The inaugural Independent Hotelier of the Year was named last night as Jeremy Goring, the owner of the 102-year-old Goring hotel.
Goring, however, was unable to accept the award at the Independent Hotel Show as he was in Australia on a sales trip.
Accepting the award from chef Rick Stein on Goring's behalf, Peter Hancock, chief executive of Pride of Britain, said: "Jeremy will be absolutely thrilled by this. He is an exemplary hotelier who has made the hotel even more successful than his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather before him.
"He allows talented people within his staff to work to their full potential, be creative and, dare I say, be as eccentric as himself."
Goring later said that he and the hotel were over the moon to be given the award. "Running an independent hotel is so different from being part of a bigger organisation, because you live and die on your own successes and failures," he explained. "You have freedoms that aren't accorded in the big hotel chains, so you can deliver a much more individual experience - but that extra licence you are given can lead to much bigger disasters too."
Goring was nominated alongside nine other contenders for the award, which was launched to celebrate the figure that has made a significant impact on the independent, luxury and boutique industry. They were:
Christoph Brooke, founder and managing director of Hillbrooke Hotels
Gordon Campbell Gray, chairman of Campbell Gray Hotels
Alex & Katie Clarke, the George in Rye
Robin Hutson, executive chairman of the Limewood Group and founder of the Pig
Edmund & Charles Inkin, EatDrinkSleep (Felin Fach Griffin, the Gurnard's Head and the Old Coastguard)
Paul Milsom, chairman and managing director of Milsom Hotels
Mark Sainsbury, co-owner of the Zetter Group
Andrew Stembridge, managing director of Chewton Glen
Rebecca Whittington, Emma Stratton & Deborah Wakefield, co-owners of Bedruthan and the Scarlet
By Janet Harmer
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