The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet was crowned 'Ireland's Fine Dining Hotel Restaurant' at the 2019 Gold Medal Awards. Celebrating a remarkable 31 years, the Gold Medal Awards are the leading independent awards for the Irish hospitality industry and aim to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the hotel and catering sector throughout the country over the past twelve months.
Co. Clare’s Armada Hotel was named Supreme Winner at Tuesday night’s awards held in Kilkenny's Lyrath Estate Hotel.
Lots of Kilkenny hotels were recognised and celebrated at the awards - The Newpark Hotel was finalists for Ireland’s Family Friendly Hotel. With Avalon House Hotel and Mount Juliet as finalists for Ireland’s Best Wedding Venue. The Kilkenny Hibernian was a finalist for Best Hotel Website. Among Ireland’s Chef of Year Award finalists were Kilkenny’s Antonio Cavaliere of Rinuccini, Cathal O’Dowd from Avalon House Hotel and John Kelly from Mount Juliet's Lady Helen.
Showing that Ireland’s reputation for famous hospitality stretches across the country, there was a strong regional spread amongst the winners. The River Lee in Co. Cork was named Ireland’s Four Star Hotel (sponsored by Sodexo) while the winner of Ireland’s Five Star Hotel was InterContinental, Co. Dublin (sponsored by The Dublin Liberties Distillery). The honour of Ireland’s Event Caterer was taken home by Brook Foods at The Rose of Tralee 2018, Co. Cork (sponsored by Broadline Group). Those planning their big day should keep an eye on Armada Hotel, Co. Clare who took home the coveted award for Ireland’s Wedding Hotel (sponsored by Sprint Digital).
Each shortlisted property was also put forward for an additional award – Ireland’s Favourite Place to Stay, which was voted for by the public. After over 7000 votes were counted, Castle Leslie Estate was crowned Ireland’s Favourite Place to Stay.
With 135 finalists up for honours, the judges achieved a mammoth task of selecting 31 outstanding properties for recognition. The winners of all categories were revealed at a gala awards ceremony on 24th September in the Lyrath Estate, Co. Kilkenny.
Donagh Davern, FIHI and member of the Judging Panel said of the awards, “We are lucky as judges to see the best which the Irish Hotel and Catering industry has to offer and experienced some wonderful examples of guest service. In a time where we are experiencing tight labour market conditions, we met some fantastic staff who were truly assets to their employers and the reason why guests return to a business. While product offerings have been enhanced, it is the people that make the true difference to the Irish Hotel and Catering product and the industry needs to ensure that these ambassadors are retained to enhance the industry going forward. Our congratulations to all the finalists.”
Commenting on the winners, Katherine O’Riordan, Event Director said “We are so proud to recognise and acknowledge the wonderful hospitality industry in Ireland at the 2019 Gold Medal Awards. The standards of excellence remain predictably exceptional across the country and our judge's job remained equally difficult. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all our finalists and winners.”