Built in 1870 as the family home of the first mayor of Auckland, Archibald Clark, Mollies was occupied for a short time by nuns before being turned into a hotel by entrepreneur Mollie Wilson in the 1950s. Today, the design of the boutique hotel stays true to the building’s Victorian heritage, but modern art, plush furnishings, and high-tech amenities like Bluetooth sound systems cater to 21st-century travelers. Each of the 12 suites features unique treasures as well as panoramic vistas of either gardens, the city, or St. Marys Bay, just a few blocks away. The decor is sophisticated without feeling stuffy; dark wood furniture and brass light fixtures contrast against distressed white walls, funky bedspreads and curtains, and soft cushions. The Premier Suites are the showpieces here, boasting antique furniture, fireplaces, Persian rugs, and French doors that open onto private balconies. Mollies is like an inspiring home with the addition of a glass-enclosed restaurant and a top-floor spa. Reception, meals, wellness, and mixology are each the domain of a different employee. From the moment guests are handed a cocktail, New Zealand wine, or flute of French champagne upon arrival, they’re treated like part of the Auckland family.
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St. Marys Bay bends like a horseshoe between Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, northwest of the city center. Water views are abundant around here. So are cafés, concentrated mostly in Viaduct Harbour and along Ponsonby and Jervois roads. For a more substantial meal, guests can’t go wrong in the foodie melting pot of Ponsonby, where memorable meals range from oysters and fish cakes to authentic Thai and pintxos to upscale Italian. Closer to downtown, Clooney Restaurant is a favorite, as is the rooftop deck at Tom Tom, which often hosts live bands. Seafood fans should tour the fish market at Viaduct Harbour, and cinema buffs will love the outdoor movies screened throughout the summer in Silo Park.
Need to Know
Rooms: 12 suites. From $512, including breakfast and parking. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:Breakfast, lunch, and a five-course degustation dinner—with an optional pairing of New Zealand wines—each highlight the best local ingredients, free-range eggs, and herbs from the hotel’s garden. A high-ceilinged lounge area, planned around a grand piano, is where guests can try custom cocktails shaken by the master mixologist. Spa and gym details:Guests can jog between Mollies and St. Marys Bay on a waterfront running circuit, and then book massages, facials, and paraffin wax pedicures by the hour, half-day, or day at the top-floor spa.
Who's it best for: Food and wine lovers with an interest in art and the outdoors. Our favorite rooms: The six Premier Suites feel giant at around 2,500 square feet. They’re all a little different but each have super king beds, fireplaces, soaking tubs, and either a balcony or terrace with harbor views. The two newest suites are located in a private wing of the hotel and are connected by a common terrace, making them great for families. See the area:For $130 per hour, Mollies leads private tours in a luxury town car, providing a great introduction to Auckland’s sites and attractions.