It was all sparkle at Nomad restaurant in Sydney on Tuesday night as we presented our travel awards. But things weren't exactly as they always have been. Hostess with the mostest Catriona Rowntree was there to rock the mic for the eighth year in a row, and our friends at Nespresso were the proud sponsors, but this time there was cause for even more celebration as we launched our inaugural Australian Hotel Guide.
It's a little black book showcasing Australia's 50 finest hotels. "We have a long and proud tradition of celebrating the country's best restaurants with our Australian Restaurant Guide," says GT editor Anthea Loucas, "and now we're excited to turn our attention to the nation's hotels."
With the cream of the Australian tourism industry in attendance, there was plenty of buzz in the room as Rowntree announced the evening's award winners. Among the victors were Canberra newcomer Hotel Hotel, which won Best Boutique City Hotel (so good they named it twice), Park Hyatt Sydney, which took out the title of Best Large City Hotel, and Sofitel Brisbane Central, which went home with the gong for the all-important Best Club Sandwich category.
The crowd, a mix of hoteliers, industry insiders and media traded war stories and table-hopped with a vengeance, pausing just long enough to make the most of chef Nathan Sasi's breezy Mediterranean-inspired food. Platters of house-made charcuterie and barbecued carrots with sheep's milk labne were among the favourites, and the pièce de résistance, wood-roasted whole hog, with bowls of crunch-tastic crackling to boot.
All in all, it was a night of fabulous food, great company and lots of smiles in celebration of ground-breaking new beginnings.
Vote for your favourite hotel in our Readers' Choice Awards competition for your chance to win a trip to Italy courtesy of British Airways and Mr & Mrs Smith.