'Best of the best' honoured at AHA NSW Awards for Excellence

26 November, 2013

The Clovelly Hotel (Clovelly) and The Central Hotel (Shellharbour) have won the top awards at the NSW hotel industry's night of nights.

The Clovelly won Overall hotel of the year – city from a field of ten top venues, while The Central Hotel took out Overall hotel of the year – country at the 2013 AHA NSW Awards for Excellence on Monday night (25 November).

Industry icons John and Justin Hemmes were honoured for their contributions to hospitality with both inducted into the AHA NSW Hall of Fame to a standing ovation from the large crowd of more than 1000 business and community leaders.

There were a record 338 finalists across 32 categories at this year's awards.

Winners included:

  • Best traditional hotel bar – Willoughby Hotel (Willoughby)
  • Best cocktail lounge/bar – Bella Vista Hotel (Bella Vista)
  • Best boutique bar – Palmer & Co – Establishment (Sydney)
  • Best family-friendly hotel – Hotel Pennant Hills (Pennant Hills)
  • Best new/redeveloped hotel country – Central Hotel (Shellharbour)
  • Best new/redeveloped hotel city – The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room (Sydney)
  • Outstanding community service – Camden Valley Inn (Camden Park)
  • Best restaurant country – 221 Restaurant and Bar, Royal Oak Hotel (Cessnock)
  • Best restaurant city – Bistro Moncur Woollahra Hotel (Woollahra)
  • Best steak venue – Willow Tree Inn (Willow Tree)
  • Best entertainment venue – Cargo Bar (Sydney)
  • Best sports bar – Coogee Bay Hotel (Coogee)
  • Cocktail bartender of the year – Matt Fitzgerald – Palmer & Co
  • Chef of the year – Nathan Johnson – ivy – Felix
  • Group operator of the year – Merivale
  • Individual property owner of the year – Graham Campion – Longueville Hotel

AHA NSW CEO Paul Nicolaou said the Awards for Excellence set the standard for the nation's hotel industry.

"This year we had more finalists in more categories than ever before," he said.

"Our 1800 premises across NSW are the backbone of the tourism and hospitality industry and set the benchmark for quality service.

"That was on display last night – the independent judges agreed on one thing – the quality of all finalists was extremely high.

"I congratulate not only the winners, but all hoteliers big and small on their community spirit and their dedication to the industry and their patrons.

"I would also like to congratulate John and Justin Hemmes on their induction into the Hall of Fame – they have made an enormous contribution to the hospitality sector in Sydney and it's great to see that recognised."