HM Awards 2016 GM of the Year Adam Taloni
HM Awards 2016 GM of the Year Adam Taloni
HM Awards 2016 GM of the Year Adam Taloni

Hotels and chains are sending out press releases championing their 2016 HM Awards, presented by Sealy Posturepedic, victories and here’s the best of what we’ve received so far.

Australia and New Zealand’s largest hotel operator, AccorHotels, has collected 10 coveted award wins at the 2016 HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, including the highest accolade of Accommodation Chain of the Year.

AccorHotels was one of the most triumphant hotel groups at the 2016 HM Awards ceremony, held at Sydney Town Hall on Friday night (2 September), receiving a further 10 Highly Commended achievements across a variety of categories for outstanding hotel properties, departments and people.

It was a big night for new-build hotel, ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street, crowned Economy Property of the Year, whilst for the third year running, the iconic Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains MGallery by Sofitel won Meetings and Conferencing property. Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, which operates under a franchise agreement with AccorHotels, won the Environmental Program category for the Tintu Solar Field project whilst AccorHotels were honoured to take out the Service to the Community accolade for Race to Survive: Kokoda Trail 2015.

AccorHotels prevailed in the People Award categories with the coveted Rising Star Award going to Mitchell Cole, from AccorHotels’ Darling Harbour, Sofitel Brisbane Central’s Pericles Yiannakis was named Concierge of the Year, Alice Vannini received the win for Revenue Management Associate from AccorHotels’ Darling Harbour, and best Housekeeper was awarded to Meili Maerdan (ibis Adelaide).

Highly commended Awards were awarded to Sails in the Desert, Voyages Ayers Rock Resort (Upscale Property), Elements of Byron MGallery by Sofitel (Hotel Interior Design), Novotel New Plymouth Hobson (NZ Regional Property), Sofitel Brisbane Central (Meetings and Conferencing Property) and The Sebel Melbourne Docklands (Environmental Program, I Chose to be Green).

Recipients of Highly Commended Awards were also issued to Michael Issenberg, AccorHotels’ Chairman and CEO Asia-Pacific (HM Magazine Asia-Pacific Hotelier of the Year). Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains MGallery by Sofitel’s Aliesha Dickon was Highly Commended as Human Resources Associate, Benjamin Blasset from AccorHotels’ Darling Harbour was recognised as Finance Associate, while Mark Mason (Hotel Engineer), Manfred Pieper (Australian General Manager) and Vanessa Grace (Hotel Chef) all from Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, were given a nod.

Chief Operating Officer AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath, said “We are humbled to receive an outstanding array of achievements at the 2016 HM Awards, particularly Accommodation Chain of the Year and Service to the Community. AccorHotels are proud of our remarkable people and the recognition they have received.

“Congratulations to Dr Jerry Schwartz and his family for being inducted into the HM Awards Hall of Fame. I’d like to congratulate all our hotel finalists and winners on another successful year which is a testament to their exceptional performance and commitment.

“Each year, the calibre of award finalists raises the hospitality benchmark even higher and AccorHotels congratulate our fellow industry colleagues for their HM awards achievements and service to our industry.”

The annual HM Awards acknowledge, reward and celebrate the enormous achievements which exemplify excellence in performance and service within the hospitality industry across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Event Hospitality and Entertainment’s hotel award success continues unabated with the hip designer hotel, QT Sydney being crowned Best Boutique Hotel at the prestigious Hotel Management (HM) Awards at Sydney’s Town Hall on Friday night. Adding to the quirky design brand’s trophy line-up, QT Sydney’s vibrant and sultry Gilt Lounge also struck gold for Best Hotel Bar.

QT Hotels and Resorts award success included noted commendations for excellence in the categories of Hotel Interior Design and New Property for the brand’s chic luxury beachside offering QT Bondi.

Event Hospitality and Entertainment’s Group Managing Director David Seargeant, was also recognised on the night for the award ‘Australian Hotelier of the Year’. Each of QT’s luxurious design-driven hotels adopts the distinct personality and character of their regional surrounds, ensuring integrated, locally-focused service and style with all the creature comforts of a world-class designer hotel delivered with a QT-twist.

In further recognition of excellence in service, two of Event Hotel and Resort’s team received Highly Commended accolades; Jodi Brown from Atura Albury was Highly Commended for Australian General Manager and Bria Lamberton for Communications Associate.

The prestigious HM Awards recognise the accommodation industry’s finest staff, properties, brands and chains across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and made particular note that a record number of world-class entries had been received this year.

“With QT Hotels & Resort just opening in Melbourne and soon to launch in Wellington and Queenstown, the future for QT is extremely exciting.” said David Seargeant, Group Managing Director EVENT Hospitality and Entertainment.

Halcyon House, one of Australia’s most unique beachside hotels, made history last Friday night (September 2) being the first regional property to be awarded Hotel of the Year, jointly celebrated by the Park Hyatt Sydney.

Held at the prestigious Town Hall for the 14th time and in front of a record crowd of 700 attendees, the HM Awards for Accommodation Excellence recognises the finest people, departments and properties across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Halcyon House celebrated early in the evening firstly taking out the award for Best Regional property but the unexpected and applauded highlight came towards the end of the evening with the announcement they were the first regional property in the history of the event to win Hotel of the Year.

Halcyon House’s General Manager, Mauro De Riso who attended the event said, “we are thrilled to be the first regional property to win Hotel of the Year. This award is testament to the on-going commitment and passion of the entire team. We will enjoy and celebrate this achievement and I know it will act as a motivator for us to continue to deliver excellence everyday.”

