ACT’s best bars, restaurants and hotels celebrated at annual Hospitality and Tourism Awards

Brad Watts 24 July 2018

Winners are grinners: Around 450 people attended the AHA ACT 2018 Hospitality and Tourism Awards in Canberra to celebrate outstanding achievements. Photo: Brad Watts.

The Duxton bar, East Hotel, National Convention Centre and Little National Hotel were the major winners at the 2018 Hospitality & Tourism Awards hosted by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ACT Branch on Monday, July 23.

Other leading hospitality and tourism venues to win accolades at the prestigious annual event, attended by more than 450 people at the National Convention Centre, included:

  • Best Cocktail Bar – Black Market
  • Best Restaurant – Pomegranate
  • Best Tourism Initiative – King O’Malley’s
  • Best Deluxe Accommodation (5 Star hotel) – Joint winners: Jamala Wildlife Lodge and Hotel Realm
  • Best Local – Joint winners: Edgars Inn and Public.

Across more than 30 categories, there were a number of new Awards – including Best Speciality Themed Restaurant, won by RAKU, and Best Burger, taken out by The District at Crace.

Iconic local venue King O’Malley’s won the Best Tourism Initiative Award. Photo: Brad Watts.

Outstanding hospitality employees and high-achieving industry leaders were also honoured including accommodation hotel identity Paul Tomas, who won Member of the Year, and licensed venue stalwart Brian Smith winning the John Press Award.

East Hotel won Best Suite/Apartment Hotel and Best Superior Accommodation, while Little National Hotel in Barton won Best First-Class Accommodation (4 Star), Best Environmental Practice and Best Front of House Employee with David Utschink.

However, one of the stand-out venues to be honoured was The Duxton at O’Connor, that won three Awards: Best Functions and Events Venue, Best TAB Licensed Venue and Best Pub Eatery.

General Manager David Quinn said he was delighted with Duxton’s results, given the high calibre of licensed hospitality venues and pubs across Canberra.

“There are so many fantastic venues in Canberra and it’s a real honour and privilege to be recognised among your peers,” said Mr Quinn.

“We have been working hard for the past seven years to achieve this result and it’s a tribute to the team to win these amazing accolades, especially Best Pub Eatery.”

Highly-acclaimed East Hotel took home two Awards including Best Suite/Apartment Hotel. Photo: Brad Watts.

East Hotel General Manager Todd Handy said: “This year was our 6th year of operation and we’ve won Best Superior (4.5 Star) hotel three times locally and Best Suite/Apartment Hotel every year since opening – as well as three times at a national level.”

This really demonstrates what a passionate team of superstars we have working together to create amazing experiences for guests visiting the nation’s capital.”

The local accommodation hotel, hospitality and tourism sector is vital to the ACT’s economy and contributes over $2 billion to the local economy and employs 16,000 Canberrans, said AHA ACT General Manager Anthony Brierley.

“Competition was incredibly tough this year, particularly given the high number of nominees. I congratulate all award winners,” Mr Brierley said.

Winners of AHA ACT Awards will be eligible to compete at the AHA National Awards for Excellence to be held in September on the Gold Coast this year.

Hyatt Hotel Canberra won the Best Functions and Events Hotel. Photo: Brad Watts.

2018 AHA ACT Hospitality and Tourism Awards – WINNERS

  1. John Press Award – Brian Smith (Hopscotch)
  2. Member of the Year – Paul Tomas (Rydges Canberra)
  3. Best Restaurant Service Employee – Maria Estanillo (Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar, Hotel Realm)
  4. Best Restaurant Cookery Employee – Matthew Ouwerkerk (Highgate Kitchen & Bar)
  5. Best Front of House Employee – Joint winners – Ringo Fung (National Convention Centre) and David Utschink (Little National Hotel)
  6. Best Environmental Practice – Little National Hotel
  7. Best Tourism Initiative – King O’Malley’s
  8. Best Cocktail Bar – Black Market
  9. Best Wine List – Bar Rochford
  10. Best Live Entertainment Venue – Molly
  11. Best Late-Night Entertainment Venue – Hopscotch
  12. Best TAB Licensed Venue – The Duxton
  13. Best Sporting Entertainment Venue – The Dock
  14. Best Functions and Events Venue – The Duxton
  15. Best Functions and Events – Hotel Hyatt Hotel Canberra
  16. Best Conference and Events Venue – National Convention Centre
  17. Best New/Redeveloped Hotel – Brassey Hotel
  18. Best New/Redeveloped Venue – Capital Brewing Co
  19. Best Suite/Apartment Hotel – East Hotel
  20. Best Mid-Range Accommodation (3-3.5 Star) – Forrest Hotel & Apartments
  21. Best First-Class Accommodation (4 Star) – Little National Hotel
  22. Best Superior Accommodation (4.5 Star) – East Hotel
  23. Best Hotel Restaurant – Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar
  24. Best Deluxe Accommodation (5 Star) – Joint winners – Jamala Wildlife Lodge and Hotel Realm
  25. Best Specialty Themed Restaurant – RAKU
  26. Best Restaurant – Pomegranate
  27. Best Casual Dining – Black Fire Restaurant
  28. Best Beer (draught or craft) – Joint winners – Bentspoke Brewing Co and Capital Brewing Co
  29. Best Steak – Capitol Bar & Grill, QT Hotel
  30. Best Burger – The District
  31. Best Pub Eatery – The Duxton
  32. Best Local – Joint winners – Edgars Inn and Public.

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