Mollies, Auckland, North Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The soaring voices of opera singers in training fill the air at this Victorian villa, set in a posh residential neighborhood west of Auckland's city center. The singers are students of owner Frances Wilson, who has been teaching opera soloists for 40 years. Wilson and husband Stephen Fitzgerald, a theater set designer and renovator of grand New York apartments, transformed their elegant two-story home into a boutique hotel, where butlers pad across marble floors and 13 spacious guest suites are decorated with antiques, Chinese tapestries, and even a few Steinway baby grands. The largest, premium suites are especially opulent, with wood-burning fireplaces, custom-made sleigh beds, embroidered linens, spa tubs, and views of the harbor or an English-style garden. The mix-your-own martini bar and the tiny spa, where guests can chill out with hot-stone massages and body wraps, keep the place from feeling too stuffy.