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Hospitality Awards 2018

UK's Best Hotels, Restaurants and Pubs Revealed at AA Awards

  • Hotel of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Pub of the Year
  • Chefs’ Chef of the Year, Eco Hotel of the Year, Customers’ Choice Award
  • 21st anniversary of awards presented by Claudia Winkleman

London. 25 September. The best hotels, restaurants and pubs across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were celebrated at the AA Hospitality Awards last night in a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House in London.

To mark the twenty-first anniversary, this year’s awards were presented by Claudia Winkleman and honoured the best establishments in the UK across twenty-three categories, including Chefs’ Chef, Lifetime Achievement Award and Housekeeper of the Year.

Hotel of the Year
England – Great Fosters Hotel, Egham
London – Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
Wales – Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdovey
Scotland – Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St Andrews
Northern Ireland – Bishop's Gate Hotel, Derry-Londonderry

Restaurant of the Year
England –
Sorrel, Dorking
London – Sabor, London W1
Wales – Machine House Restaurant, Wrexham
Scotland – The Newport Restaurant, Newport-on-Tay

Pub of the Year
England – The Crafty Baa, Windermere
Wales – The Nags Head Inn, Garthmyl
Scotland – The Pot Still, Glasgow

Chefs’ Chef of the Year
Claude Bosi, Bibendum, London

Eco Hotel of the Year
Fairmont St Andrews, Fife

AA Customers’ Choice
Sofitel London St James, London W1

Quotes & Award Details

Hotel of the Year

The AA Hotel of the Year Award is the AA’s ultimate accolade for hotels in the UK. It is awarded to hotels that are recognised as being outstanding examples of their kind. From the small family-run hotel to the most ambitious commercial ventures, hotels of every size and style are potential winners.

Great Fosters

Hotel of the Year, England – Great Fosters Hotel, Egham (pictured)

Richard Young, Managing Director at Great Fosters Hotel commented:
“I am absolutely delighted that Great Fosters has won. I am thrilled for everyone involved in this achievement – the shareholders, board, management and all the staff.”

An AA Inspector said of Great Fosters Hotel:
“Dating back to the 16th century, this Grade II listed mansion is very much to the keeping of the house’s original style, but with up-to-date amenities. The beautiful public rooms, including the terrace during the summer months, provides the perfect setting for afternoon tea and cocktails, and there is a stimulating range of award-winning cuisine to be enjoyed in The Estate Grill.”

Hotel of the Year, London – Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

Vincent Hoogewijs, General Manager and Regional Vice President at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square commented:
“We are honoured to receive this award. It is a great achievement for the Hotel and I am proud of our team for their hard work and commitment.”

An AA Inspector said of Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square:
“Overlooking Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, this new hotel is the fully restored and refurbished former Port of London Authority HQ. The spacious bedrooms are of the highest quality and have all up-to-date technology. There is an excellent spa with treatment rooms, a swimming pool, steam and sauna, with a choice of restaurants including La Dame de Pic London offering authentic French cuisine and Mei Ume, an Asian restaurant showcasing a mix of sharing dishes from China and Japan. This is a truly fantastic hotel, oozing quality, style and comfort.”

Hotel of the Year, Wales – Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdovey

Caroline Cave-Browne-Cave, Managing Director at Trefeddian Hotel commented:
“I am very honoured and proud to accept this prestigious award from the AA. It recognises the hard work of the directors, management and staff of the hotel over many decades.”

An AA Inspector said of Trefeddian Hotel:
“This family-run hotel is in a delightful location, with bedrooms that enjoy views over the golf course and sea. Traditional, welcoming hospitality and attentive service is assured, and many guests regularly return. In addition to walks along the beach, the hotel offers a heated indoor pool, treatment room, games room and a range of activities for the whole family. Dinner is the highlight of a visit with a five-course, daily changing menu that uses carefully prepared local produce.”

Hotel of the Year, Scotland – Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St Andrews

Helen McBride, General Manager at Old Course Hotel commented:
“The whole team at the Old Course Hotel is extremely honoured and truly delighted to win the 2018/19 AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland. We are continually investing in the hotel and in staff training to ensure that our guests always enjoy a truly memorable stay at the resort.”

