By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
Australia’s pubs and accommodation hotels were celebrated on the Gold Coast on Monday night, with the Australian Hotels Association’s (AHA) National Awards held at RACV Royal Pines Resort, to celebrate the best venues across the country.
Comiskey Group's The Sandstone Point Hotel is awarded Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional.
Nominees represented every state and territory of Australia, showcasing the fantastic quality of hospitality. 187 different venues were nominated, a record for the AHA National Awards, which AHA national president, Peter Burnett, AM, suggested was a reflection of the strength of the industry.
“It’s a clear indication of the industry’s commitment to providing ongoing excellence. The AHA has over 5000 members, ranging from country pubs to national hotels, and the wide range of categories tonight certainly reflects the diversity of our great industry.
“We take pride in what our industry provides to the social and economic fabric of this country. We are now providing employment for over 270,000 people. This industry is a huge contributor to the economic growth and prosperity of Australia.”
The major awards on the night were spread throughout the country, with Matthew Nikakis’ Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie, Victoria, taking out Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan. Comiskey Group’s The Sandstone Point Hotel, in the Moreton Bay region of Queensland, was recognised as Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional.
The Sandstone Point Hotel has only been open for just over a year, so director Robert Comiskey was thrilled with the win.
“It is great to be recognised with such a prestigious award. We have a great team who put in so much effort and it is fantastic to see the recognition on a national scale. When we built the Hotel we put a great deal of thought into everything from the architecture to how the hotel would operate, and it’s great to see it all come together.”
Melbourne's Pegasus Leisure Group took out Best Hotel Group Operator of the Year, while South Australia’s RD Jones Group also did well on the night, with Best Bistro awarded to Moseley Bar & Kitchen and The Woodcroft Hotel taking out Best Marketed Hotel.
Group Operations Manager, Luke Donaldson, dedicated the win to Richard Jones, founder of the group, who passed away earlier this year.
“Having also won two National Awards in 2015, we’re extremely proud and appreciative of the team’s across both venues for their efforts in winning another two awards this year, especially Best Bistro for The Moseley.
“The award recognition this year is more sentimental for our team given the recent passing of Richard Jones, Founder and Managing Director of the RD Jones Group."
For individual awards, Gordon Broderick, the executive director of the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) was inducted into the Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame, much to the delight of the 450-plus crowd.
Lee Cleal of The Woolshed Pub in Melbourne took out Employee Excellence in Service, while Kurtis Boseley of The Collaroy in Sydney’s northern beaches, was named Front of House Employee of the Year.
"It's an extremely humbling experience to be nominated in the AHA national awards, let alone being able to walk away with a win from such an incredible room full of people,” said Boseley of the win. “The industry is moving so quickly currently that to be recognised as somebody that is moving with it, is a great feeling.”
Cleal concurred stating he was overwelmed with the state win, let alone the national recognition.
"I was so shocked. beign nominated in the nationals was a massive accolade for me on it's own."
The full list of winners at the AHA National Awards 2016 can be viewed here.