"The calibre of all the nominees was extremely high and a perfect demonstration of exactly why the North Easts hospitality industry is second to none."
Lisa Crocker, joint chair of the Association
The unsung heroes of the North East hotel industry were honoured for their work and dedication at a glittering awards ceremony in Newcastle on Sunday 19 May.
Hosted by award-winning journalist and BBC Breakfast business presenter Steph McGovern from Middlesbrough, more than 400 guests gathered for the North East Hotels Association annual Excellence Awards to celebrate the best of the hospitality industry in the region.
Winners were picked by a panel of independent judges from a shortlist of nominees in 10 categories. Both Seaham Hall in County Durham and the Copthorne Hotel Newcastle celebrated double wins.
At the event, held at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton, Seaham Hall’s Danielle Mottram received the award for the Warmest Welcome experience and Dannika Bilton was voted an exceptional team member in the Health and Wellness category.
Nikki Younger was rewarded for being an Inspirational Leader at the Copthorne Hotel and the House Keeping Team was triumphant in the Cleanliness award category.
John Brewster, aged 74, received a special Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a career spanning 56 years’ as a painter and decorator at Ramside Estates, the owners of Ramside Hall in Durham.
Also celebrating wins on the night were Olivia Morley of Malmaison Newcastle. The 23 year-old events coordinator was voted the industry’s Rising Star for demonstrating excellent leadership qualities and an ambassadorial spirit for the hospitality industry.
Laura Ann Wilson from New Northumbria Hotel won the Service Excellence category, Claire Davies from Doubletree by Hilton Newcastle Airport was presented with the Sales Excellence award.
The Support Services honour went to David Slaughter at Staybridge Suites Newcastle, Best Newcomer went to Rockliffe Hall’s Andrew Jennison and the Blue Energy Committee at Newcastle Gateshead Hilton scooped the Community Award.
Lisa Crocker, joint chair of the North East Hotels Association said: “The Excellence Awards provide a unique opportunity to celebrate the diverse range of talent in our industry.
“The calibre of all the nominees was extremely high and a perfect demonstration of exactly why the North East’s hospitality industry is second to none. All the winners represent the very finest in their categories and I would like to congratulate them all and everyone who entered.”
Guests and industry professionals were also treated to a prize-winning menu devised by two talented chefs who won the North East Hotels Association Great North Menu Challenge 2019.
Chris Donaldson from Hilton Newcastle Gateshead and Michael Parkinson from Ramside Hall in County Durham beat strong competition from eight other hotels to be crowned joint winners of this year’s competition, which was hosted by the Newcastle College Chefs’ Academy.
The judging panel was led by celebrated North East chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne, alongside competition sponsor Roger Crosby, general manager at specialist catering equipment supplier Crosby’s in Newcastle.
The North East Hotels Association was created to give hotels within the North East, from Tees Valley to North Northumberland, a collective identity and to represent the opinions and views of its members at regional and national levels. It is now believed to be the biggest in England, reflecting its importance to the regional economy.
The award categories were sponsored by: LA Taxis, Ringtons, HLA, SOS, Fishers Linen, North East England Chamber of Commerce, Bidfood, Warren Butterworth, Delifresh, NGI, Crosbys, Heineken, Bibendum Wines, Matthew Clarke, Tristar, PPD Print Group, HIT Training, Newcastle College, Gateshead College and Thomas Owen & Sons.