfectly sweet with coconut and cranberries, but be sure to save room for the homemade muffins.

Looking to be pampered? Just down the street from Casa Benavides you’ll find the El Monte Sagrado Living Resort, home to the The Living Spa. With a view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains; the Living Spa offers all modern spa amenities with New Mexican flair. The couple’s massage room features a high ceiling and a private bath and shower. Here, you will be pampered by some of the best therapists in the area. Don’t skip the “Sagrado High Desert” massage. This service blends indigenous plants such as cedar, sage, and ginger then crafts them into an herb- infused, body scrub treatment. Next, you are wrapped in an ancient sea-clay mask, which they say helps to “draw toxins out of the body.” After a quick shower, enjoy a gentle butter cream massage. When your treatment is over, enjoy refreshing coconut water in the outdoor garden.

Want some down-home, authentic New Mexican food? Head to Orlando’s New Mexican Café in nearby El Prado. Enjoy the outdoor fire and a margarita while you wait to be seated. Husband and wife team, Orlando and Yvette Ortega are consistently “Best of ” award winners for their Grilled Carne Adovada— a pork cutlet topped with their homemade Red Chile Caribe and fresh tortillas.

ESSENTIALS

www.taos.org www.skitaos.com 

www.taoshaciendadelsol.com 

www.casabenavides.com

www.elmontesagrado.com/taos-spa-resort-amenities

THE DRESSING ROOM WEST

by Owner, Christina Ferrara

In the heart to the Santa Fe historical district, a new retail concept is energizing the bridal business. Offering the thrill of a sample sale coupled with the exclusivity of private appointments, The Dressing Room West is a bridal boutique catering to the needs of today’s brides. “Everything here is off-the-rack,” says boutique founder Christina Ferrara. “You can take it home today.”

What a change from the typical bridal gown appointment! All gowns at The Dressing Room West are brand spanking new and direct from designers or designer warehouses. With this constantly changing, curated collection of discontinued or overstocked gowns, it’s the perfect boutique for the girl who finds it hard to visualize her perfect dress. If the dress fits, buy it. Nothing in the store is over $1,200. – LMV

WHAT’S TRENDING NOW?

“Gowns are featuring open backs and the sheer, illusion backs now. Also, sleeves are very popular” says Ferrara.

FERRARA’S TIPS FOR BRIDES

#1 Always have some sort of idea (about what you are looking for)

#2 Don’t bring too many people

#3 Have an open mind

 

Mountain in Tamaya

Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort

On the majestic Sandia Mountains of New Mexico, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa offers a picturesque setting for an extraordinary wedding or honeymoon getaway.

The Tamaya is located on the Santa Ana Pueblo, one of the 19 ancient pueblos in New Mexico. As you enter the property, the scenery is so breathtaking that you just might forget you are heading toward a luxury resort. In fact, The Tamaya blends right into its surroundings like a perfect painting with its pueblo-style architecture against the indelible Southwestern landscape.

In the main hotel, there are three glorious options designed to fit your unique wedding plans. For a smaller guest list, consider the Sunrise Amphitheater, a gorgeous flagstone area set against the canvas of the nearby mountains. The Sunrise is an ideal space for an outdoor ceremony particularly in the early evening. The light is just right for your closest friends and family to celebrate and snap unforgettable photos of your happy occasion. This outdoor space can seat up to 350 guests and the adjoining veranda can be set up for cocktails or act as a backup location in case of inclement weather.

For weddings during colder months or large groups, the versatile Tamaya Ballroom might be a better choice. You’ll love the dazzling chandeliers in this capacious yet functional room that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests.

Perhaps the most unique of these spaces, The House of the Hummingbird, duplicates the rustic charm of adobe pueblo ruins complete with views of the Sandia Mountains and the sacred Tuyuna Mesa. This space has it all; it is the quintessential New Mexican setting. This 8,600 square-foot multi- purpose venue can hold up to 300 guests. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom can make an unforgettable grand exit in a romantic horse- drawn carriage.

The Cottonwoods Gazebo and Pavilion seems so far removed from the hotel’s main property, you’ll forget you are at a resort. The gazebo and adjoining pavilion, located right on the Rio Grande River, is the ultimate space for an outdoor ceremony.