An AA inspector said of Old Course Hotel:
“The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa sits alongside the famous par 4 17th 'Road Hole’ on the Old Course in St Andrews, known as the Home of Golf. The hotel has 144 luxurious rooms, including 35 stunning suites, and boasts five dining experiences, overseen by Executive Chef, Martin Hollis. Whether staying at this iconic hotel, out on the golf course, relaxing in the state-of-the-art Kohler Waters Spa or enjoying a meal, guests are assured a superb experience.”

Hotel of the Year, Northern Ireland – Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry-Londonderry

Ciaran O’Neill, Managing Director of Bishop’s Gate Hotel commented:
“I'm absolutely thrilled, and I want to thank the fantastic team that we have at Bishop's Gate Hotel. We're now in our third year of business and going from strength to strength – it's an exciting time for us. Our reputation for excellence and high-quality service is well known, as is the ongoing work we undertake to ensure unrivalled levels of expertise. This is all an integral part of the Bishop’s Gate Hotel experience and the reason that our guests keep coming back.”

An AA inspector said of Bishop’s Gate Hotel:
“Originally two private residential buildings, it was remodelled by renowned architect Alfred A Forman to become home of the Northern Counties Club which saw many famous visitors. The hotel today has been lovingly restored to retain many original features and provide comfortable accommodation.”

Restaurant of the Year

The AA Restaurant of the Year recognises restaurants that provide cuisine of a truly excellent standard, as well as demonstrating innovation and ambience and providing a high standard of hospitality.

Restaurant of the Year, England – Sorrel, Dorking

Steve Drake, Owner of Sorrel commented:
“I’m delighted with how quickly and positively Sorrel has been received in less than a year. We’ve worked hard to create an enjoyable and immersive dining experience, and to win this award in recognition of that is a huge achievement.”

An AA Inspector said of Sorrel:
This is inspirational modern cooking in a delightful dining room. Wood floors, and linen-clad tables laid with fine glassware and herbs in little glass cloches add to the all-round feel of a classy operation. Ingredients are combined in thoughtful and stimulating ways and the flavours are judged just so.”

Restaurant of the Year, London – Sabor, London

Nieves Barragan, Executive Chef of Sabor commented:
“This is a wonderful achievement for which I am so grateful. I would like to thank the AA team and those who made this possible. This means the world to us.”

An AA Inspector said of Sabor:
“Sabor (translating as 'flavour') delivers an authentic regional experience via its trio of dining options; from diminutive tapas bar to dining-counter restaurant facing a high-energy open kitchen. Head up the spiral staircase to the asador's communal tables for more regional delights. Bare brick, floorboards and Andalucían tiles set a relaxed backdrop.”

Restaurant of the Year, Wales – Machine House Restaurant, Wrexham

Kevin Lynn, Chef/Owner of Machine House Restaurant said:
“We are delighted to be recognised by such a prestigious organisation within the industry.”

An AA Inspector said of Machine House Restaurant:
“With its sturdy oak beams, bare stone and whitewashed walls, the setting may speak of another era, but the modern British cooking in this intimate restaurant is bang up to date. The kitchen has strong supply lines to outstanding local producers, then dials the flavours up to 11 in lively, sharply executed dishes.”

The Newport Restaurant

Restaurant of the Year, Scotland – The Newport Restaurant, Newport-on-Tay (pictured)

Jamie Scott, Chef Patron at The Newport Restaurant commented:
“This is a massive achievement for myself, my wife and our team. It is everything we could have hoped for and really confirmed for us that everyone’s hard work and determination in such a young business is paying off. A huge thank you to not only our amazing team, but also our customers for getting us to this stage with their continued support.”

An AA Inspector said of The Newport Restaurant:
“Jamie Scott's restaurant with rooms is situated on the shore in Newport looking out over the Tay to Dundee. The style here is modern with a nod to the local maritime and fishing history. The modern restaurant is set over two floors, both enjoying panoramic views.”

Pub of the Year

The AA Pub of the Year is awarded to great all-rounder pubs or inns. They successfully combine the provision of enjoyable food, a great pub atmosphere and a warm welcome with a high standard of management.

Pub of the Year, England – The Crafty Baa, Windermere

Vincent, Lisa and Ben Fleming Gregg, owners of The Crafty Baa commented:Winning the award means a tremendous amount to us for all the hard graft we have put into making The Crafty Baa possible.”

