A former (self-acknowledged) ‘Check Out Chick’ was celebrated as one of the hotel industry’s rising stars at the Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) NSW Awards for Excellence.
Jessica Harford was spotted at a check-out counter of a Coles supermarket because of her excellent customer focus and hired for the new Atura Hotel in Blacktown. She, along with Matthew Guy (Rydges Parramatta), jointly took out the award for Hotel Industry Rising Star.
The Park Hyatt, Sydney took out the prestigious Sydney deluxe accommodation of the year award for the second consecutive year, while Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa received the award for regional deluxe accommodation of the year.
Bar of the Year went to Four Season’s ‘Grain Bar’, while the Park Hyatt, Sydney’s ‘Dining Room’ won metropolitan restaurant of the year.
Regional restaurant of the year went to the Wolgan Dining Room at Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa.
The best of the best were honoured at the glittering ceremony in front of a crowd of more than 600 political, business and industry leaders at The Westin, Sydney.
TAA (NSW) chairperson Nigel Greenaway said that there were a record number of finalists.
“We had 55 hotels nominated across 30 categories – what is particularly pleasing this year is the broad range of hotels represented, from established to aspirational brands,” Mr Greenaway said.
“The winners represent excellence in accommodation service across Sydney and NSW – they showcase the best in the business. The strong field of nominees and the quality of the winners is testament to the strength of the accommodation industry in NSW.
Mr Greenaway said the strong showing in the ‘customer service’ section of the awards was especially pleasing.
“The future of the industry is in good hands, which is reflected in the fantastic work of employees like our 2014 rising star joint winners Matthew Guy (Rydges Parramatta) and Jessica Harford (Atura Blacktown).
“The judges said Michelle was an outstanding young lady with loads of personality and enthusiasm for the industry. I’m told she has the ability to deliver exceptional service , ensuring the guest experience is unforgettable,” he said.
“Jessica, according to management, also has a flair for delivering memorable guest experiences while Matthew is described as an outstanding young man with the personality skills and attributes to ensure he has an exceptional career.
“I would like to congratulate all the finalists on their hard work and dedication to our industry.”
Major 2014 TAA (NSW) Award for Excellence winners include –
- Outstanding community service and achievement: The Sydney Boulevard Hotel
- Hotel industry rising star: Matthew Guy, Rydges Parramatta & Jessica Harford, Atura Blacktown
- Bar of the Year: Four Seasons Hotel, Grain Bar
- Metropolitan restaurant of the year: Park Hyatt Sydney, The Dining Room
- Regional restaurant of the year: Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Wolgan Dining Room
- Health club and spa facilities of the year: QT Sydney, Spa Q and Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Timeless Spa
- Mid-range hotel accommodation of the year: Atura Blacktown
- Regional superior hotel accommodation of the year: Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant
- Sydney superior hotel accommodation of the year: Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour
Andy Goonesekera of the Intercontinental Hotel was inducted into the TAA (NSW) Hall of Fame.