SYDNEY, September 3: In front of a record crowd of 600 hoteliers, industry leaders and major suppliers, the winners of the 2011 HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, presented by Sealy, have been announced.
Held at the prestigious Sydney Town Hall last night (Sep 2) and hosted by television personality Larry Emdur, the HM Awards have, for the 9th time, recognised the accommodation industry's finest staff, properties, brands and chains across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Major winners on the night were Pan Pacific's CEO and President, A Patrick Imbardelli (Asia-Pacific Hotelier of the Year), IHG's COO for Australasia - Bruce McKenzie (Australian Hotelier of the Year), Accor New Zealand's Paul Richardson (New Zealand Hotelier of the Year), Accor Hotels (Accommodation Chain), Hilton (Hotel Brand), InterContinental Sydney (Hotel of the Year) and Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa (Environmental Program).
Hamilton Island's qualia picked up three key awards (Australian Lodge, Resort and Spa), while Hilton Sydney also claimed a trifecta (Hotel Bar - Zeta, Engineer - Craig Cavers and General Manager - Paul Hutton).
Over NZD$65,000 was also raised on the night for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust in the greatest charity display the accommodation industry has seen for years.
“The accommodation industry's generosity and desire to help the people of Christchurch was absolutely remarkable,” said HM magazine managing editor James Wilkinson. “I am incredibly proud of the way the accommodation industry dug deep to help our friends and family across the Tasman in what are still such challenging times.”
The 2011 HM Awards were hosted by HM magazine, presented by Sealy, and co-hosted by AHS Hospitality, Intrust Super, ISIS and Philips.
“Once more we were proud to recognise the industry's finest, particularly the staff that have been doing such an amazing job over the last 12 months,” Wilkinson said. “Sure a hotel can be rewarded for its aesthetics, style, design and comfort, but it’s the people who work in hotels that gives the accommodation industry in Australasia its soul.
“This year, our people categories generated the most interest and in the case of Rising Star, held for the first time in 2011, the most nominations out of the 48 categories.
“On behalf of the team at HM magazine and all of our fantastic sponsors this year, congratulations to all of the winners, highly commended recipients and finalists in 2011,” Wilkinson said.
Four Hoteliers were also inducted into the HM Awards Hall of Fame. Former Mirvac CEO Andrew Turner was joined by Fritz Gubler, Max Player and Gavin Faull, with the trio recognised for their services to education, having been responsible for starting the Blue Mountains Hotel School outside Sydney and the Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Zealand.
The 2011 HM Awards saw not just a record crowd, but also a record number of entries with 1600 this year.