New Zealand | luxury boutique hotels

Mollies is the archetype of a boutique hotel, but it's not for everyone. If you're looking for a large, comfortable business hotel in Auckland in a convenient location with a highly efficient concierge desk, your best bet is probably the Westin. But if you're a discerning traveler who seeks unique and personal experiences, I highly recommend Mollies. This hotel was originally a home built for the first Mayor of Auckland. It was later converted into a boarding house and, ultimately, into a luxury boutique hotel by Molly (the mother of the current owner). The hotel is decorated with antiques, and the wall treatment is Venetian plaster.

Staying at Mollies is an event. Guests gather in the drawing room for cocktails and canapes every evening at 6:30 p.m. and stay for a brief and extremely well-done operatic performance at 7:30 p.m. While I’m not a particular fan of opera, this was highly enjoyable, short and sweet, with performances of classic opera arias that should be familiar to most. (Frances Wilson, the owner, is a noted opera coach). The setting is conducive to conversation between guests, and you will get to know some interesting and sophisticated fellow travelers.

My Junior Suite at Mollies was everything you would expect from that room category, a comfortably sized corner room with a separate sitting area and a small balcony. The room has all the expected amenities, and the bathroom is large with a double vanity, jacuzzi tub, and a very large walk-in shower. From April through December, Virtuoso guests are virtually guaranteed upgrades to a Villa (suite); just book through a Virtuoso luxury travel consultant. The top room category are the Premium Villas which are larger with great views and your own baby grand piano in the room. The most requested room at Mollies is #8.

The Spire Hotel is a small luxury boutique hotel in Queenstown with ten suites. My suite was spacious with a large patio overlooking the village church. Beautiful contemporary interior design features a very comfortable Eames reading chair facing a gas fireplace and the immense wall-mounted Panasonic plasma TV. The room has the latest in electronics, all controlled by a high-tech remote control that completely baffled me! The room has a gas fireplace, large dressing area, and a large bathroom with soaking tub, walk-in shower, and dual vanities. The Spire is upscale, visually appealing, and will not disappoint. Rates include breakfast, free internet, and free airport transfers. The hotel prides itself on great service; the manager is always ready to recommend the best places to eat and shop (and to drive guests there), and the hotel’s own dining room is superb.

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copyright (c) 2009 by David J. Ourisman. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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