By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

Close to 500 industry leaders gathered on the Gold Coast on Monday night to laud stand-out pub operations across the country.

The 2017 Australian Hotels Association National Awards for Excellence dinner, held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, rewarded an industry composed of large national groups, and family-run venues from across Australia.

“The hotel industry is one of 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,” said AHA national president Scott Leach.

“Our industry sets the standard internationally and awards nights are about recognising our greatest asset, our people.”

Venues from all around the country were recognised with winners as diverse as the grand State Buildings in Perth (Overall Hotel of the Year – Metro) and the relaxed and spacious Prince Alfred Hotel in Ipswich, Queensland (Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional).

The Johnson family, who have owned and operated the Prince Alfred Hotel since 1987, were ecstatic with the win.

“We were thrilled and humbled to win the award as all nominees in the state and Australian awards categories are of such a high standard,’ Rachel Johnson told Australian Hotelier.

“Like all of the finalists we are passionate about the hospitality industry and we are passionate about investing in our venue and our staff to deliver a wonderful experience for our customers.”

The other major award of the night, Best Hotel Group Operator, was presented to Colonial Leisure Group, which operates venues nationwide.

“It was an honour and a privilege we take very seriously to be in a room with all the state winners and to take out such a prestigious major category. [It] was a shock but also a reward to our team,” stated Grady Patching, GM of Colonial Leisure Group.

The other highlight of the night was the induction of Mark Robertson OAM into the AHA National Hall of Fame. Robertson has been in the pub industry in Victoria since the 1990s as CEO of Hotel & Leisure Management. He has also served as the Vice President (metropolitan) of AHA Victoria since 2008, and has been instrumental in establishing charity efforts.

Robertson reflected on his career in the industry, expressing a sentiment that is shared with all members of the industry.

“It is both a privilege and honour to be able to contribute to the well being of our wonderful industry for the benefit of all stakeholders, employers, suppliers, employees and of course our customers.”

AHA National 2017
Best Overall Hotel of the Year (Regional) winners from the Prince Alfred Hotel in Ipswich

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