An Auckland boutique getaway for the rich and famous is closing its doors after being sold for $10.9 million.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey and power-couple Beyonce and Jay Z are among those who have stayed at Mollies Luxury Boutique Hotel, a 2,905sqm property in Herne Bay, and the top hotel in Auckland based on TripAdvisor reviews.
Wealthy guests paid up to $1075 to stay in one of the 12 luxury suites at Mollies, which featured chandeliers, bespoke furnishings, an eclectic art collection and views of Auckland harbour.
“[The hotel] is not a pristine, modernist design. A lot of its charm is in the mish-mash,” manager Steven Colthart said.
So many people have walked through its doors that the stairs are dented from the weight of feet, he said.
Built in the early 1870s for Archibald Clark, the first mayor of Auckland, the property has since been a convent, boarding house and hotel.
Colthart and his wife Bernadette Colthart took over the property’s lease in 2013.
“It’s very sad it is going to be closing down, but we bear no malice to the new owners,” Colthart said.
“It will leave a huge gap not just in our lives but in the lives of those who have stayed here.”
Even as the doors close, Colthart refused to divulge details of his celebrity guests.
“Discretion is everything. It’s not just people in the entertainment industry, but business people travelling in New Zealand also demand the same level of discretion.”
He proudly recalled an unnamed celebrity who stayed for five nights at the hotel without a peep to media. The celebrity clientele were just a small component of the guests who have come through its doors, he said.
Mollies hosted birthday parties, wedding anniversaries and even a marriage proposal.
The property’s sale gained attention from international buyers and global hotel chains, but a local couple bought it for personal use.
Mollies would close its doors on April 16, but Colthart said he hoped to remain in the boutique hotel business. The Mollies brand could be used at a different location, he said.