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UK’S Top Hotels Revealed At AA Hospitality Awards

JodyP 24 September 2019
UK’S Top Hotels Revealed At AA Hospitality Awards

The best hotels across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were celebrated at the AA Hospitality Awards tonight in a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House in London.

The twenty-second annual awards were presented by Kate Silverton and honoured the best establishments in the UK across twenty-three categories, including Eco Hotel of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Large and Small Hotel Group of the Year, Housekeeper of the Year and the inaugural Spa of the Year.

Hotel of the Year

Eco Hotel of the Year

Spa of the Year

  • Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate

Lifetime Achievement Award

Large Hotel Group of the Year

Small Hotel Group of the Year

  • Inverlochy Castle Management International

Housekeeper of the Year

5 Red Stars       

  • Foxhill Manor, Broadway, Worcestershire
  • Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, Dunblane
  • Alexander House Hotel, Turners Hill, West Sussex
  • Adare Manor, Adare, Limerick
  • The Langham, London, W1
  • Café Royale, London, W1
  • Seaham Hall, Seaham, County Durham
  • Torridon, Wester Ross, Torridon

4 Red Stars

  • Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Ballymena, County Antrim
  • The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
  • The Painswick, Painswick, Gloucestershire
  • St Ermins Hotel, London, SW1
  • The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, Hampshire
  • Cavendish Hotel, Baslow, Derbyshire
  • Maison Talbooth, Dedham, Essex

3 Red Stars

  • Bingham Riverhouse, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey
  • THE PIG at Combe Hotel, Honiton, Devon

The full list of this year’s AA Hospitality Awards winners can be found at

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.

  • Hotel of the Year, England – Chewton Glen, New Milton

 Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels commented: ““We are thrilled that Chewton Glen has been crowned Hotel of the Year again especially considering the number of very credible new hotels that have popped up of late. Winning this prestigious title is undoubtedly testament to the energy, passion and creativity of the entire team who work so hard not only to ensure that our guests always want to return but are also focused on continually improving and innovating. Chewton Glen has always been remarkable as defined by Martin Skan half a century ago and we are exceptionally fortunate to still have owners who support our vision through reinvestment.”

An AA Inspector said of Chewton Glen“Chewton Glen has been revitalised in recent years and the eco-friendly tree-houses point the hotel in a fresh and exciting direction. The extensive grounds include – in addition to activities like golf and croquet – a walled garden, which provides for the hotel kitchen, and is a feature in its own right. Bedrooms are luxurious and delightfully appointed, while public areas are stylish and comfortable, the perfect place for traditional afternoon tea.”

  • Hotel of the Year, London – The Landmark, London, NW1

Andrew Batchelor, General Manager at The Landmark: “We are all hugely proud, thrilled and honoured to receive this prestigious award. Thank you, AA.“

An AA Inspector said of The Landmark“Once one of the last truly grand railway hotels, The Landmark London boasts several stunning features, the most spectacular being the naturally lit central atrium forming the hotel’s focal point. The air-conditioned bedrooms are luxurious and have large, stylish bathrooms. There is also a health club that offers a complete wellbeing experience.”

  • Hotel of the Year, Wales – The Grove, Narbeth

Thomas Agius Ferrante, General Manager at The Grove commented: ““The team work tirelessly to constantly enhance every aspect of the great experience at our lovely hotel in the Northern Hills. Achieving this accolade is real acknowledgement of the quality they constantly deliver. Everybody here is both delighted and very proud and it felt a real honour to celebrate the honour to celebrate the evening with so many people from the industry.””

An AA Inspector said of The Grove: “The Grove is an elegant 17th-century country house set on a hillside in 26 acres of rolling countryside. The owners have lovingly restored the building with care, combining period features with excellent modern decor. There are bedrooms in the main house, and additional rooms in separate buildings; all are appointed with high levels of quality and comfort.”

  • Hotel of the Year, Scotland – The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder

Conor O’Leary, Gleneagles’ Joint Managing Director, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this prestigious award which reflects the remarkable journey we’ve been on over the last three years to ensure Gleneagles takes its place amongst the finest hotels in the world. We’ve reignited the excitement Gleneagles created when it first opened nearly a century ago, to provide our guests with an outstanding experience and an unparalleled range of adventures for those who love luxury experiences as much as they love having fun. In celebrating this award which recognises the dedicated efforts of our whole team, we can look with pride at what we’ve achieved, with a keen sense of momentum and excitement for the future.”

