Need to know
Four private villas.
11am. Earliest check-in, 12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $609.29 (NZD865), excluding tax at 15 per cent.
Rates include an in-villa breakfast of fresh fruit, cereal, juices and a farm-to-table cooked option, plus free transfers (excluding the Homestead).
The little cottage where Annandale’s staff live is also home to the hotel’s boutique, a treasure trove of ivory-carved trinkets – credit cards at the ready…
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV with DVD player, iPod dock, air-conditioning (excluding Shepherd’s Cottage, which has a fan), Sonos entertainment system, working fireplace. Kitchens have an oven, hob, microwave, dishwasher, sink, grill and tea- and coffee-making kit.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the four villas has its own distinct style, but all are super-private and set in acres of verdant Kiwi farmland. Couples looking for a secluded escape à deux should go for the one-bedroom Shepherd’s Cottage with its saucy outdoor bath tub; city slickers will feel most at home in the modern, glass-walled Seascape; those with a soft spot for classic history will go wild for the 19th-century Homestead. Bringing your whole entourage? There’s space for 14 at Scrubby Bay, which has its own pebble beach for private picnics.
The Homestead has exclusive use of the Pavilion’s 20-metre heated pool and hot tub, a short walk away through the gardens. Scrubby Bay has its own heated pool and a sea-facing Jacuzzi; Seascape has a hot tub on its balcony.
If you’re staying at the Homestead, there’s a state-of-the-art, glass-walled fitness centre in the Pavilion, boasting high-tech equipment including treadmills, weights and ellipticals. You can even enlist the help of a free personal trainer to put you through your paces. Homestead guests also have private use of the tennis court by the pool if you fancy knocking some balls around; it’s floodlit, so you needn’t pack up your racket when the sun sinks.
You’ll want plenty of outdoorsy gear: padded gilets, knobbly socks and waterproofs in winter; denim shorts and simple tees for hot summer days.
Tech-addicts, be warned: in keeping with Annandale’s philosophy, there’s very little phone reception – no bad thing, but make sure you’re ready for a thumb-scrolling detox.
Adventurous little Smiths of all ages are welcome at Annandale and there’s plenty for them to do, from quad biking to watersports.
Scrubby Bay has its own stretch of pebbly beach, ideal for tiny tots testing their paddling for the first time.
Where to start? There’s plenty to occupy children at Annandale, most of it of an outdoor persuasion: quad biking, hiking and kayaking will amuse older ones; smaller Smiths can explore the working farm or curl up with a DVD from the hotel’s well-stocked kids’ library.
Some of the villas have their own private pool, making them ideal for splashy broods with large pool toy collections.
There’s no specific menu for little ’uns, but Annandale have baby purées and child-friendly snacks available to order to your villa.
Babysitters are available at 24 hours’ notice and cost NZ$30 an hour (for a minimum of two hours).
No need to pack
The hotel can provide travel baby cots, baby bedlinen, highchairs, U-, PG- and 12-rated DVDs, iPads, arts and crafts kit, board games, puzzles, bicycles and helmets.
Annandale lives by a farm-to-fork philosophy, growing as much as possible on site. All the cleaning kit, light bulbs and bath products are ecologically sound, and much of the hotel’s waste is recycled or composted.