An exclusive hotel on the banks of the Waikato River has landed a plaudit as one of the most romantic hotels in the world.
Better known as a fishing lodge for the rich and famous, Huka Lodge near Taupō refuses to be type cast.
The lodge features at number 6 in the 50 Most Romantic Hotels for 2022. The list was compiled by agency Big 7 Travel for Valentines Day. The Lodge was a perfect fit for a splashy February escape to impress, when "money isn't an object".
Located at the foot of the roaring, blue Huka Falls, perhaps it should be no surprise, the oxygenated water is as popular with lovebirds as it is with anglers.
Netting such loved-up guests as Bill Gates, at least one Monty Python and Her Majesty Elizabeth Windsor, the Huka attracts a rarefied crowd. While the 1920s fishing lodge is a very grand affair, there are 20 private suites hidden in the grounds for a more boutique experience and secluded views of the river.
Perhaps the most picturesque experience is dining at the Jetty Pavilion. The boathouse has just enough space for two to sample the menu of chef Paul Froggatt and a private audience with the upper Waikato.
Chest waders are optional.
Big 7 says the top 50 were refined by prioritising exotic locations, unique experiences and reviews left by couples.
The Lodge was bettered by only five other hotels, with similarly luxurious amenities - though very different settings.
The thatched clay huts of Omaanda Lodge in the middle of Namibia's Zannier Reserve came in at number 4 and uninterrupted views of Uluru landed Australia's Longitude 131º the title of 3rd most romantic hotel.
However it was the chasmic outlook of Amangiri in Utah that claimed the title of world's most romantic hotel. The Five Star resort on the Colorado Plateau has melted hearts as fickle as Brad Pitt's the Kardashians' and even Gordon Ramsey.
The 10 most romantic hotels for 2022
10. Villa Cora – Florence, Italy
9. Petit St. Vincent – Grenadines
8. Plaza Athénée – Paris, France
7. The Plaza – New York, United States
6. Huka Lodge – Taupo, New Zealand
5. Fairmont Banff Springs – Canada
4. Omaanda – Namibia
3. Longitude 131º – Uluru, Australia
2. Shinta Mani Wild – Cambodia
1. Amangiri: Canyon Point – Utah, United States