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Natalie Bogan Morgan | Photo: Heflin Photography & Joe Cogliandro Photography | June 14, 2012
New, internationally inspired reception hot spots put down roots—just beyond the Beltway.
A few visionary Houstonians have all but delivered paradise on a silver platter with out-of-the way (but not away) venues so couples can have their fairy tale wedding only a short drive from Downtown.
Tucked into a tree-canopied corner of Houston’s northwest Champions area, Chateau Cocomar (14525 Champions Drive, 713.538.9400) began wowing couples during hard-hat tours months before its summer debut. Owned by Karen and H. Wayne Martin, the majestic venue is modeled after a French château and filled with antiques.
The four-story manse—originally built as a private home in 2007 and completed in 2011—sits on seven acres, giving couples more than 35,000 square feet of entertaining space, decked with opulent architectural details like vaulted ceilings, spiral staircases and crystal chandeliers. There are also historically significant fixtures, including antique wooden doors from a French monastery, elevator panels from the Vanderbilt estate, a fireplace from the Taj Mahal and pieces from Charlotte Nail Antiques.
“My husband and I have traveled to Europe and love its history and architecture,” Karen says. “Versailles is stunning and immense, and Chateau Cocomar is a little piece of that.”
There’s also a gourmet kitchen at its center, and a choice of caterers that includes Cordúa, Daawat, Hugo’s, Backstreet Cafe and Kim So’n. Plus, the chateau has seven rooms and suites available for overnights.
For a completely different—but still grandly exotic—vibe, Agave Real (1250 FM 1463, 281.395.5070) is the new Spanish hacienda-style sister property to Katy’s popular five-year-old Agave Road. To offset demand, owner Shelton Craig opened the new site in December.
Less than a mile from I-10, it shares the same 30 wooded acres with nearby Agave Road, and both all-inclusive properties offer the peace and privacy of an exclusive, full-service vacation spot. “To have something out on this sprawling land is what out-of-towners and even Inner Loopers want to see,” says Vice President of Operations Lindsey Pattillo. “You forget about the day’s worries.”
Tiki torches, trickling water and soft music create ambience to rival any resort respite. The tree-lined patio, which can accommodate as many as 200, showcases a lagoon-style pool and cabana space with fireplace. Indoors, just past handcrafted, iron-and-wood doors, awaits a warm 7,000-square-foot reception space with rustic stone accents and reclaimed wood furniture. A private bridal suite and groom’s quarters come with comfortable lounge furniture, fully stocked fridges and flat-screens.
“Once you cross the threshold, you’re transported,” Pattillo says. “It’s a worry-free destination without the plane ticket.”