A stunning new vineyard property on the Victorian coast was tonight named Australia’s Hotel of the Year at the annual Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Guide Awards during a celebratory dinner for hospitality leaders at QT Melbourne.
Jackalope, the extraordinary marriage of a 143-year-old Mornington Peninsula homestead and prize winery with a strikingly modern 46-room hotel, was also named New Hotel of the Year and Regional Hotel of the Year in a triumphant trifecta for the $40 million development.
“I think MONA gave me the confidence that people would appreciate a daring, bold vision in this part of the world,” said Jackalope owner Louis Li, the 29-year-old Chinese-born entrepreneur. “Luxury should be defined by rarity.”
Host hotel QT Melbourne, which opened its doors in September last year, was named Large Hotel of the Year and also took home the Best Bar award for its rooftop cocktail terrace with commanding city-skyline views.
The coveted gong for Best Club Sandwich this year went to The Louise, in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, for an unconventional version featuring prime regional produce. And the Best Minibar is the treasure trove of (free) quality drinks and house-made snacks at Como The Treasury in Perth.
The awards, presented by television personality and travel guru Catriona Rowntree before an audience of the country’s top hoteliers andtravel industry figures, marked the launch of the 2017 Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Guide – published with the June edition of Gourmet Traveller (on sale 25 May).
Sarah Oakes, Gourmet Traveller’s new editor, congratulated all 50 top hotels featured in Australia’s only national hotel guide. “The boom in new hotel openings – about 120 projects on the drawing board right now – suggests the hotel industry is on a high,” she says. “And we’re very excited to showcase the achievements of such a dynamic industry that’s central to the lives of gourmet travellers.”
The 124-page handbook is produced by a team of reviewers from the country’s leading premium lifestyle magazine, who check in unannounced and pay their way. Reviewers and editors compare their experiences to choose the nation’s top 50 hotels and the best performers in 11 award categories, from best minibar to best breakfast.
Other award winners at last night’s signature event include The Johnson in Brisbane (Best Pool), Grand Hyatt Melbourne (Best Breakfast), The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney (Boutique Hotel of the Year), and Halcyon House at Cabarita Beach in northern New South Wales (Best Service). (See the full list of award winners below.)
Once again the guide has been produced with the support of Nespresso, whose coffee machines enhance the hospitality on offer at many of Australia’s top hotels. Nespresso has been the major sponsor since the guide’s launch in 2014.
“From five-star towers to design-focused boutique hotels, the properties featured each year in Gourmet Traveller’s invaluable guide to the finest in Australian hospitality inspire me to travel more, see more and experience more in this wondrous country,” says Loïc Réthoré, General Manager of Nespresso Australia & Oceania.
2017 GOURMET TRAVELLER AUSTRALIAN HOTEL GUIDE AWARD WINNERS
Hotel of the Year: Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Large Hotel of the Year: QT Melbourne, Vic
New Hotel of the Year: Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Boutique Hotel of the Year: The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Regional Hotel of the Year: Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Best Service: Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach, NSW
Best Breakfast: Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Vic
Best Pool: The Johnson, Brisbane, Qld
Best Bar: QT Melbourne, Vic
Best Club Sandwich: The Louise, Barossa Valley, SA
Best Minibar: Como The Treasury, Perth, WA
Picture: Bauer Media General Manager, Homes and Food, Cornelia Schulze; Gourmet Traveller editor Sarah Oakes; Jackalope Hotels group general manager Tracy Atherton; awards MC and television presenter Catriona Rowntree