 An AA inspector said of The Gleneagles Hotel: “With its international reputation for high standards, this grand hotel provides something for everyone. A recent change of ownership has resulted in many areas being refurbished. Set in 850 acres of glorious countryside, Gleneagles offers a peaceful retreat, as well as many sporting activities, including the famous championship golf courses. All bedrooms are appointed to a high standard and offer both traditional and contemporary styles.” 

  • Hotel of the Year, Northern Ireland – The Fitzwilliam, Belfast

Cian Landers, General Manager of The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the 2019-20 AA Hotel of the Year Northern Ireland. This award means so much to us and is testament to the efforts of the fantastic team we have here at The Fitzwilliam Hotel and the continuous effort to ensure we go above and beyond in creating a special experience for all of our guests. I am extremely proud of all my staff whose hard work has made this possible.”

An AA inspector said of The Fitzwilliam: “The Fitzwilliam is perfectly placed for Belfast city centre, adjacent to the Grand Opera House and set amid a range of shops and restaurants. The modern contemporary style bedrooms are tastefully appointed and have a great range of facilities including air conditioning. The public areas feature a smart cocktail bar and guests can dine in the modern restaurant on the first floor – a range of bar food is also available.”

Eco Hotel of the Year – Carbis Bay Hotel, St Ives

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.

Stephen Baker, Managing Director, Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate: “On behalf of Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate, I am immensely proud and honoured to have been granted this award.   As some of you may know, we are fortunate to be in a stunningly beautiful location and we are very aware of doing everything we can to preserve our Carbis Bay for the future.  Thank you very much indeed for this award and for your recognition.”

An AA Inspector said of Carbis Bay Hotel: “In a peaceful location with access to its own white-sand beach, this hotel offers comfortable accommodation. The attractive public areas feature a smart bar and lounge, and a sun lounge overlooking the sea. Bedrooms, many with fine views, are well equipped. Interesting cuisine and particularly enjoyable breakfasts are offered. A small complex of luxury, self-catering apartments is available.”

 Spa of the Year – Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate

New to the AA Hospitality Awards this year, the Spa of the Year Award recognises an outstanding spa offering within a hotel, delivering both an excellent overall product and spa experience.

Peter Banks, Managing Director at Rudding Park Hotel: “To win the AA Spa Hotel of the Year in its first year is an incredible honour.  Rudding Park has won numerous awards over the years and the addition of The Spa has enhanced the guest experience and placed Rudding Park on the national map. The AA Hospitality Awards celebrate the brightest and best among the nation’s hotels, restaurants and chefs and to receive such recognition is an incredible achievement and fantastic boost for the whole team. To be an exceptional hospitality provider you have to be live and breathe hospitality.  It is hard work! Winning such a prestigious industry award voted by our peers and high-profile industry judges is a fantastic endorsement of the success Rudding Park has achieved so far.”

An AA inspector said of Rudding Park Hotel: “Set in beautiful parkland, Rudding Park dates from the early 19th century and the interiors are stylishly contemporary and elegant. The bedrooms are luxurious – the Follifoot Wing features stunning suites and bedrooms with spas. The grandeur of the mansion house and grounds make this a popular wedding venue; there’s also an impressive spa with treatment rooms, a gym, private cinema and extensive conference facilities, plus an adjoining 18-hole, par 72 golf course, and driving range.”

Lifetime Achievement – Robin Sheppard, Chairman, Bespoke Hotels

The AA Lifetime Achievement Award, introduced in 2006, recognises professionals within the hospitality industry who have committed their lives to the pursuit of perfection within their discipline. Winners of this award are to be congratulated for making significant fundamental contributions to the industry which have had a notable impact and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress in their field.

Robin has been an hotelier for 40+ years winning many Hotel/Hotelier of the Year awards.  In 2000 he co-founded Bespoke Hotels which has grown into the UK’s latest independent hotel group with over 200 properties, including the multi-award winning Hotel Gotham.  Most recently he won the Hotel Catey and the Oxford Brookes awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry.

