Zamora, a target for Liverpool and Birmingham during the summer transfer window, today signed a new four-year contract that will keep him at Craven Cottage until 2014.
It continues a remarkable transformation for the 29-year-old England striker who only last November was being jeered by a section of his own fans.
Hughes admits to failing to appreciate Zamora's influence until his own arrival in south west London but having been converted, he was determined to keep him at all costs.
"Bobby's a good player and I've been really impressed with what I've seen," he said.
"Maybe I underestimated his ability like many other people have.
"But having worked with him on a daily basis I've been very impressed with the way he brings team-mates into the game.
"He's a big lad who can look after himself, which is important, and when he's in full flow he's difficult to stop.
"He's a big part of our focus as an attacking team. I like his personality and he's very popular.
"There's more to come from him. He's 29 and that's when strikers reach their best.
"They mature and understand how they can be effective in games, which only comes from experience.
"We think we'll get his best years and that's why we've signed him until 2014.
"To get him signed up again is a feather in our cap. He's happy here and is happy with the environment.
"There was interest from other clubs in Bobby because he's a good player but he was never going to leave."
Zamora won his only cap as a second-half substitute in last month's 2-1 victory over Hungary and Hughes insists he can become a regular for England.
"Bobby's made the international breakthrough and he did really well in the cameo he had," he said.
"If he keeps his current form then he'll get other chances because there seems to be a window of change with England at the moment."
Fulham are hoping to clinch their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season against Wolves tomorrow after their opening three games ended in draws.
Wolves were involved in a bruising encounter with Newcastle before the international break but Hughes denies they overstep the mark.
"The game against Newcastle was a bit aggressive and that was flagged up," he said. "But I don't think Wolves are too physical. They're always competitive which is no bad thing. I like my teams to be competitive as well.
"If you can also get the team playing fluent and technically adept football alongside being competitive, that's a situation you want to cultivate.
"Wolves will be fine this year. Mick underplays the potential he has in his squad this season.
"He said he's be happy just to stay up but I think potentially they're due a better season than that."