Blues investor Murray Bolton has bought Mollies boutique hotel for $10.9 million to turn it into a private home.
The Herne Bay luxury hotel will close on April 16 after more than 50 years as commercial accommodation, hosting high-profile guests such as Shania Twain, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Sean Connery and chef Gordon Ramsey in the past decade.
Known as a discreet place to stay, Mollies had a style of its own - crystal chandeliers, eclectic art collection, ornate fireplaces and mirrors, a grand piano and library.
Celebrities could eat in a private dining room and members of the public could book a fine-dining evening in the main dining room with its glass pergola and fairy lighting.
Bolton, who lives in Remuera, bought the 2905sq m property last year from developer Murray Rose.
Mollies was built in 1870 as the home of Auckland's first mayor, Archibald Clark. A second family bought it in 1910 and engaged Auckland architect William Holman, responsible for several flamboyant buildings - including K Rd's Rendells department store, designed in 19th-century Edwardian Renaissance style - to redesign the front facade.
It later became a convent for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a boarding house and a private home before Mollie Wilson bought it in 1964.
She opened it as the Harbour Bridge Motel, building a successful business before selling to her daughter Frances Wilson and son-in-law Stephen Fitzgerald in 2000.
They spent 11 years establishing Mollies as a boutique hotel, modernising the interior to provide 12 luxury suites, each with ensuite and their own living rooms. It became known internationally as a private retreat for the rich and famous, who paid up to $1075 a night.
Wilson, an opera teacher, employed her students as staff and would accompany them on the piano as they performed for the guests before dinner.
"I wish the new owners every happiness," she said. "It's a gorgeous property."