Watervale Hotel, in South Australia’s Clare Valley, has been awarded Corporate LiveWire’s 2023 Restaurant of the Year Award, in it’s global awards.

Corporate LiveWire is a British print and digital publication that covers the corporate sector globally, and their annual global awards are well renowned. Of almost 700 categories, there are 21 Food and Drink awards, with Watervale Hotel being the only Australian winner this year.

In awarding Watervale Hotel with the Restaurant of the Year award, Corporate LiveWire noted how unique its offering is.

“…the Watervale Hotel is a relaxing overnight stay, a casual country pub and a fresh farm-to-plate restaurant all rolled into one… Food and wine are core elements of the offering here, and ethical epicurean experiences are around every corner.”

“The judging panel was particularly impressed by the eclectic and high-quality range of dishes at the Watervale Hotel restaurant.”

Owner and executive chef Nicola Palmer reacted to winning the award.

“it’s pretty unbelievable. An amazing award to win. I guess we won it on the integrated offering that we do, and the fact that they think that between the farm, the farm tours, the fresh farm-to-plate, and the ethical and organic outlook is truly unique in the world.”

Nicola Palmer among the produce on Penobscot Farm. Photo: John Krüger

Earlier this year the Watervale Hotel received a similar global award from UK publication LUXlife, focused on luxury tourism.

Palmer and her sommelier husband Warrick Duthy have owned the Watervale Hotel since 2018, and have transformed the hotel and the nearby Penobscot Farm into an eco-tourism haven, growing the majority of the produce used in the hotel’s kitchen, offering farm tours, wine masterclasses, chef’s table and degustation dinner.

Sustainability is championed in every single aspect of the hotel’s operations, to a level unmatched by any other hospitality operation in the country. Palmer recently made a presentation at the 2023 Pub Leaders Summit on just some of the sustainability practices that she and the team at the hotel have put into place, that floored a lot of the publicans in attendance that day.

The food and ethical epicurean experiences at Watervale Hotel have attracted diners from all over the world. Image: Duy Dash.

In the last couple of years the hotel has won numerous domestic awards from several different organisations as well, and the awards have seen their following grow, both interstate and overseas. After the LuxLife win earlier in the year, the hotel saw bookings made from people in Europe and North America. One couple from Luxembourg flew into Adelaide and travelled directly to Watervale for their first night in Australia. Another couple from California who were in Adelaide for Comicon decided to extend their Australian visit so they could dine at the hotel.

“We’ve had people book to come here from overseas, and they’ve flown straight into Adelaide and driven straight up to us to come and do our experiences. So you know, it’s pretty phenomenal. These awards, do get your name out to the part of the population that that we’re trying to attract, which is, which is people interested in ethical epicurean experiences,” stated Palmer.

You can read more about the Watervale Hotel in the profile piece below that in the October 2022 issue of Australian Hotelier.

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