Mollies, Auckland


Mollies, sitting room
Mollies, Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland, Mollies
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Auckland - Mollies, Jack at the bar Auckland - Mollies, dining
Mollies - Auckland, New Zealand

Denise Hummel heads for Auckland’s hidden gem, an elegant hideaway

Text Denise Hummel
Photography Courtesy of Mollies
Rarely does one enter a property and feel immediately that fatigue or ill-humor evaporates on crossing the threshold. Such was my first impression of Mollies, an impression that turned from delight to profound appreciation as one day melted into the next. I entered after dusk, the entrance lavishly decorated with a combination of hydrangea and palm, up the limestone stairs and into the parlor. Hundreds of blue votives were glowing in the dining room, on the terrace and in the gracious parlor. Sights of old, greeting new: a steel and glass table, Perspex Philippe Starck Ghost chairs, revealing the limestone and oriental carpets below, period accents from an 18th century Swedish settee to a 19th century French portrait in pastel, a 17th century Swedish farm clock and the odd Tibetan or Chinese antique. Owner, Frances Wilson was poised at the Steinway baby grand; her husband, co-owner, Stephen Fitzgerald, nearby offering a crystal glass of Dom Perignon to a guest.

Soon Andrea, a staff member who had greeted me moments before, put my bags down in the foyer and moved gracefully to Frances' side, introducing ‘Ah, fors'è lui che l'anima’ from La Traviata, the aria she was about to sing. Frances is the owner of the finest five-star hotel in Auckland, but she is also a world-class opera coach. Andrea, her receptionist, is also her pupil and has just returned from performing in Paris for months, to her home-base of Auckland, to the tutelage of her voice coach and her local Mollies job, until she is called to another performance somewhere else in the world. Jack pours me a glass of Clos Henri, Sauvignon Blanc from the Malborough region of New Zealand as she finishes. Then he takes Andrea's hand; they sing a duet from Puccini's La Bohème. And so my experience at Mollies began.

When the short interlude was over, guests mingled, nursing their drinks on the terrace or in the dining room, both bursting with white lisianthus in long sleek vases and plump, rotund ones, the votives reflecting in them like lily pods dancing on the water. I wax poetic, so you are likely to think that I am exaggerating; perhaps understating the image would be more journalistically correct, but I don't have it in me to play it down. Besides, the evening had just begun. A lovely couple from Colorado asked me to join them for dinner and we chatted incessantly as Americans are wont to do, until the food came. Then silence as we savored sweet corn risotto with crab, lobster oil, and basil followed by rack of New Zealand lamb, with taleggio, porcini, red cabbage and spinach. A chocolate marquise followed, with strawberry, raspberry and molasses glazed wafer. Later, a stroll in the old-fashioned English garden, the scents of rosemary and lavender mingling with delphiniums, roses and salvia, only the odd palm and the cadence and accent of the staff, reminding me that I was in New Zealand and not the United Kingdom.

My suite, number 3, is exquisite. Steven's favorite is number one; Frances', number 14, and 8 is lovely too. I have one of the six baby grands in mine and a terrace overlooking the garden. My windows and doors which line the suite from the living room to the bedroom are draped in velvet, taffeta and raw silk from the floor to 12 foot ceiling, meeting deep Victorian moldings. The living room has a frosted circular sky-light, which casts natural light on all the furnishings: 19th century brass English torches on the walls, a gesso over wood five-foot candlestick in the corner, heated limestone flooring covered with oriental rugs, a Victorian portrait on an antique easel, a hand-painted Tibetan cabinet, white Italian couches in front of the Victorian cast-iron gas fireplace, and the same glass and steel modern table with ghost chairs in delightful contrast.
Mollies - Jack singing, Frances accompanying him
Bed linens are 250-count, covered with a white mohair throw and velvet and cotton hand-quilted comforter, and a unique gift awaited me each night, including a lovely porcelain jar and a pair of silver earrings. The bathroom is Italian marble and the Jacuzzi bath has an adjacent open-style rain-shower. I found only two things lacking: a place to put my cosmetics aside the elegant elongated sink and a master light switch by the bed, something Frances and Stephen assured me they would look into.

An English breakfast followed the next morning. Poached eggs were large farm-fresh eggs, steaming hot and perfectly cooked, along with buffet accompaniments of home-baked croissants, pastries, mini muffins, a selection of house preserves, honey and lemon curd, homemade natural yoghurt and fresh fruit coulis, and Mollies home baked muesli with honey, nuts, dried fruit and coconut. The French Toast pan-fried brioche soaked in cinnamon spiced eggs and cream, served with honey smoked bacon, grilled banana and maple syrup also looked mouthwatering. A warm embrace by Frances and Stephen and the sight of them waving from the driveway is the last thing I remember of one of my all-time favorite properties.


Style Manor House

Setting Quiet street near downtown

Wow factor Uncompromising service, elegant decor

Good to know Staff members sing opera professionally during cocktail hour

Address 6 Tweed Street, St Mary's Bay, Auckland, New Zealand

Phone +64 9 376 3489
Fax +64 9 378 6592


How to get there

Please follow this link to Mollies directions page:

Note: From Auckland Airport to Mollies is approximately 16.5km
Auckland - Mollies, piano suite