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Seabreeze, Bradford hotels shine at national hospitality awards


Two Hunter-based locations were among the “best of the best” at the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards for Excellence on Monday night.

More than 500 VIPs and guests gathered for the annual presentation dinner, which recognises the finest employees and places in the hospitality and accommodation industry, at Hobart’s Princes Wharf No.1.

The Hotel Industry Rising Star went to Ricci-lee Wheeler of The Seabreeeze Hotel at Nelsons Bay.

Rutherford’s Bradford Hotel also scooped the pool after being named the Best Gaming Venue in a regional area.

AHA president Scott Leach said the function was a significant and morale-boosting event, given the enormous challenges the industry has faced over the past two years.

“While we took the opportunity to laud our ‘stars’, the occasion was just as much about an acknowledgement of the resilience and commitment of our members’ right across the spectrum,” he stated.

“Against all odds, industry operators right around the country have continued to provide the highest possible levels of industry service and customer experience.

“Their innovation, their optimism and their commitment has shone through.

“As we rightly celebrate our winners, we also acknowledge and salute the wonderful contributions of each and every one of our industry operators during the toughest period in the industry’s long history.

“Australia’s hospitality industry is second to none.”

Mr Leach said the annual awards was about rewarding new ideas, excellence and old-fashioned hard work in venues ranging from mum and dad-run country pubs to huge, five-star accommodation hotels.

“It’s also an opportunity to recognise the individual stars of our industry,” he explained.

“They will set the standards for the future and ensure Australian hospitality continues to enjoy world -wide recognition.”

Among the highlights was the induction of Queensland’s industry stalwart Tom McGuire AM (2021 inductee) and South Australia’s Greg Fahey (2020 inductee) into the prestigious Diageo Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame.

The Overall Hotel of the Year at a metropolitan level went to the Sandstone Point Hotel in Queensland, while regionally, the winner was The Bridgeport Hotel at Murray Bridge in South Australia.

The best restaurant in the Accommodation Division went to Altitude Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, while the Tinamba Hotel in Victoria secured the Best Regional Restaurant.

Saffire Freycinet at Coles Bay in Tasmania won the Deluxe Accommodation, while the Overall Hotel of the Year Accommodation Division went to MACq01 Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania.

Blanche Bar in Karratha, Western Australia, was recognised for its effort in the Best Tourism Initiative section, while the Best Hotel Accommodation General Division went to Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel in Sydney.

The prestigious Chef of the Year was awarded to Adam Upton-Browning of Marnong Estate at Mickleham in Victoria, while The Botanical Hotel in South Yarra took home the top honours in Best Bar Presentation and Service in a metropolitan area.

AHA National Awards for Excellence

  • Employee Excellence in Service – General Division

WINNER: Molly, Canberra, ACT (Jess Arena)

  • Front of House Employee of the Year – General Division

WINNER: Uraidla Hotel, SA (Heath Johansen)

  • Chef of the Year

WINNER: Marnong Estate, Mickleham, VIC (Adam Upton-Browning)

  • Employee Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division

WINNER: Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa, Yarra Glen, VIC (Mel Watson)

  • Front of House Employee of the Year – Accommodation Division

WINNER: Mount Lofty House, Crafers, SA (Chris Speck)

  • Hotel Industry Rising Star

WINNER: The Seabreeze Hotel, Nelson Bay, NSW (Ricci-Lee Wheeler)

  • Best Tourism Initiative

WINNER: Blanche Bar, Karratha, WA

  • Best Bar Presentation & Service – Regional

WINNER: Exchange Hotel, Kilcoy, QLD

  • Best Bar Presentation & Service – Metropolitan

WINNER: Botanical Hotel, South Yarra, VIC

  • Draught Beer Quality Award

WINNER: Noonamah Tavern, NT

  • Best Hotel Bar – Accommodation Division

WINNER: Ovolo Woolloomooloo, NSW

  • Best Retail Liquor Outlet

WINNER: Bracken Ridge Tavern, QLD

  • Best TAB Licensed Venue

WINNER: Newmarket Tavern, Flemington, VIC

  • Best Keno Venue

WINNER: Welcome Stranger Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

  • Best Gaming Venue – Regional

WINNER: Bradford Hotel, Rutherford, NSW

  • Best Gaming Venue – Metropolitan

WINNER: Sugar Gum Hotel, Hillside, VIC

  • Best Family Dining

WINNER: Treendale Farm Hotel, Australind, WA

  • Best Restaurant – Metropolitan

WINNER: The Old Synagogue, Perth, WA

  • Best Restaurant – Accommodation Division

WINNER: Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, NSW

  • Best Restaurant – Regional

WINNER: Tinamba Hotel, VIC

  • Best Marketed Hotel – General Division

WINNER: Sandstone Point Hotel, QLD

  • Best Marketed Hotel – Accommodation Division

WINNER: The Island Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, QLD

  • Best Meeting and Events Venue

WINNER: Eaton’s Hill Hotel, Brisbane, QLD

  • Best Suite/Apartment Hotel

WINNER: East Hotel, Kingston, ACT

  • Best Sporting Entertainment Venue

WINNER: Northies Cronulla Hotel, NSW

  • Best Environmental & Energy Efficiency Practice

WINNER: Watervale Hotel, SA

  • Best Superior Accommodation

JOINT WINNERS: Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock Resort, NT and the Ship Inn Stanley, TAS

  • Best Hotel Accommodation – General Division

WINNER: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, NSW

  • Best Mid-Range Accommodation

WINNER: Holiday Inn Sydney Airport, NSW

  • Best Bistro – Regional

WINNER: The Heritage Balnarring, VIC

  • Best Bistro – Metropolitan

WINNER: Stirling Hotel, SA

  • Best Entertainment Venue

WINNER: The Corner Hotel, Richmond, VIC

  • Outstanding Community Service & Achievement

WINNERS: Duke of Brunswick Hotel, Adelaide, SA

  • Best Outdoor/Non-Enclosed Area

WINNERS: Barangaroo House, Sydney, NSW

  • Outstanding Achievement in Training

WINNER: Cataract on Paterson, Launceston, TAS

  • Best Redeveloped Hotel – General Division

WINNER: Tattersalls Hotel, Armidale, NSW

  • Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division

WINNER: Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences, QLD

  • Best Deluxe Accommodation

WINNER: Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay, TAS

  • 2020 Diageo Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame

WINNER: Greg Fahey, SA

  • 2021 Diageo Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame


  • Best Hotel Group Operator

WINNER: Sand Hill Road, VIC

  • Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional

WINNER: Bridgeport Hotel, Murray Bridge, SA

  • Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan

WINNER: Sandstone Point Hotel, QLD

  • Overall Hotel of the Year – Accommodation Division

WINNER: Mac01, Hobart, TAS

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