AA Hospitality said of The Crafty Baa: The Crafty Baa is the brain child of Vince, Lisa and Ben who shed their own blood, sweat and tears in building the place themselves. Around 80% of the materials they used were either recycled or upcycled which has gone a long way to giving it a unique style and atmosphere. Set over three floors there’s an array of seats and tables where good food and an extensive range of beers around the world can be enjoyed. Several beers are available on draught and the team are keen for you to taste before you buy.”

Nags Head

Pub of the Year, Wales – The Nags Head Inn, Garthmyl (pictured)

James Divall, Proprietor of The Nags Head Inn commented: “We are extremely thrilled and excited to win this special award which recognises the high standards achieved consistently by our excellent team. We all pride ourselves on providing a five-star customer experience and this award will help to put The Nags Head Inn and Mid Wales on the hospitality map.”

AA Hospitality said of The Nags Head Inn: “The Grade II listed coaching inn on the A483 stands only a few yards from the Severn and the Montgomery Canal, a pleasant spot for an intelligently renovated country pub. The dining area is an expansive space opening on to a patio, with antique books and ingredient-themed pictures to draw the eye. Traditional comfort-food dishes are interleaved amid more modern ideas.”

Pub of the Year, Scotland – The Pot Still, Glasgow

Geraldine Murphy, Director of The Pot Still commented:
On behalf of ourselves and our staff team, we feel truly honoured to receive this award. We are absolutely delighted and would like to thank everyone at AA for their support.”

An AA inspector said of The Pot Still:
“The Pot Still, like many pubs in Glasgow, offers Whisky but there aren’t many that boast over seven hundred.  Add to this their range of Scottish and German ales which you can enjoy with a one of Pot Stills ‘proper pies’ they serve makes it a must to any whisky lover when in Glasgow’s theatre land.”

Claude Bosi

Chefs’ Chef of the Year – Claude Bosi, Chef Patron, Bibendum, London (pictured)

A popular and coveted title, this unique award, introduced in 1996, offers all AA Rosette-awarded chefs the chance to decide which of their peers deserves the ultimate recognition of their performance over the past twelve months.

French chef, Claude Bosi is this year’s winner of AA Chefs’ Chef award. Currently Chef Patron of Bibendum, London, a beautiful airy restaurant housed in the old Michelin headquarters, Bosi has won numerous awards for Bibendum and his past restaurants: Overton Grange and Hibiscus in Ludlow. Combining classic French food with a pioneering modern twist, Bosi’s direct and balanced style is widely celebrated as groundbreaking.

Simon Numphud, Managing Director of Hotel & Hospitality Services said:
“Twenty years on from arriving in the UK, Claude’s passion for his craft remains undiminished as does his commitment to the stove. His achievements speak for themselves and it comes as no surprise that his peers have chosen him for this ultimate industry award.”

Eco Hotel of the Year – Fairmont St Andrews, Fife

Introduced in 2010, this award recognises a clear commitment to sustainability, demonstrated through good practice and policy to make a positive contribution to reducing impact on the environment.

John Keating, General Manager at Fairmont St Andrews commented:
“We are delighted to be awarded Eco Hotel of the Year at this year’s AA Hospitality Awards. It is a true achievement for the hotel and all of our colleagues who are committed to green tourism. The location of our hotel is so beautiful, and we want to keep it that way.”

An AA Inspector said of Fairmont St Andrews:
“The hotel’s approach to the environment is highly pro-active and clearly a focus for the whole business with a well-established and dedicated green team. It is this high level of engagement with its team and their efforts that really stood out for making a difference.”

AA Customers’ Choice – Sofitel London St James, London

Launched in 2017, the AA Customers' Choice Award is powered by ReviewPro and celebrates the hotel with the best guest reviews across 175 different online travel agencies and review sites in 45 languages.

An AA inspector said of the Sofitel London St James:
A beautiful grade 2 listed building that was transformed into a hotel in 2002. Located moments away from Trafalgar Square, it offers a sophisticated yet relaxed welcome, enhanced by a spa, The Balcon all-day brasserie, the Rose Lounge ideal for afternoon tea and St James Bar. With 12 meeting rooms and a private dining room, the hotel can also cater for all manners of functions. It has shown an impressive continual improvement in its guest reviews over the last twelve months as recognised by this great award.”

Sofitel st james

Pictured: Sofitel London St James

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