It features a unique indoor/outdoor ballroom that can host up to 300 guests for your ceremony and reception.

If you want to offer your guests a destination wedding with an authentic New Mexican flair, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa is the perfect option.

For more information on the Hyatt Resort:

https://tamaya.regency.hyatt.com

Pops of New Glimmers Old

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

By Stephanie DiCiro

Courtesy of Visit Mobile

The charming port city of Mobile, Alabama has a character all its own. Deeply rooted within its rich history are streets lined with live oaks and azaleas, time-honored traditions and a remarkable, enduring spirit, all wrapped up in a big dose of Southern hospitality. When you step into Mobile, it always feels like a celebration.

With over 300 years of history brimming with countless stories and traditions celebrated, Mobile can be described as: historic, cultured, celebratory, and above all, unique. Once known as the “Paris of the South”, Mobile has long been the cultural focal point of the Gulf Coast. Even a short visit will provide you with a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience you won’t find anywhere else in the Southern United States!

Recent revitalization in Mobile’s many historical districts provides a picture window to the past. The Steeple on St. Francis is one of old Mobile’s most inspired new event venues that has emerged from the hallowed halls of an old Methodist church.This vintage space holds history within its timeworn walls although it has been renovated and repurposed to host concerts, parties, and weddings. Couples are drawn to this space because it tells an interesting story while also providing the exceptional aesthetic of immaculate stained glass windows and intricate wood-working details. If you visit in the spring, be sure to hit the Mobile Historic Homes Tour. Ancestral homes, churches and house museums are open to the public for this two-day event to benefit the Historic Mobile Preservation Society.

Mobile holds the distinction of being the original and unsung home to the infamous Mardi Gras parade and celebration. Each spring the parade rolls through the historic streets of downtown with its elaborate and vibrant floats, flooding the streets with beads and pelting the townspeople with Moon Pies. This parade is a grandiose finish to the revelry of a two-and-a-half-week citywide celebration called Carnival! Carnival time in Mobile is a family-friendly time to attend balls, parties, and parades filled with non- stop celebration. In Mobile, the fun doesn’t stop on Fat Tuesday. The Mobile Carnival Museum captures the essence of the Mardi Gras legacy year round, with stunning displays of parade floats, elaborate, century- old costumes and a wonderful history lesson.

Everywhere you turn, Mobile is buzzing with creative souls displaying their amazing expressions of art. Much of Downtown Mobile and in particular Lower Dauphin Street or LoDa, as it is known, is a creative hub for artists to express their talents with studios, galleries and art centers showcasing everything from dramatic murals, contemporary sculptures and abstract paintings, to endless other types of artful creations. The Mobile Arts Council, located in the heart of LoDa, is an agency that partners with art organizations to bring events like the LoDa ArtWalk to the public. The outrageously popular LoDa ArtWalk brings thousands of people together to appreciate the latest in local art, music, food and culture. If carefully curated art is more your style, the Mobile Museum of Art showcases approximately 10,000 eclectic pieces from around the world and hosts exhibits, classes, programs and special events for the community.

The Saenger Theatre brings performance art to life in a historical theater experience; prestige, poise, presentation, and pizazz are all present when describing this glorious concert hall that has played host to local, national, and international performers. From classic and contemporary art, music and dance to luxury hand-made furnishings and homemade crafts, visiting these diverse local galleries and pop-up markets will be an unforgettable experience and will leave you with an enduring appreciation for the southern charm this quaint town has to offer! The arts community in Mobile is flourishing with countless creative and artistic activities and festivals to enjoy. Your calendar will be booked throughout your visit!

Hit the streets of downtown Mobile for some retail therapy where you’re sure to find a hidden treasure or two in one of the local boutiques! After a busy day of shopping, you can choose from a variety of delicious dishes sure to satisfy your taste buds. From the award winning seafood gumbo at Wintzell’s Oyster House to the locally sourced ingredients from the esteemed Kitchen on George, you won’t be disappointed with any food choice in Mobile!

