After a three-year hiatus, the 2022 AHA NSW Awards for Excellence were back with a bang, as 1500 guests gathered in The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve to celebrate hotels from across the state.

“The AHA NSW Awards for Excellence is the pinnacle of our events calendar and celebrates the hard work and achievements of those in our industry,” AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said.

“After missing this event for the past few years due to the pandemic, there has never been a better time to come together, celebrate and recognise the resilience of our incredible industry.”

Momento Hospitality and Gem Hotel, Griffith were big winners on the night, taking out three awards each, including their respective Hotel of the Year categories.

Momento Hospitality’s youngest pub, Duke of Dural, was named Metropolitan Hotel of the Year two years after being constructed. The group also won Best Wine List and Best Unique Bar Experience for Sarino’s at Mullane’s Hotel.

“It was great to see the industry awards back in full swing for the biggest event ever. Momento is very proud of its nominations and awards received,” stated CEO Marcello Colosimo.

“The Sarinos team have done a great job elevating the hotel dining experience and the team will have their two awards front and centre at their host stand.

“The Duke winning Hotel of the Year is a fanatic achievement for the group. It is a quintessential locals hotel that serves great food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere, served by a truly dedicated team. Led by the GM Ben Waters and Head Chef Brad Wells, it has quickly become a favourite spot in the Northwest for the local community and this award recognises that.”

While celebrating the wins, Colosimo also took a moment to thank the AHA for its support of the industry over the last couple of years.

“I would also like to thank the AHA for putting on the event and their leadership throughout a tough period in hotel history, and also the sponsors for their continued support.”

The team from Duke of Dural, winners of Metropolitan Hotel of the Year.

Regional Hotel of the Year was won by Gem Hotel in Griffith, operated by Knox Hotel Group. The hotel also won Regional Gaming Venue of the Year, as well as Regional Chef of the Year for Anthony Fullerton, the head chef at the hotel’s restaurant, The Bull & Bell Steakhouse.

“We are very proud. The team has worked really hard to get here and it’s great to have that recognised. These awards for the Gem Hotel reinforce to the wider community that Griffith is a fantastic place, a town that really punches above its weight. It’s the place to be!” stated group general manager Tim Olivero.

Another major winner on the night was Flower Hotels, taking out the highly contested Group Hotel Operator of the Year, as well as Best Parmi for Settlers Inn Hotel.

“Very humbled by the win against such a competitive and established field of operators, and I think we are also the first regional operators to win. Clearly want to thank my staff who have been truly amazing in challenged times in recent years,” stated managing director Alistair Flower.

Individual Hotel Operator of the Year was awarded to Simon Barbato from Woollahra Hotel, while Collie Hotel took out the People’s Choice Award. Inducted into the Hall of Fame this year was Maureen Thornett, matriarch and operator of The Royal Oak Hotel Balmain.

“This stand-out list of winners is proof that despite the adversity and impacts of COVID-19 our pubs are still some of the best in the world – I congratulate them all,” stated Whelan.

The full list of winners can be viewed here.

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