Lion Awards for Excellence Finalists

Finalists have been announced
for Lion Awards for Excellence 2019

Principal sponsor:

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Hospitality New Zealand (Hospitality NZ) has announced the finalists for New Zealand’s prestigious Awards for Excellence 2019.

This year more than 200 entries were received in 17 categories. Now in its 22nd year, Hospitality New Zealand hosts the Awards for Excellence annually to celebrate the successes and achievements of the hospitality industry across New Zealand. Each year, Hospitality New Zealand recognises businesses in the accommodation and food and beverage sectors for their hard work, and for their commitment to excellence in their field.

Commenting on the Awards, Hospitality New Zealand CEO Vicki Lee said: “The Awards for Excellence allow Hospitality New Zealand to recognise and reward our dedicated members who have strived throughout the year to create the highest possible standards and experiences for both their guests and their team. In categories such as Best Environmental/Sustainable Business or Excellence in Host Responsibility, we also honour members who have shown a commitment to looking after the communities in which they operate.”

Independent Judge, Michael Friend said “The judges have been most impressed with the calibre of entries across all categories this year and have been well challenged in determining the finalists. We are delighted to be judging some unique entries, particularly in the Best Destination Venue category. Good luck to the finalists, we look forward to visiting your venues and experiencing your excellence.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Hawke’s Bay on 17 October 2019, during Hospitality New Zealand’s annual conference (October 15-17).

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Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Best Bar

This category recognises excellence in bars and pubs. Our judges are looking for a venue that successfully creates memorable experiences for their guests. somewhere that is either the most iconic bar in town, or the area's best kept secret. The ambience and decor are just right, the food and beverage are excellent and the staff are familiar and friendly but at all times professional.

And the finalists are:

Alibi Brewer’s Lounge at Tantalus Estate, Waiheke Island
D4 on Featherston, Wellington
The Craft Embassy, Christchurch

Best Cafe

This category recognises excellence in cafés, and rewards venues that have successfully carved a niche out for themselves in New Zealand’s popular and competitive café scene. We are looking for a café that guests want to return to time and time again, whether it’s an inner CBD hotspot, or a neighbourhood favourite. Our judges are looking for a cafe that offers excellent and consistent coffee and food, alongside quick, efficient and friendly service.

And the finalists are:

Miro, Christchurch
Neo Café & Eatery, Wellington
The Shire’s Rest (Hobbiton), Matamata

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor Bidfood

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Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor sleepyhead commercial

Best Hotel

This category recognises excellence in mid to large scale hotel accommodation. We are looking for hotels that not only do a fantastic job of looking after their guests - leading with customer service at all touch points bringing to life the joy to travel - but the hotel team are also an integral part of their local business community.

And the finalists are:

Bolton Hotel, Wellington
Castaways Resort, Waiuku
Naumi Hotel Auckland Airport, Auckland

Best Motel

This category recognises excellence in motel accommodation. We are looking for motels that not only do a fantastic job of looking after their guests but are also an integral part of their local business community.

And the finalists are:

La Rochelle Motel, Akaroa
Radfords on the Lake, Te Anau
The St James, Hanmer Springs

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsors seekom

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Best Country Hotel

This category recognises excellence in country hotels. A country hotel is a rurally located property with 2 – 20 commercial accommodation rooms. The winner in this category should be a venue that guests will willingly drive out of their way to visit. The winning country hotel should offer great food and beverage, a good night’s accommodation and also be the heart of its local community.

And the finalists are:

Brown Pub, Methven
Cardrona Hotel, Wanaka
Theatre Royal Hotel, Kumara

Best Destination Venue

To be the winning "Best Destination Venue", your business should be an excellent dining venue, offering a high standard of food and beverage and service, and also a venue that customers are willing to make a special trip off the beaten track to visit.

And the finalists are:

Cardrona Hotel, Wanaka
Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau
Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards Finalist Marsh

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Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor IGT

Excellence in Gaming

This category recognises members that run a successful gaming venue, that also meets (or even better exceeds) all host responsibility and harm minimisation criteria.
This category is limited to venues operating 18 machines or less.

