Kurt Ritter

The European Hospitality Awards 2012 have drawn to a close with a total of 13 awards presented to leading innovators, business owners and developers from throughout the hospitality industry.

Celebrating achievements within the industry over the past 12 months, the awards were presented at London’s Landmark Hotel by a panel of judges, which included CEOs, presidents and a Michelin star chef.

In the ‘Green Hotel’ category, Hotels van Oranje in the Netherlands took top honours in recognition of it efforts to integrate sustainability, as well as educating staff and reaching out into the wider community.

‘New Build of the Year’ for construction was awarded to Palais Namaskar in Marrakech for architecture, interiors, location, amenities and overall service philosophy, which combined to create what has been described as an ‘escapist’s paradise’ and a model for culturally sensitive developments worldwide.

‘New Build of the Year – Refurbishment & Renovation’ went to Ballyfin Demesne, Ballyfin, Ireland for work on painstaking restoration process, which lasted more than a decade to bring Ireland’s most lavish Regency mansion back to its former glory.

‘International Hotel of the Year’ was scooped by Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, which uses a fusion of iconic architecture and a successful implementation of the ‘Stay Different’ philosophy to set a high standard ahead of a period of extensive growth in China for the Jumeirah brand.

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‘Best Hotel Suite’ was picked up by the Dorchester Collection, 45 Park Lane, London, for rolling out the five-star treatment judged to be almost unrivalled in the industry.

‘Interior Design of the Year’ went to Hotel TOPAZZ, owned by the Lenikus Group in Vienna; it impressed with the sheer amount of design packed into a small space using unconventional lines, natural tones, ecologically sound furnishings, dark wooden panelling and cream textures combining to generate a grander, more spacious feel.

‘Hotel Technology of the Year’ was awarded to Blow Up Hall 50 50 in Poland, which received plaudits for being an example of the transformational potential intelligent use of high-tech wizardry can have within hospitality spaces.

‘Hotelier of the Year’ was collected by Beatrice Tollman from London for personifying the value of having a genuine hotelier running operations. According to the judges, Mrs Tollman never lost sight of the guiding principle of hospitality: service. "After five decades in the industry, Beatrice’s ongoing involvement on front line of her hotels is an inspiration, setting the standards for the next generations to follow," said the panel.

Hotel Le Bristol Paris

‘Hotel Spa of the Year’ was picked up by Hotel Le Bristol Paris, Epicure, Paris, which impressed due to its recognition of the growing number of demographics entering the hotel spa, specifically its services for families and children.

‘Best Hotel Restaurant’, which also went to Hotel Le Bristol Paris for a combination of lavish interiors from Pierre-Yves Rochon, Eric Frechon and the mastery of haute cuisine and a front of house team with an exemplary eye for detail.

‘Hotel Service of the Year’ was awarded to Hotel Hessischer Hof in Frankfurt, which demonstrated an unrelenting focus on all details of service, large and small, as well as the recognition of a fine working environment as a fundamental ingredient in creating the most welcoming of hotels.

And lastly the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was awarded to Kurt Ritter, CEO of Rezidor Hotel Group.

Speaking on the award, EEH Judges said: "Kurt Ritter was literally born into the industry, at his parents’ hotel in Interlaken, he joined his present employers as general manager in 1976 and finally steps down at the end of this year.

"The remarkable rise of Rezidor is inseparable from his own and it is difficult to think of anyone in the business today who has dedicated more of his or her life to the hospitality industry."

‘EH Awards Overall Winner for 2012’ went to France’s Hotel Le Bristol Paris. As judges remarked the hotel excels as ‘a truly innovative state of the art wellness centre that caters for all tastes and ages’.

Photo: (top) Kurt Ritter, CEO Rezidor Hotel Group. (Bottom) Hotel Le Bristol Paris, Epicure, Paris.