If you’re seeking adventure, whether you take a Delta Safari for an up-close view of local wildlife or take an airboat tour across the picturesque Mobile- Tensaw Delta, Mobile is the perfect place for those of you who love the outdoor life. From boating, kayaking, and duck boat tours to a guided tour of the famous Bellingrath Gardens, this town has the total package for a weekend getaway full of adventure and excitement! Located in the heart of downtown, the Admiral Hotel

Mobile offers a lavish setting and modern conveniences for guests to return to after a leisurely day of shopping and dining. The Admiral has it all; deluxe guest room suites and two delightful dining options on- site, and just walking distance from everything this engaging town has to offer!

Perfect for a family weekend getaway, a romantic escape for two, or even a group of festivalgoers, Mobile attracts a variety of visitors because it provides an authentic experience you can’t find anywhere else!

ACCOMMODATIONS

www.mobile.org

www.theadmiralhotelmobile.curiocollection.com

www.mobilecarnivalmuseum.com

www.mobilesaenger.com

www.mobilemusuemofart.com

www.mobilearts.org

www.thesteeplemobile.com

www.wintzellsoysterhouse.com

www.kitchenongeorge.com

Robert North

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under North, Robert, Top Lawyers

Robert North | Property Litigation

North

Engineer-turned-attorney Robert North combines his 20 years of legal and technical training with a practical approach to problem solving to provide effective solutions for the obstacles impacting his clients’ businesses. From traditional real estate transactions to litigation, North and his firm counsel land developers, community associations and other landowners on all issues affecting real property, including: title conveyances; easements and land encumbrances; contract, warranty, fair housing, restrictive covenant enforcement, real property finance and security agreements; lien priority and foreclosure; landlord/tenant disputes; and legislation affecting landowner rights. “I always look at the impact of my client’s decisions not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term, so that today’s decisions don’t become tomorrow’s disasters,” says North.

Among Robert North’s many distinctions include being selected as an H Texas Top Lawyer in Real Estate for 2014–2017, as well as being named to the Texas Rising Stars list from 2015-2017.

Robert North
North Law, P.C.
1010 Lamar St., Ste. 1500
Houston, TX 77002
713-844-8030
www.northlawpc.com

Cabo is Calling

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

By Vicki Dill

Courtesy of Grand Velas Resort

After taking hundreds of pictures of breathtaking views and stunning scenery, I am heading home from the brand new hotel, Grand Velas Los Cabos, that just celebrated its grand opening in December I feel refreshed, tan and ready to book my next trip back to this luxurious resort that catered to my every whim!

Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, a honeymoon, an anniversary trip or just because you’re in love, Grand Velas Los Cabos will go above and beyond at every turn.

Upon my arrival, the smiling hospitable staff warmly greeted me by name. The bold entrance to the hotel features what appears to be a keyhole to a paradise of turquoise waters, purple gardenias and swaying palm trees framing a pristine blue sky. Checking in is stress free when presented with a refreshing welcome drink, a cooling towel and (the clincher) a welcome shoulder and neck massage.

Rooms are modern and sexy with rich, dark, wooden doors, sliding bathtub walls that open to the suite, and a mini bar filled with the promise of lively afternoons and seductive nights. Your own private butler is on hand to ensure that all of your needs are met. Soak up the expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, three infinity pools and the colorful gardens all from the chaise lounge on your own private terrace.

All-inclusive has never looked this good. Upscale, stylish, and award-winning are terms that best describe the dining experience at Grand Velas Los Cabos. With seven restaurants, in addition to several casual dining areas, you’ll want to stay as many nights as possible to enjoy the culinary genius at each unique Grand Velas establishments. The shining star of their gourmet restaurants, Cocina de Autor, was the world’s first all-inclusive resort restaurant to be awarded Five Diamonds by the AAA. Two Michellin Star Chef, Sidney Schutte, prepares meals that ignite your senses and really should be showcased in a museum of exquisitely presented fine food! For an authentic Mexican experience, Frida, a restaurant honoring Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, offers live music and contemporary dishes reflecting the traditions of Mexican cuisine. The French restaurant, Piaf, is romantic and evokes the feel of 1940’s Paris.

You can’t go home without eating at Lucca, their Italian/ Mediterranean restaurant, which is sure to leave you feeling full and happy!

