Article by Clyde Mooney, Managing Editor, Pubtic

Last week 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 on the Gold Coast and nominees from around the country were wined, dined and entertained as 43 winners across 38 categories were named.

Some notable winners included:

  • 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
  • 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.

The biggest crowns are always the Overall Hotel of the Year for Metropolitan and Regional.

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

“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 – The Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie.  They 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 said.

“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 – TAS
  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 – Metropolitan – Zagame’s Boronia Hotel, Boronia – VIC
  8. Best Gaming Venue – Regional – Kelly’s Motor Club Hotel, Cranbourne – VIC
  9. Best Hotel Accommodation – General Division – The Lucky Hotel, Newcastle – NSW
  10. Best Hotel Bar – Accommodation Division – Zebu Bar + Grill, Rydges Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie – NSW
  11. Best Hotel Group Operator Pegasus Leisure Group, Caulfield East – VIC
  12. Best Keno Venue – Porters Plainland Hotel, Plainland – QLD
  13. Best Marketed HotelAccommodation Division – Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Melbourne – VIC
  14. Best Marketed Hotel – General Division -The Woodcroft Hotel, Woodcroft – SA
  15. Best Meeting & Events Venue -Sheraton on the Park, Sydney – NSW
  16. Best Mid-Range Accommodation -Ibis Adelaide, Adelaide – SA
  17. Best Outdoor/Non Enclosed Area – Mangrove Hotel, Broome – WA
  18. Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division – Next Hotel Brisbane, Brisbane – QLD
  19. Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division – Next Hotel Brisbane, Brisbane – QLD
  20. Best Redeveloped Hotel – General Division joint winners -Beach House Hotel, Hervey Bay QLD & Collaroy Hotel, Collaroy- NSW
  21. Best Restaurant – Accommodation Division -The Playford, Adelaide – SA
  22. Best Restaurant – Metropolitan – The Railway Hotel, Windsor – VIC
  23. Best Restaurant – Regional -Frogmore Creek, Cambridge – TAS
  24. Best Retail Liquor Outlet– Shoreline Hotel, Howrah – TAS
  25. Best Sporting Entertainment Venue – Crown Sports Bar, Crown Perth, Burswood – WA
  26. Best Suite/Apartment Hotel – East Hotel, Canberra – ACT
  27. Best Superior Accommodation– Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny – QLD
  28. Best TAB Licensed Venue -Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff – NSW
  29. Best Tourism Initiative – Curtin Springs, Alice Springs – NT
  30. Chef of the Year – Nikhil Jain, National Convention Centre, Canberra – ACT
  31. Employee Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division joint winners -Donna Musarella, Crown Towers, Melbourne – VIC & Anura Yapa, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, The Rocks – NSW
  32. Employee Excellence in Service – General Division – Lee Cleal, Woolshed Pub, Docklands – VIC
  33. Front of House Employee of the Year – Accommodation Division – Jonathan Fambart, Park Hyatt Sydney, The Rocks – NSW
  34. Front of House Employee of the Year – General Division – Kurtis Bosley, Collaroy Hotel, Collaroy – NSW
  35. 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
  36. Outstanding Achievement in Training – Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara – NT
  37. Outstanding Community Service & Achievement – Belrose Hotel, Belrose – NSW
  38. Outstanding Community Service & Achievement – Treasury Casino & Hotel, Brisbane City – QLD
  39. Overall Hotel of the Year – Accommodation Division – Crown Towers, Melbourne – VIC
  40. Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan – Rosstown Hotel, Carnegie – VIC
  41. Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional Sandstone Point Hotel, Sandstone Point – QLD

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Main image: Sandstone Point Hotel.