Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Association

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

Harrogate’s Hospitality and Tourism Awards 2018

Harrogate’s hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Monday night (4th June) during a gala dinner with a theme celebrating the best the town has to offer at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

Celebrating their tenth anniversary, the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by Destination Harrogate, was produced with assistance from the team at Harrogate Theatre David Bown, Phil Lowe and Tim Stedman and was hosted by 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.

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. Record entries of 1500 nominations were collected before a shortlist was chosen by judges across the eleven 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 Nigel Pulling. 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 11 member hotels, Destination Harrogate welcomes almost 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

Matthew Weller – ASK Italian

Bar Person of the Year – sponsored by Matthew Clark

Jaks Gardner – The Fat Badger

Chef of the Year – sponsored by Sykes House Farm

Michael Carr – Restaurant 92

Team of the Year – sponsored by Platinum HPL

William & Victoria

Newcomer of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate College

Starling Independent Beer and Coffee House

Unsung Hero – sponsored by Bidfood

Kita Hudson, Last Post

Best Achievement of the Year – sponsored by Blueline Taxis

Rudding Park Spa

Outstanding Customer Service – sponsored by Slingsby

Laura Fell – West Park hotel

Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by Visit Harrogate


Bar of the Year – sponsored by Timothy Taylor’s


Harrogate Ambassador of the Year sponsored by Harrogate Christmas Market

Nigel Pulling

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