The spa…wow–Just WOW! You begin your spa adventure with a guided hydrotherapy called The Water Journey. This tranquil area of the spa has a massive pool with several small coves. Each cove has a different type of water pressure, designed to massage your muscles and de-stress your body. There are waterbeds that elevate you with hydro pressure, and knead your joints and muscles as you relax. After that peaceful journey, you can add traditional spa treatments like the sauna, steam room, ice room and a series of unique showers. The steam room was a favorite. It features delicate lights that dim and change colors giving you a feeling of serenity. I had a Blue Agave Candle Massage; something I had never experienced and thoroughly enjoyed. A multitude of services are offered and the Grand Velas Spas are among The Leading Spas of the World. It would be easy to spend your entire vacation at the Grand Velas Los Cabos Resort. Spend a dreamlike day at one of the three infinity pools. Keep cool at the swim-up tables and bar and enjoy sipping the specialty drink of the day. The service is attentive, the beverages plentiful, and the menu is perfect for poolside dining. In addition, Grand Velas Los Cabos offers many activities to keep you engaged. There’s poker, darts, water aerobics, bingo, Ping-Pong, and a fully loaded fitness center with classes. There’s also a kids club and a teen club that even the adults will find entertaining.

If you are a person who likes to take in the sights, there are countless ‘once in a lifetime’ adventures available in Cabo! Situated at the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, the Los Cabos region is well known for deep- sea fishing and seasonal whale watching, but also boasts a lively nightlife. Cabo Adventures is a leading tour and activity operator dedicated to providing memorable experiences for vacationers in Cabo. I was lucky enough to be a guest on their Luxury Sailing Tour aboard the elegant Beneteau Yacht. Our cruise took us to the Sea of Cortes where we jumped off the boat, snorkeled, paddle boarded, swam and enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed great music, upscale, tasty meals, all you could eat and drink margaritas, mimosas, cervezas, and more! Cabo Adventures also offers dolphin swims, camel safaris, scuba diving, whale watching tours, sunset dinners, whale shark encounters, zip-lining, mountain biking, air adventures and even fly boarding.

If you are planning a wedding or a honeymoon, Grand Velas Los Cabos is a picturesque, accommodating and endlessly romantic destination. Their experienced team will assist you with every detail.With so many beautiful and unique restaurants you’ll have many options when planning your wedding events. A Grand Velas wedding is beyond your imagination. Whether you choose a beach wedding among the oceanside boulders or opt for a garden ceremony overlooking the vast ocean, a private terrace wedding or even a wedding in one of their many ballrooms;it will be a day you’ll wish you could relive over and over again.

Grand Velas Los Cabos will exceed your every expectation. Step away from real life for a few days and treat yourself to the luxury you deserve.

ESSENTIALS:

www.grandvelas.com/resorts 

www.loscabos.grandvelas.com 

www.cabo-adventures.com

Will Adams

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Adams, Will, Top Lawyers

Will Adams | Personal Injury

Adams, Will-095-web

Will Adams and his team represent plaintiffs in serious personal injury matters and commercial litigation. He is Double Board Certified in Personal Injury by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocates. Will has been recognized by numerous groups and publications as a leader in his field and was recently recognized as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas for the year 2011 by the National Trial Lawyers. Will has also been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer® in Texas Monthly every year since 2010 and as one of the ‘Top Lawyers for Personal Injury’ every year since 2006. Will is a life member of the prestigious Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

WILL ADAMS
ADAMS LAW FIRM
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Ste. H205
Katy, TX 77494
281-391-9237
www.adamslawpersonalinjury.com

G. Scott Fiddler

G. Scott Fiddler
Employment Litigation

Fiddler

G. Scott Fiddler’s practice is focused on representing businesses and executives in employment and commercial litigation, including wrongful termination, wage and hour, non-compete, and trade secret cases. Fiddler is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law and in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, making him one of only approximately twenty-five attorneys in Texas with both board certifications.

Fiddler, who has also been named by Texas Super Lawyers® magazine as one of the top attorneys in Texas in employment litigation, believes experience and skill in a specialized practice benefits his clients through cost-effective, proven results. “We try cases, and we believe our track record in the courtroom benefits all of our clients,” says Fiddler. Because Fiddler routinely represents both employees and employers in the courtroom, he is in a unique position to understand employment cases from both sides.

