For the first time ever, in 2018, GG decided to have an away Christmas. We chose New Zealand as our destination and I busily started planning where we’d go for our two and a half week adventure. The challenge was finding a perfect place to be on Christmas Day and the rest of the holiday could then be decided around that. There are numerous beautiful locations in New Zealand and it was causing me some consternation trying to decide where to go. I had a short list of places I liked the look of, but by chance GG also had a google one lunchtime and a common name appeared on both our lists – Annandale.
Welcome to the private, luxurious experience of Annandale. Our working coastal farm and four luxury villas are nestled between the rolling hills of the Banks Peninsula and the sparkling water of the Pacific. These private locations feature award-winning architecture and a unique experience we refer to as “gumboot luxury”.
Enjoy the exclusive use of the property you choose, where privacy, stunning scenery and the smell of fresh air are guaranteed. Make the experience your own by selecting activities and the level of service that suits your style.
From sunrise to sunset, your private retreat at Annandale is authentic and unforgettable.
Oh yes, on paper it sounded like exactly what we wanted and the stars had aligned and their villa, Seascape was available from December 23rd to December 26th so we made a booking and our Christmas destination was officially locked in.
There weren’t too many reviews online, but I trawled through the internet and looked on the socials to find any information I could about Seascape and everything I saw was incredibly positive, so it was definitely something I was looking forward to. It can be a challenge though, when your expectations for something are that high. Can it possibly live up to it? Yes. 100%. It exceeded my expectations for the level of wonderful that it actually was.
Disclaimer here, I will say that some of the magic of a visit to Annandale probably isn’t knowing everything before you arrive, but if you did want to hear a few more details then please read on.
We arrived a touch before two and were shown into the Annandale reception area, which is a converted stable, while our luggage was transferred from our car to one of their four wheel drives. We had ummed and ahhed about hiring a 4 wheel drive ourselves, but seriously you aren’t going to want to leave Seascape for your stay, so enjoy being driven there and back and just take in the epic landscape and fields of happy cows and many, many sheep.
After enjoying a glass of champagne in reception it was time to drive so we happily sat in the back of the car and off we set.
The drive to Seascape is around 40 minutes and as you drive you are able to see the other villas. They are well separated from each other, so it really is that you have your own slice of paradise to enjoy.
There were some very thoughtful additions to the already stunning Seascape for our stay – a beautiful Christmas wreath near the door and inside, some subtle Christmas trees, adorned with twinkly lights. Just perfect. You are given a thorough overview of where everything is and basically the whole place can be operated through the convenient touch panel in the kitchen – fire places, lights, spa, etc. And you have a phone connected straight to reception should you need anything. We were all set.
Then you are left to enjoy the serious magic of this place. Standing outside the view is beautiful and there’s a real sense of peace to hear the waves softly crashing on the stone beach and an occasional bird overhead. It was perfect.
On the afternoon we arrived we discovered a delicious cheese plate to enjoy, plus having booked through Mr & Mrs Smith were also given a complimentary bottle of Louis Roderer Champagne. Talk about an ideal way to settle into our temporary sojourn at Annandale.
While at Annandale the choice is really yours as to how much or how little you’d like to do. There’s a range of activities you can book in for (additional charge), such as kayaking, boat tours, etc or you can take the mountain bikes which you’ll find at your villa out for a ride, or even just enough a walk around your property. We went for the latter and they were really nice, taking you to different vantage points of that amazing view.
For the most part though, my favourite times were just sitting and relaxing in the villa. There were several books you could flicks through if you didn’t bring your own, or the TV was connected to cable so there was always something entertaining to watch. Plus the internet coverage is very good. Or, obviously spend the time chatting with your special someone.
The temperature was such that we could keep the fire place inside on and be comfortable, particularly on our last night when it was slightly misty we sat outside and enjoyed a class of red near the fireplace. Warm and beautiful.
On the food side, how it all worked was something of a mystery to me and I’ll admit that peeking in the fridge was one of the first things I did when left to my own devices.
With a stay at Annandale it includes the ‘We Create, You Serve’ menu:
For a farm to table experience that won’t compromise your privacy, our award winning chef will create a morning riser breakfast menu, a superb picnic lunch and a gourmet three course dinner based on our locavore philosophy and any dietaries or special cravings communicated in advance. The meal will be delivered to your villa with easy to follow instructions allowing you to simply complete the finishing touches before enjoying some of Annandale’s finest cuisine. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rate, and we will work with you in adding a lunch or upgrading any meal to a private chef experience – per your preferences.
You have the option of paying extra and lunch would be provided, but we opted to take along lunch supplies ourselves (if you are driving through Christchurch then highly recommend calling into Mediterranean Food Company for some delicious Italian smallgoods). Annandale provide you with non alcoholic beverage or you can purchase the beers, wines, spirits available in your villa. Or again, opt to take your own, which we did.
So what did breakfast look like. Well be assured it is a considerably feed! Here are a few photos of the breakfasts we enjoyed on our stay. So always something cooked, as well as their house made granola and fruit and something of the baked persuasion. It would probably be possible to stretch this across breakie and lunch if you fancied.
Similarly each dinner is a three course affair and they so easy, to make you feel like a star chef. Heat up this in the microwave, this in the oven, pan fry this quickly… it was nothing tricky, but you plated up something amazing! It was actually only on one of our three nights that the entrée needed something actually cooked in a pan. It was something cold on the other occasions, but with whatever you had to do they made it really easy. You had candles and table clothes for the table too, because they had seriously thought of everything.
- Entrée: Cos Lettuce, Pistachio, Prawn, Marie Rose
- Mains: Roast Lamb Rump, Ratatouille, Pea Puree, New Season Garden Potatoes, Roast Parsnip with Oregano, Lamb & White Wine Jus
- Dessert: Chocolate Cremeux, White Chocolate Ganache, Cherry, Hazelnut
- Entrée: Goats Chevre Parfait, Textures of Beets, Candied Walnut, Guanciale
- Mains: Akaroa Salmon, French Lentils, Fennel, Citrus Yoghurt, Sauce Vierge, Annandale Garden Asparagus
- Dessert: Lemongrass kaffir lime panna cotta, Coconut tapioca, pineapple, mango, coconut sponge
- Entrée: Pan Roasted Scallop, Cauliflower, Nduja Vinaigrrette
- Main: Local Beef Fillet, Boulengere, Onion, Onion Jus, Annandale Baby Carrots
- Dessert: Crème Cheese Mousse, Elderflower, Garden Raspberry, Vanilla Crumb
You also have a coffee machine and a range of tea, as well as a box of baked treats, which included some fruit mince pies for our Christmas stay. A lot of thought and consideration goes into what they do to ensure their guests have a special time at Annandale.
Your rooms are made up each day, as well as the meals for the dinner for the day and breakfast for the next morning delivered, but they will call you to arrange a suitable time and they have it down to a fine art, so that it really does feel like they are in and out in a flash.
I can’t say enough good things about our visit. It was relaxing, luxurious, memorable and everything I had wanted for our first away Christmas. Seascape at Annandale is a truly speculator place to stay. I highly recommend a visit to anyone looking for a really special time away in New Zealand. My thanks to the Annandale team for looking after us both so well while we were there.