Nelson bars and hotels up for awards

Last updated 14:12 18/08/2012

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Four Nelson hospitality businesses have shown they can foot it on the national stage by making the finals of the industry's excellence awards.

The Milton St Sprig and Fern is a finalist in the best bar category of the Hospitality New Zealand awards, competing with bars in Auckland, Wellington and New Plymouth.

Milton St Sprig and Fern owner Tracy Banner said she was thrilled her pub had been chosen as one of the four top bars in New Zealand.

"I can't believe it. It's just totally overwhelming, but to be honest I had the confidence in the bar."

Mrs Banner, who is also head brewer for Sprig and Fern, said the bar had won the best bar in the regional competition for the past three years.

She said what made the bar a success was a combination of factors she said her staff were fantastic and the ambience at the bar - which does not have any TV screens or pokie machines - was also a draw card.

The customers were also amazing and often ended up talking to other people at the next table and people like that interaction.

"The customers make it what it is."

Another point of difference was that it allowed people to bring in food from the next door Milton Street Takeaway.

Little Rock Bar and Nightclub is a finalist in the excellence in host responsibility awards.

Little Rock owner and HANZ Nelson branch president Ron Taylor said the Little Rock had twice won the Outstanding Host Responsibility category and last year he was was named Personality of the Year.

Mr Taylor said it was a great honour to be recognised by the hospitality industry, which was a big sector.

"It's a fantastic honour for us, our staff and the Little Rock."

He said the award recognised not only his work and the work of his staff.

The hospitality industry on Nelson's Bridge St has copped criticism due to anti-social alcohol-fuelled behaviour in Nelson at the weekends.

The nomination reflected the work that Nelson was doing to lead the way nationally to change the problem, Mr Taylor said.

"I'm just a front person receiving it for all of us. I'm pretty proud of Nelson."

Mr Taylor said he took that criticism personally and felt bad every time anything bad happened in the city.

He was really pleased at the work that bar owners, the police and Nelson City Council were doing to make Bridge St a nicer, safer place.

The Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is up for a number of awards including best restaurant for its restaurant The Orangerie. It is also a finalist in the Best Accommodation and Excellence in Marketing categories.

Manager Claire Davies said the complex had recently won the Accor Grand Mercure for the whole of Australia and New Zealand.

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She believed its success was due to fantastic, hard working staff who were constantly trying to ensure customers had the best service.

Peppers Awaroa Lodge is a finalist in the Best Environmental, Sustainable and Ethical Practice category.

Mantra Group regional manager Ken Harris said it was awesome to be a finalist. The group had nominated a number of hotels and Awaroa Lodge was the only one to make the cut to the finals.

Mr Harris said hotels were not always green but Awaroa Lodge was a shining example and was a true specimen of New Zealand's 100 per cent clean green marketing campaign and was something Peppers was extremely proud to be part of.

The hotel was part of a national park and made sure to have as low an impact on the environment as possible.

The award ceremony is held next month in Wellington.

- Nelson

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