My husband travels to Auckland for work several times a year, but it’s usually a flying visit. I have been wanting to go for ages, particularly keen to explore the country’s amazing design and architecture, food and wine and breathtaking landscape. So when he suggested we go for a long weekend prior to a Monday meeting I couldn’t resist. I had completely underestimated how utterly spectacular this small country is.
Auckland is such an easy 2.5hr flight from Sydney, and we arrived there early Friday evening. Just a couple of hours on a plane without kids reading magazines and catching up on “Episodes” episodes is enough of a holiday for me. I had picked a luxury boutique hotel in St Mary’s Bay called “Mollies“, which had great reviews on Trip Advisor but which I really chose because the interiors looked so fabulous and unique and completely different from the usual bland hotel interiors we so commonly see here.The entrance to Mollies is the kind of lovely architecture (that appeals to me), is synonymous with Auckland and which you see everywhere in this lovely city. I don’t know if the Auckland council has rules and regulations about the paint colours and the style of buildings in the area, but it seems most of the houses old and new are built in the same style and painted a combination of white, black and grey which makes for a beautiful, blended and aesthetically pleasing city.
The entrance at the back of the hotel featured the same balustrade design as we installed earlier this year, with simple landscaping and lovely features such as the dentil used in the cornice. I loved the effect created by the circular pattern of the simple brick paving.
The front entrance, featuring my husband (you know how bad men are at offering to take your photo!), shows the classic Victorian architectural features, simple landscaping and muted colours.The entry foyer demonstrates the painted marble effect which repeats in the rooms and suites, with bold contemporary artwork which features throughout the common areas.
The public living spaces are cosy and welcoming, but quirky and contemporary. I found the mix of styles and eras quite interesting, and enjoyed the quirky mix of art, decor and furnishings. Sure beats the homogenous blandness of the majority of high end hotels in Australia.
The dining room is available for private dinner bookings featuring a degustation menu of local produce and tastes. As we were only two, we elected to try one of the many fabulous restaurants nearby on Ponsonby Road. Our suite was a complete surprise. It included a spacious living area, bedroom and bathroom. The living space had two amazing antique musical instruments as decorative touches, a harpsichord and a concert harp. Very original indeed. We also had a lovely gas fire, kitchenette, dining table,p plenty of rustic and antique decorative items and all the mod cons you would expect in a room of this calibre.
We are very fortunate to live in a beautiful house, so I really get annoyed when I stay in supposedly five star hotels that charge a fortune for their nightly rate but which aren’t half as nice as my own home. Hotel interior design in Australia is overwhelmingly so homogenous and bland, it’s beyond tiresome and uninspiring. So although this wasn’t my particular style, I really appreciated the effort and thought that had gone into the design and the fact that all the details were luxurious, interesting and well considered. All those things go toward making a stay memorable and worth the money.
Our room rate included breakfast, so we ate in the conservatory the following morning. This was a light and bright room at the front of the hotel, an enclosed baloney I guess, but very well appointed and perfect for breakfast. We were the only people there, aside from another couple, and it was such a pleasure having a leisurely breakfast without the squawking and pestering of children – mine or others’!
Again a quirky mix of styles with traditional design blended with modern touches such as the ghost chairs, mirror and other decor.
We were lucky to have a verandah off our suite, which looked out over Auckland harbour and featured the most gorgeous detail. If only we had stayed longer and it had been warmer, we might have used it!
All in all we enjoyed a quiet, relaxed, luxurious and very boutique experience at Mollies. The service was attentive and courteous yet unobtrusive. It was a bit like staying at the house of a fabulously stylish and flamboyant gay friend, if you know what I mean.And I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the house next door which was just the beginning of my love affair with all things Auckland….!
After our night spend in Auckland, we prepared to travel by ferry to Waiheke Island just off Auckland where we spent a memorable weekend. More on that next post.