Halcyon House is owned by Brisbane-bases sisters Siobhan and Elisha Bickle, who purchased the former surf motel in 2011 and converted it into a luxury beach hotel. It has been open just over a year and is situated at one of the country’s best surf breaks in Cabarita Beach, Northern NSW, in an extraordinary region that remains one of the country’s best kept secrets (until now).

Ovolo Hotels, the new darling of Australia’s hospitality market, achieved resounding success at the 2016 HM Awards with a series of wins and commendations. From a pool of 20 nominees, the hotel group saw its Ovolo Woolloomooloo General Manager Adam Taloni awarded Australian GM of the Year at the 14th edition of the region’s leading award for the accommodation industry. Additionally, the multinational hotel brand and its Founder/CEO, Mr. Girish Jhunjhnuwala, were highly commended in closed nominations as Hotel Brand of the Year and APAC Hotelier of the Year respectively.

Ovolo’s success at the industry’s most prestigious regional award is further compounded when considering the fact that the brand arrived in Sydney just under one year ago. Its two current properties, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour and Ovolo Woolloomooloo, were just launched in November 2015. And within that time, the hotel group has not only won acclamations from the industry, but also from travellers around the world.

Ovolo Woolloomooloo has been a crowning example of the brand’s Australian success thus far. Purchased from the Taj Hotel Group, Ovolo took what was deemed by many as a “past-its-prime” property, and transformed it into one of the most highly regarded hotels with consistently strong occupancy rates ever seen in Sydney. The Cowper Wharf property, which was once ranked #47 on TripAdvisor, rose to number two on the site in just under one year of Ovolo’s ownership. Achieving this success was made possible not just by the new brand, but by its illustrious team, and GM Mr. Adam Taloni at the helm.

Hailing from Sydney, Adam joined Ovolo in search of change after completing a greenfield opening, two takeovers, three re-brands and renovation at hotels across Australia and South Korea. He joined right after the Cowper Wharf property was acquired by Ovolo, and oversaw as well as influenced nearly every facet of the 100-room hotel’s conversion to what it is today. Adam notes: “Ovolo Woolloomooloo is certainly the most challenging, but truly the most rewarding project I have worked on to-date. The hotel embodies everything I believe modern hospitality should be. It’s hard putting into words what winning GM of the Year at the 2016 HM Awards means to me. I can only say that I am humbled by the win, and see it as validation for the hard work that went into making the hotel what it is today.”

Ovolo’s Founder/CEO Mr. Jhunjhnuwala adds: “I decided to launch Ovolo in Sydney after the amazing praise Australian travellers had for our properties in Hong Kong. To be recognized by the HM Awards in such a short period from launching here confirms we made the right choice coming to Australia. I’m honoured for being commended as APAC Hotelier of the Year, and Ovolo’s recognition as Hotel Brand of the Year. But the best part is, we’re just getting started in the country.”

Pan Pacific Hotels Group has won three awards on Friday 2nd September at the 2016 HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, presented by Sealy Posturepedic at Sydney Town Hall. The Group’s Western Australia property, Pan Pacific Perth claimed two awards, namely Best Marketing Campaign and Best Hotel Chef whilst PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney won Best Concierge.

Hosted by TV personality Larry Emdur, this year’s HM Awards were attended by a record of 700 hoteliers and industry elite. The Best Marketing Campaign Award was awarded to Pan Pacific Perth’s Pacific Escape campaign (joint winner award), and the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef, Laurent Xavier was named the Best Hotel Chef (joint winner award). PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney’s Randolph Huerto was rewarded with the title of Best Concierge (joint winner award).

Kurt Otto Wehinger, Area General Manager Oceania and General Manager PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney says, “It is our honour to be acknowledged once again in the HM Awards. We are very excited our hotels and our dedicated staff have continued to stand out from this year’s vast competition. I would like to congratulate our staff for their passion and endeavour in delivering the exceptional service and outstanding hospitality of Pan Pacific Hotels Group.”

Pan Pacific Hotels Group was also highly recommended in three other categories including Best Food and Beverages Associate (Kelsie Gannan, PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport), Best Front Office Associate (Marie Lee, PARKROYAL Parramatta), and Best Revenue Management (Cameron Mead, PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport).

The HM Awards is highly recognised by the accommodation industry in acknowledging the finest people, departments and properties across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Kelly Russell has been named Sales & Marketing Associate of the Year at the 2016 Hotel Management Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence (HM Awards), held at Sydney Town Hall on Friday 2 September, 2016. Celebrating the best the accommodation industry has to offer in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific region, the HM Awards are judged by a select panel of 50 industry experts, leading travel editors and writers.

This win recognises Kelly’s work as Director of Sales at Sheraton on the Park; a role she commenced in 2013. In this role, Kelly oversees a team of 15 people and is responsible for developing and executing sales strategies that help generate and drive business within the MICE sector.

Kelly has proven herself in this role, successfully supporting Sheraton on the Park to achieve the number one position in the Comp-set for 2015, for the first time on record. Kelly achieved a total of AUD$8.75million in revenue in 2015 and successfully acquired 42 new corporate accounts. Consequently she was recognised as the Starwood Global Sales Incentive Winner for 2015.

“Kelly Russell has done an outstanding job since she joined in mid-2013. Her leadership skills and sales and marketing knowledge within the hospitality industry are exemplary, and she is an asset to Sheraton on the Park,” said Sean Hunt, Managing Director, Sheraton on the Park and Regional Vice President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Pacific.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management