Room for Two: Seascape, New Zealand

Seascape Villa, Annandale Estate in New Zealand by Matthew Brace

Reviewed by Matt Brace


Imagine a futuristic, glass-walled, space-age villa tucked into a gentle hillside above a remote, private, black-pebble beach on the Banks Peninsula south of Christchurch. Add gourmet farm-to-table food, a hot tub and indoor and outdoor fires and you have a unique and very special room for two. Seascape comes with a significant price tag but for a two-night, special-occasion, über-luxe blow-out, it’s totally worth it.


Seascape is the brainchild of Kiwi couple Mark and Jacqui Palmer who own the 24km2 Annandale working farm on which it sits. The farm has three additional accommodation options but Seascape is the jewel in the crown, chiefly for its design and its remoteness. It’s a 90-minute drive from Christchurch to Pigeon Bay where you check-in; then, it’s another 40-minute sea-view drive on farm tracks to the villa. Once you arrive you will absolutely understand Annandale’s catchphrase: “Stay where the world can’t find you.”

Look and feel

Seascape is a very groovy Austin Powers shag-pad in a suitably secret and romantic location. The front of this 175m2 villa is a floor-to-ceiling glass wall offering uninterrupted views over a private beach to the Pacific Ocean. The main, open-plan living/sleeping space has pinewood ceilings and solid bare-rock walls, with cowhide rugs and a replica Eero Aarnio hanging bubble chair completing the 60s retro vibe.

Take an afternoon stroll along the beach looking for Hector’s dolphins frolicking in the bay. Then cuddle up on the sofa in front of the jet-black, gas-powered flame fire, sip a Pegasus Bay pinot and watch the sea morph from milky turquoise sheen to dazzling, diamond-encrusted carpet as the sun and clouds chase each other across the sky.

Best room for two

Well, that’s easy because the entire villa is yours. The main open-plan area includes a well-equipped kitchen space with a large fridge, an oven and a mini-bar stacked with irresistible local wine and whisky, and even a bottle of Cristal in case you’ve just won the lottery. There’s also a rock-cave bathroom with tub for two and an outdoor hot tub with ocean views.

It’s no secret that the Banks Peninsula and nearby Christchurch are in a fairly active earthquake zone, so the designers had safety very much in mind when creating the place. They protected their precious jewel of a villa from earthquake debris by creating a thick, poured-in-situ reinforced concrete roof, which they topped with a carpet of emerald turf.

It’s been through several earthquakes since it was built and is still standing and looking as fabulous as ever.

Related: An offbeat romantic tour of New Zealand’s South Island

Food and drink

If you thought the location and the design were special, wait until you sample the food. You can choose between “We Create, You Serve” meals delivered daily to the villa which you then heat up in the oven, or the award-winning chef cooking exclusively for you on site. Either way, the farm-to-table food is nothing short of superb, with much of it coming from the Annandale estate.

We arrived to find chef Anil Vada had stocked our fridge full of culinary delights, all to our dietary requirements. All dishes were decorated with fresh herbs and flowers from the estate, which made them works of art as well as mouth-watering delicacies.

Each was neatly arranged and carefully labelled, along with precise instructions for cooking. The “We Create, You Serve” concept couldn’t be simpler or more convenient: you eat fabulous food at your own pace. If you want to eat in reverse by starting with the chocolate cherry choux and ending on the arancini and Chardonnay, sage and blue cheese sauce, knock yourselves out. If you wake at 3am and fancy confit tomato, grilled broccoli, roasted pumpkin and candied balsamic dressing, just fire up the oven and they’ll be ready in minutes.

The standout, drop-dead gorgeous dish for us was the miso-encrusted Akaroa salmon, caught just a few kilometres south of Annandale. It combined perfectly with the truffle boulangère and rocket and roast capsicum salad to create a spectacular meal. Seascape delivered some of the best food we ate anywhere in 2023.


Many of Seascape’s cuisine ingredients are sourced directly from the farm and the management team also operates a 100km food footprint to reduce carbon emissions.

All cleaning products are ecologically sound and biodegradable, while all toiletries are natural and sourced and manufactured in New Zealand.

The team recycles rubbish, composts garden waste and feeds the very fine food scraps to the Annandale estate pigs – lucky things.

As part of Annandale’s commitment to becoming carbon zero, it has introduced energy-efficient LED lighting and native tree planting, and is planning to change its vehicle fleet to EVs.

Couples will love

Having their very own sexy, super-swish, architect-designed beach villa with ultimate privacy (only the sheep will see you dancing nude on the deck), being surrounded by awesome scenery and dining on spectacular local food when they please.

Book via the Annandale website, call +64 27 566 8776 (08.30–20.00 NZ time) or email

Main image © copyright Matthew Brace.     

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