Nearly 500 VIPs and industry guests gathered for the Australian Hotels Association National Awards for Excellence long luncheon, held at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast.
The Overall Hotel of the Year (Metropolitan) was won by The Crafers Hotel in South Australia while Overall Hotel of the Year (Regional) went to The Headlands Hotel Austinmer in New South Wales.
Apothecary in Adelaide was crowned the Best Restaurant Metropolitan, while the Best Regional Restaurant went to Frogmore Creek, Cambridge, Tasmania.
Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley in NSW was named Best Deluxe Accommodation, while the Overall Hotel of the Year (Accommodation Division) went to MACq01 Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania.
Curtin Springs in the Northern Territory was recognised for its effort in the Best Tourism Initiative section, while the Best Hotel Accommodation General Division went to the Taylors Lakes Hotel in Victoria.
The prestigious Chef of the Year was awarded to joint winners – Ashly Hicks from the Garden State Hotel in Melbourne and Nancy Kinchela from Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley (NSW).
Hotel Industry Rising Star went to Amelia Benjamin from Hilton Sydney.
AHA National President Scott Leach said the winners, chosen from more than 5000 members nationwide, were the reason Australian hotels continue to lead the world.
“Our staff and venues combine as the heart and soul of our industry,” he said.
“One brings our industry to life each and every day while the other forms its ‘bricks and mortar’ backbone – constantly evolving and changing to ensure we stay at the top of our game.
“The hotel industry is the most dynamic in the nation and a week rarely goes by without the launch of new ideas, renovations or complete re-developments at venues right across the country.
“In a time of great change – when every customer is a potential reviewer – our industry continues to set the standard internationally and I congratulate all nominees and winners.”
Among today’s highlights was the induction of Northern Territory-based liquor industry icon,
Michael Burns, into the AHA National Hall of Fame.
“Mick Burns life story reads like an outback fairy tale,” Mr Leach said.
“He is a larger than life figure, who has made his career by taking risks and trusting his gut instincts.
“He has been at the helm of some of Darwin’s most successful pubs, has been a long time AHA NT executive and almost single-handedly created a multi-million-dollar crocodile farming industry in the top end.
“He continues to set up opportunities for indigenous communities, was at the helm of the Tiwi Island Football Club when it needed him most, and for many years his anonymous charity has been helping those who are doing it tough without fanfare or fuss.”
A full list of 2018 winners is featured below:
Best Bar Presentation & Service – Metropolitan Garden State Hotel, Melbourne – VIC
Best Bar Presentation & Service – Regional Sporties Tavern, Port Pirie – SA
Draught Beer Quality Award (New category for 2018) The Cathedral Hotel, North Adelaide – SA
Best Bistro – Metropolitan The Prince, Kirawee – NSW
Best Bistro – Regional Formby Hotel, Devonport – TAS
Best Deluxe Accommodation Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley – NSW
Best Entertainment Venue Eatons Hill Hotel – QLD
Best Environmental & Energy Efficiency Practice Little National Hotel, Barton – ACT
Best Gaming Venue – Metropolitan Lakes Resort Hotel, Adelaide – SA
Best Gaming Venue – Regional Zagame’s, Ballarat – VIC
Best Hotel Accommodation – General Division Taylors Lakes Hotel – VIC
Best Hotel Bar – Accommodation Division Champagne Bar – Sofitel Sydney, Darling Harbour – NSW
Best Hotel Group Operator Pegasus Leisure Group – VIC
Best Keno Venue The Middle Hotel, Korumburra – VIC
Best Marketed Hotel – Accommodation Division Rydges South Bank Brisbane – QLD
Best Marketed Hotel – General Division The Rose of Australia, Erskineville – NSW
Best Meeting & Events Venue Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas – QLD
Best Mid-Range Accommodation Largs Pier Hotel, Adelaide – SA
Best Outdoor/Non-Enclosed Area Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Sydney – NSW
Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas – QLD
Best Redeveloped Hotel – General Division The Crafers Hotel – SA
Best Restaurant – Accommodation Division Nobu, Crown Perth – WA
Best Restaurant – Metropolitan Apothecary, Adelaide – SA
Best Restaurant – Regional Frogmore Creek, Cambridge – TAS
Best Retail Liquor Outlet Warners at the Bay – NSW
Best Sporting Entertainment Venue Beachfront Hotel, Darwin – NT
Best Suite/Apartment Hotel Fraser Suites, Perth – WA
Best Superior Accommodation MACq01 Hotel, Hobart – TAS
Best TAB Licensed Venue SKYCITY Darwin – NT
Best Tourism Initiative Curtin Springs – NT
Chef of the Year – JOINT WINNERS Ashly Hicks, Garden State Hotel, Melbourne – VIC
And Nancy Kinchela, Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley – NSW
Employee Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division Robin Power, Crowne Plaza Melbourne – VIC
Employee Excellence in Service – General Division Katie Chan- Long Chim at the State Buildings, Perth – WA
Front of House Employee of the Year – General Division Nicholas Stanton-Cook, Toms Tavern, Aitkenvale – QLD
Front of House Employee of the Year – Accommodation Division Ashleigh Macdonald, Crown Towers, Melbourne – VIC
Hotel Industry Rising Star Amelia Benjamin, Hilton Sydney – NSW
Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame Michael Burns, NT
Outstanding Achievement in Training Grand Hyatt Melbourne – VIC
Outstanding Community Service & Achievement Settlers Inn, Port Macquarie – NSW
Overall Hotel of the Year – Accommodation Division MACq01 Hotel, Hobart – TAS
Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan The Crafers Hotel – SA
Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional Headlands Hotel Austinmer – NSW