The who's who of the Australian travel industry filled The Langham Sydney's Kent Street Kitchen last night for the launch of the Gourmet Traveller 2015 Australian Hotel Guide, in partnership with Nespresso.
The guide, now in its second year, puts the spotlight on the country's top 50 hotels, as judged by our team of professional sleepers, eaters and minibar inspectors, and bestows awards that range from Best Club Sandwich to the big one, Hotel of the Year.
There was a wave of anticipation across the room as glamorous host Catriona Rowntree took to the stage to announce the evening's winners. First up was the prize for Best Minibar, given to Hobart's Mona Pavilions for its extensive in-room cellar, while Canberra favourite Hotel Hotel took home the title of Best Bar and Boutique Hotel of the Year.
Soul Surfers Paradise took out the prize for Best Pool with its trio, including the spectacular outdoor tiered pool. Grand Hyatt Melbourne, meanwhile, cemented its reputation as the best place to start your day, winning the award for Best Breakfast.
Park Hyatt Sydney snapped up the all-important award for Best Service, while Tasmania's Pumphouse Point, with its breathtaking remote surrounds, took out Regional Hotel of the Year.
The effortlessly luxe offering at Crown Towers Melbourne saw it take home Large Hotel of the Year. And there was a roar of agreement as our evening's hosts, The Langham Sydney, took home a trifecta of awards: Best Club Sandwich, New Hotel of the Year and the most coveted prize of the night, Hotel of the Year.
"We're so humbled and delighted," said The Langham Sydney's general manager Sonia Lefevre. "It's very exciting and I can't wait to take these trophies to back of house with my staff to celebrate."
"The Hotel Guide is an opportunity for us to shine a light on the best hotel experiences in Australia and we are proud of our efforts in celebrating the country's best hotel operators," said Anthea Loucas, editor of Gourmet Traveller. "We travel across the continent, from Margaret River to Melbourne, to review each and every property listed in the guide and, I might add, we pay our own way. I am unaware of any other publisher in the country who invests in travel coverage in the same way we do."
Diners feasted on tartare of chard and cauliflower, topped with quail egg yolk and oscietra caviar; smoked ocean trout escabeche with rocket, lemon "pearls" and pumpernickel crumb; butter-poached marron with linguine, black truffle and burnt onion butter; and braised beef short rib with parsnip purée, Brussels sprouts and a bone marrow gel. And to round off the dinner, Campari-spiked shots of Nespresso kicked things into the next gear at the dessert buffet as guests celebrated into the night.