Hospitality Superheroes Celebrated at LHVA Awards

The Leeds hospitality sector came together last night, Thursday 27 June, to celebrate the 12thannual Leeds Hotel and Venues Association (LHVA) Awards Dinner, held at the Leeds United, Elland Road Conference & Events Centre.

Hosted by BBC Look North’s very own Harry Gration (MBE), the award ceremony celebrated the cream of the crop of the city’s hotel and venue staff. LHVA received headline sponsorship from Leeds BID and gold sponsorship from Trinity Leeds, ensuring the 12th anniversary celebrations were a roaring success.

The Centenary Pavilion became an assemble of hospitality heroes of supermen and wonder women as guests were treated to a Pow-tastic night of superhero celebrations and Marvel-lous recognition of the best of the city’s hotel and venues staff.  Often unsung heroes, it was their night to celebrate, recognise and reward Leeds best and brightest of the hospitality industry.

Wayne Topley, Chair of Leeds Hotels and Venues Associations, said:

“I am immensely proud to be the Chair of LHVA and have the opportunity to honour the best of the city’s hospitality industry.  The Awards is one of the most highly anticipated events of the calendar and this year did not disappoint! The calibre of nominations for our 12th annual awards was exceptional, and our judges had a tough job to decide upon the winners.  Over 300 guests were able to celebrate their achievements at the fabulous awards event at the prestigious Leeds Utd ground.”

This year’s highlights included:

The Chairman, Wayne Topley, called upon Judith Milea, of Holiday Inn Express Leeds City Centre, to accept his Chairman’s Award for 2019 in recognition of her contribution, not just to the hotel and hotel chain, but to the hospitality industry of Leeds as a whole.  Judith’s incredible 18-year career at Holiday Inn Express was celebrated together with her skill for spotting and nurturing the hospitality talent of the future.

New for 2019 was the Chef of the Year Award, sponsored by Leeds City College, this category celebrated the best of ten Leeds chefs who have completed a six-week training course in partnership with the college and LHVA to equip them with the culinary skills required to work and excel in a prestigious and contemporary hotel kitchen.  Simona Di Tillio of Leeds Marriot Hotel was the deserving winner and one to watch for the inaugural Chef of the Year award.

Michael Waller, DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds and Ross Hall of Leeds Marriott Hotel, were joint winners of the Apprentice of the Year Award, sponsored by Ambition. The judges were impressed but their passion for the role and expected to see great things from them both in the future.

Sponsored by Jam Entertainment, the Unsung Hero Award is a chance for those staff members who are often ‘behind the scenes’ to gain recognition. Adam Martin, DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds was delighted to be recognised for his work and team ethic.

Awarded for her continued commitment to developing others and nurture their talents to help them progress to the next level, Donna Shine, of Clayton Hotel Leeds was thrilled to take home theMentor of the Year Award, sponsored by Bhayani Law. 

Caroline Smith, Oulton Hall Hotel and Victoria Cowlwell of Dakota Leeds, were the joint winners of the coveted Exceptional Customer Service Back of House sponsored by Bonner & Hindley. 

A tough category to judge, the Customer Service Front of House Award, sponsored by Leeds United Conferencing & Events is always fiercely competitive and highly regarded amongst the hotels and venues. The well-deserved award went to Su Akdag of Malmaison Leeds.

The People’s Choice was the only award voted for by the public and this year saw more nominations than ever before. Karim Amrouch of Oulton Hall Hotel was clearly a very popular choice and received a standing ovation from the audience.

The award for Lifetime Achievement, sponsored by Zebra Print Management, acknowledges those staff members who have dedicated their careers to the hospitality industry. Congratulations went to Linda Lockwood of the Cosmopolitan Hotel with the proviso that she never retires or lose her passion for the job.

Rising Star, sponsored by Trinity Leeds was won by Andrew Hone of Leeds Marriott Hotel, again the judges said they expected great things from him in the future, and that he represented important changes that the hospitality industry must make for the future.

The Top Team Award, with headline sponsorship from Leeds BID, was certainly one of the most raucously applauded throughout the night, with the Human Resources team at The Marriott Leeds proving to be a very popular choice indeed.

Here is the full list of our winners, runners up and highly commended hospitality superheroes.

Chairman’s Award Holiday Inn Express Leeds City Centre Judith Milea WINNER
Chef of the Year Dakota Leeds Siyabonga Ndlovu Highly Commended
Chef of the Year Leeds Marriott Hotel Simona Di Tillio WINNER
Apprentice Park Plaza Hotel Jaime Swain Highly Commended
Apprentice The Queens Hotel Georgina York Highly Commended
Apprentice DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds Michael Waller JOINT WINNER
Apprentice Leeds Marriott Hotel Ross Hall JOINT WINNER
Mentor Park Plaza Hotel Adam Graham Highly Commended
Mentor DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds Mark Shepherd 2nd Place
Mentor Clayton Hotel Donna Shine WINNER
People’s Choice Oulton Hall Hotel Karim Amrouch WINNER
Lifetime Achievement Leeds Marriott Hotel Virginia Sparkes 2nd Place
Lifetime Achievement Cosmopolitan Leeds Linda Lockwood WINNER
Customer Service – Back of House Cosmopolitan Leeds Emma Lockwood Highly Commended
Customer Service – Back of House Oulton Hall Hotel Caroline Smith JOINT WINNER
Customer Service – Back of House Dakota Leeds Victoria Cowlwell JOINT WINNER
Customer Service – Front of House DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds Lauren McGuire Highly Commended
Customer Service – Front of House Dakota Leeds David Firth Highly Commended
Customer Service – Front of House Malmaison Leeds Su Akdag WINNER
Unsung Hero Hilton Leeds City Daniel Corrick Highly Commended
Unsung Hero Malmaison Leeds Chris Rogerson Highly Commended
Unsung Hero Dakota Leeds Dann Welsh 2nd Place
Unsung Hero DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds Adam Martin WINNER
Rising Star HI Express Royal Armouries Filippo Spampinato Highly Commended
Rising Star Jury’s Inn Leeds Dan Clark-Coates Highly Commended
Rising Star Park Plaza Leeds Jayden Hope Highly Commended
Rising Star Hilton Leeds City Mozhdeh Darafarin 2nd Place
Rising Star Leeds Marriott Hotel Andrew Hone 1st Place
Top Team Oulton Hall Hotel Housekeeping Highly Commended
Top Team Dakota Leeds Front of House Team 3rd Place
Top Team The Queens Hotel Front Office Team 2nd Place
Top Team Leeds Marriott Hotel Human Resources WINNER