Australia’s hospitality finest gathered in Adelaide tonight to celebrate and learn who is the best of the best for 2023, at the AHA National Awards for Excellence.

More than 650 VIPs and industry guests joined the Association at the famous Adelaide Oval, with a dress code of ‘wear your whites’ to suit the unique venue.

Attendees enjoyed entertainment by Chris Sebastian, the night hosted by Australian entertainer Tim Campbell.

Finalists, comprising state winners from around the country, vied for a total of 53 trophies, presented by an assortment of industry names, including AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson.

Poignantly taking the prize for the Best Meeting and Events Venue this year, was host the Adelaide Oval.

Eligible for a string of awards, the Laundy group pulled in Best Deluxe Pub Accommodation for Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, and scored Best Family Dining for The Marsden Brewhouse.

The all-important Chef of the Year – General Division prize went to Solotel’s Fernando Sanchez, at Opera Bar, Sydney.

Taking the major title of Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional was the Grovedale Hotel, Victoria, which also picked up Best Gaming Venue – Regional.

And the crown for Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan went to Duxton Pubs Group’s Cremorne Hotel, in Unley, South Australia, which also snared Best Bar Presentation & Service – Metropolitan.

Awarded Best Hotel Group Operator for 2023 was the Comiskey Group, based in Queensland.

A customary highlight of the evening was the induction of the Farquhar brothers, known for the Caxton Hotel, in Queensland’s Petrie Terrace, into the prestigious Diageo Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame.

Congratulating all winners and finalists, AHA National President David Canny says the national awards are a “high-level clash” between the best from all states and territories, and rightfully emblematic of Australian culture.  

“These finalists prove nothing compares to the atmosphere, the noise and the sheer joy of being out in a lively pub full of good people, good food and great drinks,” said Mr Canny.

“But our hotels are so much more. They are a part of our social fabric, a constant in a world of change and a real-world place for connection in increasingly online-focused and isolated communities.

Full list of 2023 Winners

Excellence in Service – General Division: Simon Buchanan, Bentspoke Brewing, Canberra, ACT

Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division: Rob Weeden, The Fullerton Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division: Katelyn Jones, Crown Hotels Melbourne, VIC

Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division: Lynda Bailey, Mercure Belconnen Canberra, ACT

Front of House Employee of the Year – General Division: Declan Coffey, Hanky Panky Lounge, Darwin, NT

Front of House Employee of the Year- Accommodation Division: Toby Lier, Pullman Melbourne on the Park, VIC

Chef of the Year – General Division: Fernando Sanchez, Opera Bar, Sydney, NSW

Chef of the Year – Accommodation Division: Kelly Jackson, Crown Hotels Melbourne, VIC

Hotel Industry Rising Star – Accommodation Division: Dyan Suaco, The Langham Sydney, NSW

Hotel Industry Rising Star – General Division: Henry Wines, The Western Hotel, Ballarat, VIC

Outstanding Achievement in Training: The Langham Melbourne, VIC

Local Legend Award: Peter Appleby, The Grand Hotel Warrandyte, VIC

Outstanding Community Service & Achievement: The Old Woolstore Apartment Hobart, TAS

Excellence in Innovation, Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Practice: The Star Sydney, Pyrmont, NSW

Best Tourism Initiative: Tasmanian Wild Seafood Adventures, TAS

Best Bar Presentation & Service – Regional: Luna, Canberra, ACT

Best Bar Presentation & Service – Metropolitan: Cremorne Hotel, Unley, SA

Draught Beer Quality Award: The Shortland Hotel, NSW

Best Gaming Venue – Metropolitan: Cross Keys Hotel, Cavan, SA

Best Gaming Venue – Regional: Grovedale Hotel, VIC

Best Redeveloped Hotel – General Division: Portarlington Grand Hotel, VIC

Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division: InterContinental Sydney, NSW

Best Restaurant – Metropolitan: The Brompton, SA

Best Restaurant – Regional: Furneaux Restaurant, St Helens, TAS

Best Restaurant – Accomm Mid-Range to Superior: The Wintergarden, Hydro Majestic Hotel Blue Mountains, NSW

Best Restaurant – Accomm Deluxe: Altitude, Shangri-La Sydney, NSW

Best Traditional Pub Accommodation: Oscars Hotel & Café Bar, Ballarat, VIC

Best Deluxe Pub Accommodation: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, NSW

Best Meeting and Events Venue: Adelaide Oval, SA

Best Sporting Entertainment Venue: Burleigh Town Hotel, QLD

Best Entertainment Venue: Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, SA

Best Entertainment Venue: Sandstone Point Hotel, QLD – Hall of Fame

Best Outdoor/Non Enclosed Facility: Victoria Park Hotel, WA

Best Retail Liquor Outlet: Eatons Hill Hotel, QLD

Hall of Fame: The Farquhar Family, The Caxton Hotel, QLD

All Abilities Hotel – General Division: Duke of Brunswick Hotel, Adelaide, SA

All Abilities Hotel – Accommodation Division: Crown Perth, Burswood, WA

Best Family Dining: The Marsden Brewhouse, NSW

Best Wagering Venue: V Hotel, Virginia, SA

Best Marketed Hotel – General Division: Cataract on Paterson, Launceston, TAS

Best Marketed Hotel – Accommodation Division: Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, Pokolbin, NSW

Best Bistro – Regional: Mountain View Hotel, Whitfield, VIC

Best Bistro – Metro: Harbord Hotel, Freshwater, NSW

Best Mid-Range Accommodation: DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne, VIC

Best Superior Accommodation: Mindil Beach Casino Resort, Darwin, NT

Best Suite/Apartment Hotel: The Langham Gold Coast, QLD

Best Lifestyle/Resort Style Accommodation: RACV Cape Schanck Resort, VIC

Best Hotel Bar – Accommodation Division: Rooftop at QT Perth, WA

Best Deluxe Accommodation: COMO The Treasury, Perth, WA

Best Luxury Accommodation: Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Bowen Mountain, NSW

Best Hotel Group Operator: Comiskey Group, QLD

Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional: Grovedale Hotel, VIC

Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan: Cremorne Hotel, Unley, SA

Overall Hotel of the Year – Accommodation Division: The Langham Gold Coast, QLD

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