Destination Harrogate

Destination Harrogate

Harrogate’s hospitality heroes celebrated at sell-out awards evening

Harrogate’s Hospitality and Tourism Awards 2019Harrogate’s hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Monday night (17th June) during a gala dinner with a theme celebrating the best the town has to offer at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

This year was the eleventh year of the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by Destination Harrogate, and this year hosts Simon Cotton and David Ritson were joined by the General Managers form the member Harrogate hotels from Destination Harrogate to present the coveted award categories.

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.

For a month long period during March members of the public and visitors to Harrogate were invited to nominate individuals who they thought deserved special recognition. This year a new award, Receptionist of the Year was added and a record entry of over 1500 nominations were collected before a shortlist was chosen by judges across the twelve categories.

David Ritson, General Manager of the Old Swan Hotel and co-organiser of the event said;

"The awards are a fantastic occasion 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."

Simon Cotton, Managing Director at the HRH Group 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!"

What could be described as the most prestigious award of the night, the Harrogate Ambassador of the Year was won by Alex Hornby. Alex runs a company that brings literally thousands of people into Harrogate and District every day!  He has led a repositioning of a 500-vehicle, 1200-person business through a customer- and product-focussed strategy that is bucking the trend to deliver passenger growth. He is a keen promoter of partnerships with both public bodies and private sector organisations which have helped resolve funding gaps and brought significant innovation to his industry.
In his role as Chief Executive Officer he has transformed a network of bus services across Blackburn, Burnley, Keighley, Malton and York – but most notably in Harrogate where the Harrogate Bus Company leads the way on several industry-leading innovations.

With 11 member hotels, Destination Harrogate welcomes over 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs over 1000 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.

The Award winners were;

Waiter/Waitress of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate Spring Water

Poppy Markham - Mama Doreens


Bar Person of the Year – sponsored by Matthew Clark

Dario Silviera – Scran


Chef of the Year – sponsored by Sykes House Farm

Bethany Haresign – The Wild Plum


Team of the Year – sponsored by Platinum HPL

Harrogate International Festivals


Newcomer of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate College

Cold Bath Deli


Unsung Hero – sponsored by Bidfood

David Johnson – Majestic hotel


Best Achievement of the Year – sponsored by Blueline Taxis

Ripon Poppy Initiative


Outstanding Customer Service – sponsored by Slingsby

Andreia Torres – Crown hotel


Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by Visit Harrogate

Konak Meze


Bar of the Year – sponsored by Timothy Taylor’s

The Fat Badger


Receptionist of the Year – Sponsored by Bookers

Haruka Kalai – The Studley hotel


Harrogate Ambassador of the Year sponsored by Harrogate Christmas Market

Alex Hornby

For further information regarding Destination Harrogate or the Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards contact David Ritson or Simon Cotton, Destination Harrogate by email gm.oldswan@classiclodges.co.uk or simon@hrhgroup.co.uk