I had thought my partner and I were about to endeavour on a 4WD trip when we started to drive in the opposite direction towards the Riverland. We drove into a beautiful drive way surrounded by lovely landscape, called ‘The Frames’ and John met Michael outside the car on arrival. I was too busy taking photographs of the gorgeous Red Desert Sturt Peas that lined the gate-way, to realise just where we had arrived or what was going on.
Soon did I have my breath taken away as I stepped into the Pastiche Retreat. I think the first thing I noticed was the light that seared through the stunning windows and view of the pool overlooking the river.
I was completely surprised, this was definitely no 4WD trip on red sand!
Everything in the villa to the curved building design, windows that gave the best light during all parts of the day, balcony overlooking the river, gas fire, sauna, private pool and spa, opening the fridge and finding yummy, gourmet, South Australian produce to home-made soaps and fresh flowers equalled to luxury. We had previously stayed in other luxury apartments overseas and in Australia but this was something special. Rick, Cathy and John had really thought of everything!
What I believed to be a very romantic weekend away followed by another surprise where John knocked on our door and we were soon on our way down the banks of the beautiful Murray River stepping onto a vintage, restored, 100 year old gondola. Cruising around the river at sunset eating fruit, nuts and chocolate and our favourite soft drinks and water by candlelight. John had picked a couple of Red Desert Sturt Peas for me as decoration on the table, everything was perfect. It was so nice to have some fresh river air on our faces and gazing at the beautiful scenery as we were cruising along and the skies were turning pink.
After such a magical cruise we arrived back and I was looking forward to using the spa and sauna. Before opening the door the apartment I noticed some geckos running around on the walls of the villa. As a keen animal lover, I was showing Michael and taking photos watching them scurry up the walls. Little did I know, as I walked into the Pastiche the place was glowing with candles lighting up the passage with a trail of rose petals leading onto the balcony with a huge display of my favourite native flowers. It was simply beautiful. The man of my dreams got down one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him overlooking the river with starry skies.
It was the most beautiful surprise of my life. So our story begins… my fairy tale with my best mate.
Now this is where myself and Michael would like to thank you for being so supportive and helpful in every way with the surprise of our engagement and for providing us the perfect river experience.
Michael tells me that you were more than accommodating in helping him plan this very special moment from changing cheese platters to fruit and chocolate and wine to our favourite soft drinks. Organising my favourite flowers to be present on the balcony and to the set up that John’s wife did of the rose petals and candles (It was magical!). We know even though yourselves were in New Zealand that you were in contact with John to make sure we were happy, that means a lot to us to know that you both cared that everything went well for us even over-seas! A huge thank you to John who took us out twice on the river before our engagement and the next morning, it was so nice to experience the backwaters and Kylie’s creek.
Thank you for making Michael feel at ease through the process and for your friendship over the 3 days spent there. John went above and beyond and we know he would bend over backwards to accommodate for anyone and give future guests the best experience possible.
An extra special thanks to Johns wife, Anne, who in her own time while we were on the Gondola, came back to the villa and the trail of rose petals, candles and flowers. It was like a fairy tale!! I was still in awe the next morning!
So once again, thank you for providing and accommodating to one of the most memorable, romantic and best days of my life that I will never forget.
To any future guests that may be reading this, I could not recommend the team at ‘The Frames’ enough.
We hope to back again one day soon!
Tascha & Michael