THE WINNER:The Goring Hotel Sponsored by: Colliers Robert Barry
An industry dynasty, brilliantly family-operated for four years, it should have been nominated years ago" - words used to describe the Goring hotel in London's Belgravia. Opened in 1910 by OR Goring, the luxury five-star property has remained in family ownership for four generations and 99 years. It set standards by becoming the first hotel in the world to have private bathrooms and central heating in every room.
More recently the venue has undergone a significant programme of improvements with the transformation of the dining room, and an archive room and a veranda added to the back of the terrace. The open space seats 24 people overlooking the beautifully manicured Goring Gardens, where guests can dine throughout the day.
The bar and lounge, designed by Tim Gosling, underwent refurbishment last year, and efforts were made to maintain the character of the area, including replicas of the original furniture alongside new features such as bespoke carpets, gilded ceilings and the addition of Swarovski crystal chandeliers which are lowered in the evening.
Judge Gordon Cartwright described the Goring as "the real deal - it's memorable, genuine, and the staff are key. The Goring is head and shoulders above the rest. Many hotels enjoy ‘pillar of the industry' status, but few can claim to be at its cutting edge as well. The Goring serves as an inspiration to those in the industry who share the belief that unswerving best practice can comfortably coexist with innovation and dynamic investment."
Last year's winner, Beppo Buchanan-Smith of the Isle of Eriska hotel, commented: "Over its 100-year history the Goring hotel has seen many changes and faced many challenges. However, throughout this time, and with excellent management and guidance from the top, it has developed and evolved to remain at the forefront of the industry. Through timeless hospitality and service it has managed to balance the traditions of the past with the contemporary trials of modern life that make it a model for others to aspire to."
Richard Ball added: "The Goring typifies all that is best about the independent hotel sector - a delightful mix of eccentricity, motivated, caring staff and true hospitality, it utterly deserves this award in its centenary year."
- The Goring Hotel, London
- The Hoxton Urban Lodge, London
- Lucknam Park, Colerne, Wiltshire
- Richard Ball, managing director, Calcot Manor
- Beppo Buchanan-Smith, managing director, the Isle of Eriska hotel
- Gordon Cartwright, UK and overseas key account manager, Automobile Association
- David Cochrane, chief executive, HIT Scotland
- Melvin Gold, managing director, Melvin Gold Consulting
- Grant Hearn, chief executive officer, Travelodge Hotels
- Theresa Maw, general manager, Renaissance Chancery Court
- David Orr, chief executive, City Inn