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Hand Picked Hotels and the Grove scoop top AA awards

29 September 2004 by

Hand Picked Hotels and the Grove hotel in Hertfordshire have scooped the top accolades in the AA Hotel Awards for 2005.

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"Outstanding and immaculate…" the AA Hotel of the Year 2005 for England is the Grove in Rickmansworth
The AA Hotel Group of the Year award went to Hand Picked Hotels for its outstanding commitment to improvement while maintaining consistency. Owner Julia Hands said: "We at Hand Picked Hotels are thrilled to have achieved AA Hotel Group of the Year in just three years." She said the group focused on common brand values while encouraging each hotel to exploit its unique individuality. Four of the group's 14 country house hotels have AA Top 200 status and all have two to three AA rosettes. "Performance across the group has been highly impressive, and the £30m refurbishment project has resulted in several hotels being reclassified from three to four stars," said chief hotel inspector Peter Birnie. Another country house hotel - the Grove in Rickmansworth - was crowned the AA Hotel of the Year for England (the awards for Scotland and Wales follow early next month). Birnie described the five-star, 227-bedroom hotel set up last year by Daniel and Stewart Levy as "outstanding" and "immaculate" and praised its "taste and panache", "responsive" staff and no-compromise services standards. "There has been a real effort to separate the needs of its leisure market from its conferencing and banqueting, ensuring a superb experience for all customers," Birnie said. As a timely reminder that the final stage of the Disability Discrimination Act kicks in next month, the AA named the De Vere Daresbury Park in Warrington, Cheshire, as its Accessible Hotel of the Year. It noted there had been a 10% rise in establishments that provided disability awareness training, while 14% more were supplying written guidelines for disabled guests. Other awards included a new category - London Restaurant of the Year - which was won by Jeremy King and Chris Corbin for the Wolseley. "There is something for everyone here, and everyone's budget," Birnie said. Jessica's, which opened in Edgbaston, Birmingham, last year, was voted England's best restaurant. The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews, Fife, was the Scottish winner, while the Newbridge restaurant-with-rooms in Usk, Monmouthshire, was voted the best in Wales. Other Awards Pub of the Year England: The Pear Tree, Whitley, Wiltshire Scotland: Burts Hotel, Melrose, Scottish Borders Wales: The Usk Inn, Talybont on Usk, Powys Guest Accommodation of the Year England: Holly Lodge, Thursford, Norfolk Scotland: Ballachulish House, Ballachulish, Argyll Wales: Coedllys Country House, St Clears, Carmarthenshire Wine Award England: New Mill Restaurant at Eversley, Hampshire Scotland: St Tudno, Llandudno, Conwy Wales: Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye, Highland Courtesy & Care England: The Westcliff Hotel, Sidmouth, Devon Scotland: Dryfesdale Country House hotel, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire Wales: Milebrook House, Knighton, Powys
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