On Monday night over 460 guests and professionals of the hotel industry gathered to recognise the Australian Hotels Association’s 2016 National Awards for Excellence.

The red carpet event was held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort and nominees from around the country were wined, dined and entertained as 43 winners across 38 categories were revealed.

The Awards are determined through the dedicated commitment and scrutiny by a dedicated team of judges, assessing nominations from an eligible pool of hotels elected by each State and Territory.

Competition is always fierce, but more so than ever in a vibrant industry vying for business amongst increasingly specialised competition. This can be seen in the fact that all States and Territories are represented in the 2016 list of the Best of the Best.

woodcroft-hotel_woodcroft_fbSome notable winners in the current climate were:

  • RD Jones Group taking out 2 major awards: Best Bistro – Metropolitan, for The Moseley and Glenelg, and Best Marketed Hotel – General Division, for the Woodcroft Hotel
  • Solotel’s Golden Sheaf taking out Best Entertainment venue
  • The family-operated Lucky Hotel in Newcastle gaining Best Hotel Accommodation – General

    Redcape CEO John Russell
    Redcape CEO John Russell
  • Recently Good Food Guide Hatted the Railway Hotel, Windsor, Victoria backing it up with Best Restaurant – Metropolitan
  • Best Tourism Initiative and Outstanding Achievement in Training, going to Northern Territory operations Curtin Springs, in Alice Springs, and Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, in Yulara (respectively)
  • Redcape’s Belrose Hotel taking Outstanding Community Service & Achievement


A special highlight is always the induction of “an influential and positive force” in the industry into the Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame. This year it was Melbourne-based liquor industry stalwart, Gordon Broderick.

L-R: AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson, Gordon Broderick, Diageo CEO David Smith

The biggest crowns are always the Overall Hotel of the Year for Metropolitan and Regional. The standard is forcing this to be judged on nothing shy of perfection.

AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson told PubTIC there is no room for error if a venue wants to be the best.

“Successful venues today are a combination of a great venue and facilities, a great publican, great staff and great products.”

In this context, winner of Australia’s best overall regional hotel for 2016 was no newcomer, already holding a cabinet of State and National awards.

Sandstone Point_outside_LR_lead
Sandstone Point Hotel

The Comiskey Group’s Sandstone Point Hotel sits on unobstructed water frontage overlooking the idyllic Pumicestone Passage and Bribie Island. The huge custom-built operation includes every manor of patron amenity, including an expansive children’s playground and petting zoo and concert amphitheatre.

Now open for just over a year, it joins its sister venue Eatons Hill Hotel on the winners’ podium.

“It is great to be recognised with such a prestigious award,” stated Group director, Robert Comiskey.

“We have a great team who put in so much effort and it is fantastic to see the recognition on a National scale. When we built the Hotel we put a great deal of thought into everything from the architecture to how the Hotel would operate, and it’s great to see it all come together.”

The winner of Best Overall Hotel – Metropolitan was the Victorian winner of the same award and recognises the necessity of team to get to this kind of recognition.

The Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie began a redevelopment five years ago, with the simple aim of creating a modern, comfortable pub environment for all demographics. The Nikarkis family instructed the operation needed to use excellent produce to produce great food, at a reasonable price, and with excellent, friendly service. The results have spoken for themselves.

“We have five new outdoor areas, the largest being the sports bar where we have live entertainment along with large screens showing sports, but I wanted the food and beverage side to realise its full potential,” Matt Nikarkis told PubTIC.

“I was extremely proud of my staff when we won the State award for best bistro and best Overall Metropolitan Hotel late last year.

“When we received the National award for best Overall Hotel Metropolitan I was very surprised and humbled.

“Along with my general manager, Chris Thomas, and head chef, Vic Gervasi, I would like to thank all our staff for the hard work and dedication that helped us win this prestigious award.”



1. Best Bistro – Metropolitan

The Moseley Bar & Kitchen, Glenelg – SA

2. Best Bistro – Regional

Beltana Hotel, Lindisfarne – TA

3. Best Deluxe Accommodation

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Wolgan Valley – NSW

4, Best Entertainment Venue

The Sheaf, Sydney – NSW

5. Best Environmental & Energy Efficiency Practice

Quality Hotel Downtowner on Lygon, Carlton – VIC

6. Best Gaming Venue – Metropolitan

Zagame’s Boronia Hotel, Boronia – VIC

7. Best Gaming Venue – Regional

Kelly’s Motor Club Hotel, Cranbourne – VIC

8. Best Hotel Accommodation – General Division

The Lucky Hotel, Newcastle – NSW

9. Best Hotel Bar – Accommodation Division

Zebu Bar + Grill, Rydges Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie – NSW

Best Hotel Group Operator Pegasus Leisure Group, Caulfield East – VIC

10. Best Keno Venue

Porters Plainland Hotel, Plainland – QLD

11. Best Marketed Hotel – Accommodation Division

Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Melbourne – VIC

12. Best Marketed Hotel – General Division

The Woodcroft Hotel, Woodcroft – SA

13. Best Meeting & Events Venue

Sheraton on the Park, Sydney – NSW

14. Best Mid-Range Accommodation

ibis Adelaide, Adelaide – SA

15. Best Outdoor/Non Enclosed Area

Mangrove Hotel, Broome – WA

16. Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division

NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Brisbane – QLD

17. Best Redeveloped Hotel – General Division joint winner

Beach House Hotel, Hervey Bay – QLD

Collaroy Hotel, Collaroy – NSW

18. Best Restaurant – Accommodation Division

The Playford, Adelaide – SA

19. Best Restaurant – Metropolitan

The Railway Hotel, Windsor – VIC

20. Best Restaurant – Regional

Frogmore Creek, Cambridge – TAS

21. Best Retail Liquor Outlet

Shoreline Hotel, Howrah – TAS

22. Best Sporting Entertainment Venue

Crown Sports Bar, Crown Perth, Burswood – WA

23. Best Suite/Apartment Hotel

East Hotel, Canberra – ACT

24. Best Superior Accommodation

Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny – QLD

25. Best TAB Licensed Venue

Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff – NSW

26. Best Tourism Initiative

Curtin Springs, Alice Springs – NT

27. Chef of the Year

Nikhil Jain, National Convention Centre, Canberra – ACt

28. Employee Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division joint winner

Donna Musarella, Crown Towers, Melbourne – VIC

Anura Yapa, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, The Rocks – NSW

29. Employee Excellence in Service – General Division

Lee Cleal, Woolshed Pub, Docklands – VIC

30. Front of House Employee of the Year – Accommodation Division

Jonathan Fambart, Park Hyatt Sydney, The Rocks – NSW

31. Front of House Employee of the Year – General Division

Kurtis Bosley, Collaroy Hotel, Collaroy – NSW

32. Hotel Industry Rising Star joint winners

Annabelle Gibney, Accor Hotels & Resorts, Melbourne – VIC

Drew Harry, Western Hotel, Ballarat – VIC

Michael Strom, The Gate Bar and Bistro, Perth – WA

33. Outstanding Achievement in Training

Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara – NT

34. Outstanding Community Service & Achievement

Belrose Hotel, Belrose – NSW

35. Outstanding Community Service & Achievement

Treasury Casino & Hotel, Brisbane City – QLD

36. Overall Hotel of the Year – Accommodation Division

Crown Towers, Melbourne – VIC

37. Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan

Rosstown Hotel, Carnegie – VIC

38. Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional

Sandstone Point Hotel, Sandstone Point – QLD



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