Running a highly specialized practice means carefully selecting cases. “We don’t believe a law practice should be run like an assembly line. We limit the number of cases we take to ensure we can devote the time each case deserves to obtain the best possible results for our clients,” Fiddler says.

FIDDLER & ASSOCIATES, PC
1004 Congress, 3rd Floor
Houston, TX 77002
713-228-0070
www.fiddlerlaw.com

Robert Woods

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Top Lawyers, Woods, Robert L.

Robert Woods | Personal Injury–Criminal

web_Robert-Woods

As a retired police lieutenant and a graduate of the FBI National Academy, attorney Robert Woods of Woods Law Firm has an advantage over most criminal and personal injury attorneys. With more than 20 years of experience in investigation and law enforcement, he knows how to build and defend cases.

“I’ve dedicated my life to protecting Texans and upholding the law. As your attorney, I will investigate and process your case with the utmost integrity and zeal,” says Woods.

The Woods Law Firm represents individuals and families facing personal-injury crises as well as those facing criminal charges. The primary focus of the firm has been representing victims injured in 18-wheeler, auto and motorcycle accidents, DUI accidents, commercial vehicle accidents and animal bites and attacks. Woods is well-known among his peers for his quick recognition of liability and aggressive pursuit of justice.

“At the Woods Law Firm, you get personal attention regarding your case. Our firm is small enough to give you the personal attention you deserve, but large enough to go against the big insurance companies,” explains Woods.

Attorney Woods holds a degree in criminal justice from Sam Houston University and a law degree from South Texas College of Law.

ROBERT WOODS
WOODS LAW FIRM, PC
2016 Main St., Ste. 111
Houston, TX 77002
713-651-1115
www.attorneyrobertwoods.com

Raed Gonzalez, JD LLM

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Gonzalez, Raed, Top Lawyers

Raed Gonzalez, JD LLM | Immigration Law

Raed Gonzalez is the Chairman of Gonzalez Olivieri LLC. His firm developed into an immigration powerhouse, celebrating a legacy of success in difficult and complicated cases. In recent years, among many accolades, he had his third Supreme Court victory in Mata v. Lynch. Mr. Gonzalez and his firm are making a real difference in immigration law. His firm has experienced significant growth, and is currently 13 attorneys strong.

Each attorney is a generalist and an expert in their niche of immigration law. In addition to Mr. Gonzalez, the firm’s litigation team includes Naimeh Salem, Noel Zuniga, Daniel Ottaviano, Jorge Arias and Roberto Quijano, all experts in removal or deportation defense. The appellate team includes Alexander Afanassiev, who is certified in immigration and nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with more than a decade of experience, as well as Aaron Prahbu and Eric Brown, who handle appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals, Circuit Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The Business and Investment team includes Michael Dominguez (previously with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy) and Mario Gonzalez, who work on all types of employment and investment-based matters. Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Salem also handle all family law cases with attorney Ricardo Tapia and Roberto Zavaleta. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Gonzalez, Gonzalez Olivieri LLC provides tactical solutions and expert knowledge to each client’s case.

Raed Gonzalez
Gonzalez Olivieri LLC
2200 Southwest Freeway, Ste. 550
Houston, TX 77098
713-481-3040
www.gonzalezolivierillc.com

Tyrone C. Moncriffe

Tyrone C. Moncriffe | Attorney at Law

Moncriffe

Tyrone C. Moncriffe is board certified in criminal law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and certified first chair in death penalty cases in Harris County. Currently, he is a faculty member of the Criminal Law Institute. Moncriffe handles serious felony cases and always strives for excellence in the courtroom.

He graduated from Texas Southern University Magna Cum Laude and received his Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1982. Texas Super Lawyers® in Texas Monthly magazine voted Moncriffe as one of the best in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and Top Lawyers in H Texas magazine from 2008 to 2016.

He always believed that no goal is accomplished by one person. He acknowledges his wife Brenda and his daughter Chantel for constant support. His brothers Randy, Errol, Brian, and Burford and best friend Alvin Hubert have provided years of encouragement. He thanks his grandparents, Mary Moncriffe, Morris and Annie Conner and also his father Richard and Uncle Charles Moncriffe for never allowing him to give up his dreams, and the loving memory of his beloved mother Lois Moncriffe, who told him to, “always reach for the sky and even if you fail you will be among the stars.”

