The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) announced the 2023 Awards for Excellence winners earlier this week, at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
Over 700 hospitality representatives and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the winners announced across 38 categories compromising the state’s best cafes, restaurants, accommodation providers, pubs, sporting clubs and tourism operators.
With a record number of 500 entries from 200 venues across the state, it was Launceston’s Plough Inn that won Hotel/Pub Tavern of the Year – Metro crown, as well as Best Sports Bar and Best Outdoor Experience.
Owners Di Warren and Peter Goss are ecstatic about the win.
“We are totally in shock. We work hard at providing the best experience for our guests so to receive this recognition makes our team proud and honoured at what we try and achieve every day. We have a young team and we are always trying to help them learn, grow and mature. When they see this hard work pay off, it’s super rewarding,” Warren said.
The team attributed the success of the Plough Inn to its popular rooftop area and extensive sports viewing opportunities. A fully retractable roof allows guests to enjoy the rooftop space all year round, and it is a popular space for functions.
“We work hard to accommodate our function groups to ensure a smooth, hassle free event. Again, sport is offered on screens different tv screens along with private booths to watch your own selected channel. We ensure events are held on our roof top for all major sporting events,” Goss explained.
In addition, sports are screened in all five sections of the venue.
“Our sports bar is obviously the predominant place to see all areas of sport but we can isolate any area to whichever sport and individual may want to watch. We also ensure the sound is at an appropriate level at varying times of the day to ensure we are capturing the correct market,” Warren added.
For the second year in a row, the Great Lake Hotel, located in Miena in the state’s centre, was named Hotel/Pub Tavern of the Year – Regional.
The Great Lake Hotel’s biggest asset is the natural beauty of its surrounding area, according to James Johns, managing director of Miena Village.
“Our location in particular is special because of our proximity to the Tasmanian World Wilderness Heritage Area that includes the area of the Thousand Lakes. The surrounding plateau is recognised as the world’s best wild brown trout fishery and in season provides excellent deer hunting opportunities. Everyone is welcome here and we have customers arriving in all ways, from vehicles to horses, as well as cycling, walking and arriving in helicopters. That’s not to mention the three roaring log fires in the hotel that greet every customer like a warm hug,” Johns described.
The staff also create a unique atmosphere for the guests.
“There is a different lifestyle in a rural and regional location that comes through in our team. We don’t run work track statements, instead let all our people be themselves and display the many and varied personalities you find in a Highlands location,” Johns added.
In addition, founder of Willie Smith’s cider’s Andrew Smith was awarded the Premier’s Award for Contribution to the Community, acknowledging his impact on the Huon Region and the rest of the state.
THA CEO Steve Old congratulated this year’s winners.
“The quality and volume of the nominations this year reached unprecedented levels – our casual dining award had 58 nominations alone – and in most of the categories the judges found it extremely difficult to split the votes,” Old said.
The Tasmanian winners will now have the opportunity to represent Tasmania at the AHA National Awards at Adelaide Oval on 27 November.