Harrogate’s hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Monday night (June 5) during a gala dinner at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.
The event had a jungle theme based around “I’m in Hospitality Get Me Out of Here!’ with the hosts skydiving in for the opening to help raise awareness and money for St Michaels Hospice 30 year anniversary.
Now in their ninth year, the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by Destination Harrogate, was hosted by Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
The Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards aim to promote the town’s hospitality offering through celebrating and rewarding those individuals who show the highest levels of commitment and strive towards excellence on the town’s behalf.
Earlier this year members of the public and visitors to Harrogate were invited to nominate individuals who they thought deserved special recognition.
Record entries of more than 1,500 nominations were collected before a shortlist was chosen by judges across the eleven categories.
David Ritson, Chair of Destination Harrogate and General Manager of the Old Swan Hotel, said;
“The awards are a fantastic event for the town and beyond. They reward not only the winners, but all those who are shortlisted and work in every area of hospitality, recognising the effort and commitment they make on a daily basis.”
He added: “We received so many entries this year and it was great to see such a large number of the community getting involved.
"We have been able to reward some very worthy winners.
"The nominations we receive outline the amazing feats that this industry can generate. We are extremely lucky to live and work in a town where the community comes together to make it such a great place.”
This year two new categories were added, Restaurant of the Year and Bar of the Year sponsored by Visit Harrogate and Timothy Taylor’s respectively. The winners were Norse and 10 Devonshire Place and they both received tremendous support from their customers.
Simon Cotton, General Manager of the Cedar Court hotel and co-organiser of the awards commented “We would like to thank everyone who supported us in the awards, we had a record response to nominations and a record number of people attend the dinner and awards at the Royal Hall.
"The hospitality sector is so important to this town’s economy and it is wonderful to see the crème de la crème of their category being acclaimed for their efforts; both those shortlisted and those who won deserve their ‘moment’ in the spotlight and it was great to see everyone celebrating tonight!”
Simon added: “It was great to be able to support St Michaels Hospice too this year and thanks to a fabulous audience, we managed to raise over £3,000 on the night with more to come”.
The Harrogate Ambassador of the Year was won by John Fox.
In his illustrious career John was a previous Mayor of the borough and more recently was praised for his work with Harrogate at Christmas and championing the efforts of the volunteer sector in the area.
John’s latest project is working with Mike Proctor, President Elect of the Harrogate District Chamber to prepare a ‘Harrogate BID’ (Business Investment District) to raise money from the business community to fund benefits for the town.
In John’s words this is to “bring more people into Harrogate town centre, make them stay longer, spend more and leave happy.
With nine member hotels, Destination Harrogate welcomes almost 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs over 900 members of staff.
The Association has been in existence for many years with the enduring goal of promoting Harrogate as a destination, working in close partnership with the Harrogate Convention Centre and the Yorkshire Event Centre to promote conferences and local businesses for leisure breaks.
Members work together and with other tourism-led businesses in order to promote high standards within the industry and the town.