In front of almost 600 hoteliers, industry leaders and major suppliers, the winners of the 2012 HM Awards presented by Sealy have been awarded to some of the Australasian accommodation industry’s brightest stars.

Held at the prestigious Sydney Town Hall last Friday night (Sep 7) and hosted by television personality Larry Emdur, the HM Awards have, for the 10th time, recognised the accommodation industry’s finest staff, properties, brands and chains across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Major winners on the night were Accor Asia-Pacific’s Michael Issenberg (Asia-Pacific Hotelier of the Year), Quest Serviced Apartments’ Paul Constantinou (Australasian Hotelier of the Year), Park Hyatt Sydney (Hotel of the Year),  (Hotel Brand), Accor Hotels (Accommodation Chain) and Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa (Environmental Program).

Park Hyatt Sydney capped off a big year following the property’s major refurbishment, also winning the Luxury Hotel and Interior Design gongs alongside Hotel of the Year, while Hamilton Island’s qualia took out Resort, Day Spa and Hotel Chef (Alastair Waddell).

Hilton Surfers Paradise was awarded for best New Hotel and Communications Associate (Chelsea Steber), while the chain also took out Hotel Bar (Zeta at Hilton Sydney) and New Zealand Regional Property (Hilton Lake Taupo).

New Zealand Lodge went to Huka Lodge in Taupo, while Fijian Property was won by InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, a hotel that also took out the Service to the Community Award for 2012.

InterContinental Hotels Group also celebrated with awards for Concierge (Jason Eade, InterContinental Wellington) and Housekeeper (Eric MacDonald, Crowne Plaza Melbourne).

Alongside Asia-Pacific Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Chain, Accor won awards for Australian General Manager (Geoffrey York, Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains), Rising Star (Tara Crisafi, The Sebel Residence Chatswood), Food and Beverage Associate (Claude Stein, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth), South Pacific Property (Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, French Polynesia), New Zealand Property (Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa) and Australian Upscale Property (The Sebel Pier One, Sydney).

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa also collected awards for Regional Property, Australian Lodge and Hotel Engineer (Mario Castillo), while fellow regional star Lake House in Daylesford won the gong for best Hotel Restaurant.

Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel was named Boutique Hotel of the Year for the fourth time in a row, while Mantra Group, based on the Gold Coast, won Marketing Campaign (for their Pat Rafter advertisements), along with New Zealand General Manager (Alistair Munro, Peppers Bluewater Resort) and Budget Property (BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort, Coffs Harbour).

Toga Hotels won awards for Midscale Property (Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront) and Communications Associate (Tessa Anderssen), while Starwood was recognised for Meetings and Conference Property (Sheraton on the Park, Sydney) and Finance Associate (Pierre Marechal, Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour).

The Langham Sydney’s Emil Beshay was named Housekeeper of the Year alongside The Langham’s Hotel Brand of the Year win.

Other key Awards on the night went to Pacific Resort Aitutaki in the Cook Islands (South Pacific General Manager was won by Julian Moore), Crown Metropol Melbourne (Upper-upscale Property), Sydney Harbour Marriott (Maria Macri Nosari for Front Office Associate), Pan Pacific Perth (Virginia Chong for Sales and Marketing Associate), 8Hotels (Rowena Carter for Human Resources Associate), The Darling hotel in Sydney (Tech Hotel), Shangri-La Hotel Sydney (Business Hotel), Scone Motor Inn (Economy Property) and Fraser Suites Sydney (Serviced Apartment Property).

The 2012 HM Awards were hosted by HM magazine, presented by Sealy, and co-hosted by AHS, the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, Intrust Super and ISIS.

“Once more we were thrilled to recognise the industry’s finest hotels, chains and, particularly staff, that have been doing an amazing job over the last 12 months,” said HM magazine Editor, James Wilkinson.

“Sure it’s fantastic when a hotel can be rewarded for its aesthetics, style, design and comfort, but it is the people who work in hotels that give the accommodation industry in Australasia its soul.

“This year, our people categories generated the most interest and in the case of Rising Star, the category once more attracted the most nominations out of the 47 categories.

“On behalf of the team at HM magazine and all of our fantastic sponsors this year, congratulations to all of the winners, highly commended recipients and finalists in 2012,” Wilkinson said.

The 2012 HM Awards also saw a special editor’s award for Service to the Industry presented to Tim Dearsley from Ibis Christchurch for his hard work and dedication to the hotel industry in the wake of the February 2011 earthquake, alongside three Hall of Fame inductions.

This year inducted into the Hall of Fame were Koos Klein (Voyages Indigenous Tourism) and Grant Hunt (Anthology) – who were recognised for their careers in the Australasian hotel industry – along with The Oatley Family, recognised for their significant contribution to the industry through the ongoing development of Hamilton Island.

On the night, almost $30,000 was raised for the Sala Bai Hotel School in Siem Reap, Cambodia in yet another strong show of charitable support from the industry.

“We are incredibly proud to be helping young people from poor and disadvantaged families realise their dream of working in the hotel industry through training at Sala Bai,” Wilkinson said.

“This donation will help ensure 30 more young Cambodians will receive the training they need to not just get jobs, but great careers in the hotel industry.”

The 2012 HM Awards saw not just a huge crowd, but also a record number of entries with 2300 this year.

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