Moncriffe gives acknowledgement to Sandra Zimmer of Self Expression Center; she taught him the importance of, “being with the audience and not performing for them.”

Moncriffe has dedicated himself to constant self-improvement and providing the best representation possible for his clients.

 

TYRONE C. MONCRIFFE
MONCRIFFE, KNOWLES, MUHARIB & ASSOCIATES
1314 Texas Ave., Ste. 1112
Houston, TX 77002
713-224-6628
www.tyronemoncriffe.com

Cathy Herrington Hale

Cathy Herrington Hale | Personal Injury & Family Law

Cathy is the founder of The Herrington Law Firm and has represented hundreds of clients in the last 19 years in personal injury and family law disputes. She is committed to providing quality legal representation to her clients and obtaining the best outcome through trial or mediation. Clients often note her passion for the law, respect in the legal community and accessibility of her firm. At The Herrington Law Firm, you will receive personal service and experienced advocates in the courtroom.

Catherine Herrington Hale
The Herrington Law Firm, PC
10190 Katy Freeway, Ste. 440
Houston, TX 77043
713-227-0050
www.herringtonlawfirm.com

Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry

Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry

The diversity of our Top Lawyers’ practice areas exemplifies the breadth, depth, and quality of legal services offered by Chamberlain Hrdlicka. Whether your needs are locally concentrated or extend internationally, our Firm has the necessary expertise to make your goals our mission.

Back row, from left to right: Ryan Cantrell (Wills, Trusts, and Estates); Collin Rose (Intellectual Property); and Habeeb I. Gnaim (Tax Law)

Seated from left to right: Brett Berly (Estate Planning); Justin VandenBout (Insurance); and F. Daniel Knight (Admiralty, Maritime and Energy)

Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry
1200 Smith St,14th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
713-658-1818
www.chamberlainlaw.com

Jimmy Williamson

Jimmy Williamson | Personal Injury

Congratulations to Jimmy Williamson for being selected by H Texas magazine to its 2017 Houston’s Top Lawyers List.

Williamson & Rusnak handles serious personal injury, complex commercial litigation and breach of fiduciary duty cases.

Jimmy Williamson is a graduate of Rice University and the University of Houston Law Center. Mr. Williamson was honored to be one of ten lawyers asked to act as plaintiffs’ trial counsel in the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill liability case. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, as well as, the HTLA, the TTLA, and the AAJ. Mr. Williamson has been Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law since 1984.

Williamson & Rusnak
4310 Yoakum Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006
713-223-3330
www.williamsonrusnak.com

Julia Dean

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Dean Law Firm, Top Lawyers

Julia Dean | Appellate Law & Estate Planning

In the legal profession, the trust built between attorney and client is just as important as the legal expertise the attorney possesses. Julia Dean is an attorney who values each client and takes the time to ensure their concerns are addressed. Ms. Dean designs custom Estate Plans to suit the needs of each individual client. Not only are the practical elements of the Estate Plan addressed, Ms. Dean incorporates planning which focuses on the legacy of the individual or family. Ms. Dean explains, “We are unique in that we strive to not only create excellent legal work, but to care for and truly listen to our clients.”

THE DEAN LAW FIRM, PLLC
The Offices at Kensington
1650 Highway 6 South, Ste. 100
Sugar Land, TX 77478
281-277-DEAN (3326)
www.juliadeanlaw.com

Craig Ribbeck

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Ribbeck, Craig, Top Lawyers

Craig Ribbeck | Civil Litigation

Since its inception over a decade ago, The Ribbeck Law Firm has emphasized getting positive results for their clients—whether individuals or businesses. Craig Ribbeck has spent his career representing both defendants and plaintiffs in a wide range of areas which include complex commercial disputes, shareholder oppression suits, corporate disputes, partnership disputes, contract disputes, consumer and TDTPA disputes, protecting creditor’s rights, employment disputes and personal injury cases. Craig Ribbeck is regularly in the courtroom in front of Judges and juries. He has handled and tried numerous cases in Texas District and County Courts, Texas Appellate Courts, The Supreme Court of the State of Texas, Federal Courts in Texas as well as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Craig Ribbeck remains dedicated to providing his clients a high level of direct access and availability, maintaining strong client relationships, and obtaining efficient and positive results for his clients.