And the finalists are:

Five Stags, Leamington
Hennessy’s Irish Bar, Rotorua
Square Leg, Hamilton

Best Neighbourhood Bar & Eatery

In this category, our judges are looking for a local bar and eatery that succeeds in being a genuine community hub, where everyone feels welcome and well catered for. This is a venue where customers should feel comfortable taking the kids in for a quick mid-week dinner, meeting friends for a drink after work, hosting a fundraising quiz night or celebrating a Saturday afternoon sports win.

And the finalists are:

No.4 Bar and Restaurant, Christchurch
Oasis Bar and Grill, Tauranga
Sprig & Fern, Petone

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor sky

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor noel leeming

Best New Business - Food & Beverage

This award represents the best new food and beverage business that has been in operation for less than 12 months (opened in/after June 2018). In this category, our judges will consider a café, pub, country hotel or restaurant, provided it has only opened in the last 12 months. This includes a new build or re-purposed building (that was not previously operating as a F&B business). This new F&B venue should demonstrate excellence in its service and food offering, and already be the talk of the town.

And the finalists are:

Ivory Bar, Rangiora
Tipsy Oyster Tapas & Bar Restaurant, Paihia
White + Wong’s, Queenstown

Best Restaurant

This category recognises excellence in restaurants. Our judges are looking for an iconic eatery, somewhere that guests aspire to go to. Our winning restaurant must demonstrate excellence in service, food and beverage, while also offering a winning setting and ambience.

And the finalists are:

Bloody Mary’s by Rydges Latimer, Christchurch
Portlander Bar and Grill by Rydges, Wellington
Tantalus Estate, Waiheke Island

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor Hospitality Business

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Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor genesis

Best Environmental / Sustainable Business

Our Best Environmental/Sustainable Business must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to being a sustainably run business, through initiatives such as (but not limited to) recycling, sustainable sourcing and getting rid of single-use plastic items. Our judges are looking for venues that have not only successfully implemented new initiatives but also succeeded in making their staff and customers an enthusiastic part of that journey.

And the finalists are:

Eco Villa, Christchurch
Christchurch Casino, Christchurch
Hobbiton, Matamata

Best Redeveloped - Hotel

The Best Redeveloped Hotel is a hotel that has been refurbished, renovated and/or rebranded. To be considered for this category, the project has to have been completed after 1 June 2018.

And the finalists are:

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell
QT Hotel, Wellington
The Thorndon Hotel Wellington by Rydges, Wellington

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Best Redeveloped - Food & Beverage

The Best Redeveloped F&B award recognises that best bar, restaurant or cafe that has been refurbished, renovated and/or rebranded. To be considered for this category, the project has to have been completed after 1 June 2018.

And the finalists are:

Castaways Resort, Waiuku
The Prince Albert, Wanaka
Top Hut Bar and Bistro, Twizel

Excellence in Host Responsibility

This category recognises members that run a successful licensed bar and have shown a commitment to meeting (and exceeding) their host responsibility requirements. In this category, we want to reward venues that have worked hard to create a top-down culture of harm minimisation among their team, and to ensure their employees fully understand, and are fully engaged with their responsibilities and duty of care to customers.

And the finalists are:

Delaware North, Wellington
Emerson’s Brewery and Taproom, Dunedin
Functionmaster, Wellington

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HPA Logo

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Excellence in Marketing

The winner in this category (which can be an accommodation or F&B member), must show the judges through both analytics and revenue that they have come up with and implemented unique, creative, well-thought out, and above-all, successful marketing for their business.

And the finalists are:

Aston Norwood Café & Function Centre, Upper Hutt
Hotel Chatham, Chatham Islands
QT Hotel, Wellington

Excellence in Training & Development

In this category our judges are looking for venues that have shown a commitment to providing excellent training and development opportunities to their staff. This category is open to both accommodation and F&B members.

And the finalists are:

Lulu Bar, Wellington
The Arborist Rooftop Bar & Eatery, Wellington
The Trusts, Auckland

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Proudly sponsored by:

Hospitality New Zealand Awards for excellence sponsor

Best Luxury Accommodation

This category recognises excellence in authentic luxury accommodation in hotels, boutique hotels, lodges and villas. Our judges are looking for luxury properties that offer an excellent quality and experience to their guests, demonstrating luxury touch-points across all services and facilities. In this category, applicants should demonstrate an understanding of the standards and services that are valued by guests in today’s luxury market, and provide a unique, experience-driven stay.

And the finalists are:

Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau
Hotel Grand Windsor, Auckland
Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston