As the borders reopen, the jet-setting global rich are quietly coming back to New Zealand.
The Herald on Sunday can reveal there are now about 10 corporate jet landings a week at Auckland Airport carrying cashed-up travellers from around the globe.
And that number is expected to keep rising when the borders fully reopen next month.
Meanwhile, the owner of Queenstown's new luxury hotel, The Carlin, has given the Herald on Sunday an exclusive look behind the curtain of how international royalty and Kiwi rich-listers are spending their southern sojourns.
Ground was broken in 2019 on developer Kevin Carlin's namesake hotel terraced into the hills just above central Queenstown.
Bad timing, the veteran US-born developer and longtime Queenstown resident admits.
"I put my blood, sweat and every dollar into this project, and went over budget by millions due to the pandemic.
"The banks wouldn't talk to any tourist property, because there was no tourism, and investors were hesitant, but somehow I scraped up another $13 million to finish the job."
Since it opened in March, five-star reviews have flooded in for the six-star hotel.
"I'm glad that people are appreciating us and saying nice things, and we're actually full this weekend. And we were 100 per cent occupied last Friday and then 80 per cent Saturday and 90 per cent Sunday."
Carlin's restaurant, Oro, has two chefs with Michelin star experience, headed by executive chef Thomas Barta, who worked in a Gordon Ramsay kitchen.
The hotel offers a chauffeur service in a Bentley, Maserati or Porsche, and can arrange private jet transfers for its guests.
That luxury comes at a cost. The Royal Suite, featuring a terrace spa pool and state-of-the-art kitchen, where its chefs prepare meals for guests in private, is going for $4350 a night on Tuesday night next week, according to the Carlin's website.
Its cheapest available room that day is the 98sq m Princess Suite, at $2690 for one night midweek.
The presidential suite, featuring its own baby grand piano, is $5530 a night as of Friday next week.
But it's a price people have proved willing to pay, Carlin says, citing a recently walk-in.
"Some people walked in off the street willing to pay three-and-a-half thousand a night for a room.
"They said we googled 'best hotels in Queenstown' and found you. We want to stay here."
Even the Carlin's penthouses are in hot demand, the owner says.
One is rented for an entire week to a member of a royal family, who arrived on Friday.
"I think it's 6000 a night. That one's for a week.
"I can't say which royal family on the planet."
The Carlin's illustrious guests was an Auckland property developer, worth the better part of $1 billion, who arrived from the Super City on a private jet and also rented the penthouse. The developer and Carlin chatted over cigars one evening.
"It's looking promising and people are accepting the higher rates for bigger suites and higher level of service. It seems there was a market to fill."
Carlin said the hotel is fielding lots of inquiries from Australians but as yet nothing from China due to that country's ongoing travel restrictions.
Many of those inquiries were also keen on the private jet service, he said.
His high-end guests often came for the skiing, with Coronet Peak only 20 minutes from the hotel, which features a purpose-built heated ski room for drying out gear.
Guests also relished taking helicopter flights to Milford Sound, he said.
When The Carlin's international guests arrive in New Zealand on private jets they have no use for the Auckland public airport terminal.
Instead, they use Air Centre One, which operates a dedicated corporate jet terminal at the airport.
When the Herald on Sunday called Air Centre One on Thursday its operations manager, Jude Moraes, was about to head out onto the tarmac to handle yet another private jet landing.
"We're looking at at least 10 jets per week," Moraes said.
He said landings are expected to continue to increase next month with the dropping of the last travel restrictions.