Craig Ribbeck
The Ribbeck Law Firm
713-621-5220

6363 Woodway Dr., Ste. 300
Houston, TX 77057

1221 Studewood St.
Houston, TX77008

Larry Chamberlin

Larry Chamberlin | Family Law & Mediation

Family law pits loved ones and sometimes whole families against each other, yet children must have these same people coparent them.

Larry Chamberlin is known for his effective skills, handling contested cases since 1988. Board Certified in Family Law, he is also seasoned in probate, estate planning, criminal defense and civil litigation. Experienced assistants take great pains to assure clients’ needs are being met.

“I explain my clients’ legal options and their consequences. I listen to understand their needs and desires. If they’re unrealistic, we formulate a reasonable alternative. I help articulate their experience.”

Earning his JD from Tulane Law School, he was elected to the national Order of Barristers in 1988; Larry received a Masters in International Business Management at UT Dallas. He was accepted into Mensa over 30 years ago; in 2006, while attending a Juvenile Forensic Psychology program, he was elected to Psi Chi, the prestigious psychology honor society. Chamberlin Law & Mediation is certified by the BBB.

Chamberlin Law & Mediation
3724 FM 1960 Road W., Ste. 222
Houston, TX 77068
281-580-2222
Larry@Chamberlin.com

Barbara K. Runge

Barbara K. Runge | Family Law

Runge

Board certified in family law since 1981, Barbara handles divorce cases, complex property cases, custody cases, modifications and premarital and marital agreements. She is also a mediator and arbitrator. Additionally, Barbara represents clients using the collaborative method or litigation as determined by the case and the client’s desires. Her individual practice is only enhanced by her active participation in and dedication to many top legal organizations. Barbara has received numerous awards and honors, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Texas Tech School of Law, the Gulf Coast Family Law Specialists’ David Gibson Award for Professionalism and Excellence in Family Law and the Outstanding Service Award for Texas Tech School of Law.

BARBARA K. RUNGE
FAMILY LAW
5615 Kirby Dr., Ste. 920
Houston, TX 77005
713-523-5363
www.barbarakrunge.com

Shawn M. Rudisel

Shawn M. Rudisel | Family & Divorce Law

Shawn-Rudisel

When searching for a family law attorney, there is no doubt that education and experience are both vital criteria. But personal, first-hand knowledge is a valuable and rare asset. Attorney Shawn Rudisel has lived through the pain of divorce. The Rudisel Law Firm, PC, focuses solely on family law and divorce and has successfully litigated hundreds of divorces with the best possible outcomes for their clients. With an office in central Houston, the team has created a warm and compassionate environment.

“We know what divorce feels like and we believe that our experiences bring an added benefit to the table for our clients,” says Shawn M. Rudisel.

Call for a consultation.

Shawn M. Rudisel
The Rudisel Law Firm, PC
1415 North Loop West, Ste. 910
Houston, TX 77008
713-781-7775
www.houstondivorcesource.com

Osha Liang, LLP

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Osha Liang, LLP, Top Lawyers

Osha Liang, LLP | Intellectual Property

Back row, left to right: John Montgomery, Keelin Hargadon, Carlyn Burton, and Aron Griffith. Front row, left to right: Jeff Bergman, Seema Mehta, John Osha, Tammy Dunn, and Tom Scherer.

Osha Liang congratulates its H Texas “Top Lawyers”!

ADVOCATES OF INNOVATION. Founded in 1998, Osha Liang is a Houston-based intellectual property firm assisting companies with legal and technical services involving patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm also provides consulting services such as IP valuation and IP due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, and venture capital financing. With attorneys, engineers, and scientists who collectively speak more than 14 languages, and with four domestic offices as well as offices in France, Japan, and China, Osha Liang brings technical expertise, legal experience, and a global perspective to any IP matter. A list of industries and technologies served is available at oshaliang.com.

Osha Liang, LLP
Two Houston Center
909 Fannin St., Ste. 3500
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 228-8600
www.oshaliang.com

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