He is also the Government’s Hospitality Sector Champion for Disabled People.

His greatest achievement, though, has been to fight back from GBS, a totally paralysing illness.  His slow recovery inspired him to launch the Bespoke Access Awards in conjunction with RIBA encouraging better design and empathy from architects, interior designers and hospitality professionals alike.

Robin Sheppard commented: “I just got married, and it doesn’t get any better to spend the second night of your honeymoon winning a lifetime achievement award, so I’m thrilled to bits, astonished and just absolutely delighted.”

Simon Numphud, Managing Director of AA Media said: “An incredible and engaging hotelier for over 40 years, his contribution to the industry speaks for itself and has been recognised by various personal awards in recent years. His success is an inspiration to us all, made even more remarkable given the determination to overcome significant disabilities and his continuing achievements.”

Large Hotel Group: Park Plaza Group

A hugely prestigious award presented in recognition of the large hotel group that has a proven track record of striving to ensure the very best levels of service, food and accommodation across the range of properties. Attention to detail is imperative and a committed and structured approach to future development is essential.

Greg Hegarty, Chief Operating Officer at PPHE Hotel Group: “On behalf of our Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer and team members we are delighted to have been recognised as AA Large Group of The Year 2019.  This is a significant milestone for the company and an outstanding achievement.  The AA Hospitality Awards are one of the industry’s most highly regarded and recognised and so we are delighted to join some of the UK’s best properties and brands as award winners. Park Plaza is truly committed to the hospitality industry and promoting it as a progressive career option.  We work with schools, colleges, key recruitment organisations and charities to support and encourage young people into careers in the hospitality sector and offer a variety of apprenticeships during the year.  As an international brand with a strong London presence, we will strive to continue to invest in our UK portfolio alongside creative learning and development programmes to constantly delights our guests. Thank you once again to each of our team members for their hard work, passion and inspiring service which allows us to continuously provide such a high level of guest experience resulting in our winning of the AA Large Group of The Year 2019.”  

Simon Numphud, Managing Director of AA Media said: “Park Plaza have continued to impress for both their continued investment across their portfolio of hotels but also their investment in the development of their teams. Attracting and retaining talent remains a critical challenge for the industry and it’s great to see the various initiatives the Park Plaza do to encourage young people that hospitality is a great career.”

Small Hotel Group: Inverlochy Castle Management International

A hugely prestigious award presented in recognition of the small hotel group that has a proven track record of striving to ensure the very best levels of service, food and accommodation. Attention to detail is imperative and a committed and structured approach to future development is essential.

Inverlochy Castle Management International said: “We’re celebrating our tenth anniversary this year and it’s a great honour to win this award – it has been a huge team effort.”

Simon Numphud, Managing Director of AA Media said: “ICMI have established themselves as one of Scotland’s leading luxury hotel operators. Great attention to detail, high standards of hotelkeeping and a real emphasis on cuisine.”

Housekeeper of the Year – Anikca Korzelius, Housekeeper, St Ermins Hotel, London

Mafalda Albuquerque, Hotel Manager at St Ermin’s Hotel: “Ankica joined us 8 years ago as part of the relaunch team following a £50m total refurbishment and has blossomed into an exceptional Manager. She constantly strives for excellence and her attention to detail and consistent passion to deliver perfection put her in a class of her own. This award could not have gone to a better candidate; the training and procedures she has put in place, the pride she has in her staff and the loyalty her staff have for her are truly exceptional and the hotel and our guests benefit every day from her work. She is a passionate and hard-working professional and is truly deserves the industry-wide recognition of this great honour.”

Simon Numphud, Managing Director of AA Media said: “The inspection team were highly impressed with Ankica’s passion and commitment which was completely infectious, and her ability to look after two large hotels.”

New Red Stars

Every year AA inspectors select the best hotels within each star rating. These hotels stand out as the very best in the British Isles and are known as ‘Inspectors’ Choice’ hotels.

The full list of this year’s AA Hospitality Awards winners can be found at

All AA Hospitality Awards winners will be included in The Restaurant Guide 2020, published by AA Publishing.