The 2021 QHA Awards for Excellence were held earlier in the week to celebrate the best of the state’s pub and accommodation industries.
More than 1400 attendees made this the largest awards event ever for the QHA, in a sign of resilience in the industry after a tough year. In acknowledgment of the trying and novel circumstances the industry had faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 16 quarantine accommodation hotels were presented with an Industry Recognition Award for their contribution in keeping Australians safe and Queenslanders employed during the pandemic.
Three pub offers were also inducted into the Hall of Fame, each winning their respective categories for three consecutive years. They were The Walrus Club at Regatta Hotel (Best Themed Bar), Eatons Hill Hotel (Best Entertainment Venue), The Boatshed at Regatta Hotel (Best Restaurant – Hotel).
The Comiskey Group had an outstanding night, taking home a record-breaking eight awards across its two pubs, Sandstone Point Hotel and Eatons Hill Hotel. Besides the aforementioned Hall of Fame award, it also took out one of the major awards of the night, winning Metropolitan Hotel of the Year for Sandstone Point Hotel. The pub also claimed the awards for Best Family Dining, Best Entertainment Venue, Best Outdoor Non-Enclosed Facility and Best Marketed Hotel Accommodation.
Eatons Hill Hotel was also awarded Best Meetings and Events Venue, and Best Superior Accommodation. Director Rob Comiskey was overjoyed with the wins, particularly after such a tough year.
“After more than a year of turmoil and losses felt by everyone particularly those in the hospitality industry, it was fantastic to come together as a team and as an industry to celebrate our resurgence.
“We cannot thank the Queensland Hotels Association Awards enough for putting on another great Awards for Excellence gala. It was an incredibly successful night for the Comiskey Group, we were shocked and overjoyed to come away with eight awards total!”
Other major award wins
The other big winner of the night was Porters Plainland Hotel, which took out the Regional Hotel of the Year, as well as Best Pub-Style Accommodation and Best Keno Venue. The hotel’s head chef, Paul Lochel, also took out Chef of the Year.
Co-owner Melissa Porter was thrilled with the accolades, and thanked her staff and the support of the industry as a whole.
“We are overwhelmed by our wins from Monday night’s 2021 QHA Awards. We are so proud of our entire team. They all work so hard and deserve an accolade like this to recognise the amazing work they do,” stated Porter.
“We’re also so appreciative of the response from our local community and industry peers. We couldn’t do what we do without their patronage and support so we thank them. We are all so proud and incredibly happy!”
Hotelier of the Year was awarded to Scott Armstrong, managing director of Sunshine Coast Hotels. In very humble commentary, Armstrong suggested his team and the camaraderie in the industry were the reason he was being given the award.
“It was a great thrill to win this award and it speaks volumes for the team I have behind me that make what I do look good.
“I would like to congratulate all of the nominees and award winners of the various categories. Every year the bar keeps getting higher and it is harder to win any award so hat’s off to all of this year’s category winners and best of luck in the national awards.
“I have a talented management team and a host of loyal suppliers who have backed our business from day one and continue to provide insight to help us consistently improve what we do.”
Armstrong continued: “I have always enjoyed working in the hospitality industry and engaging with customers in the local communities where our pubs operate. We have a great camaraderie amongst the Queensland hoteliers and they are always keen to provide advice and support where needed.
“The more you put in the more you get out and hopefully I can continue to contribute to the industry in the years ahead.”