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Watervale Hotel’s top honour at SA Hotel Industry Awards

Ice-cold beer, friendly service and a decent crumbed schnitzel with a handful of sauces to choose from – the three key ingredients to a well-loved pub. Or has the recipe changed?

At last week’s South Australian Hotel Industry Awards, top honours were given for luxury, vibrancy and elegance.

Held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the ultimate hotel accolades for excellence were revealed, with the awards continuing to roll in for Clare Valley’s tourism beacon, the Watervale Hotel.

Watervale Hotel – Best in South Australia, Best in the World

A frothy and a bierstick at the bar is a world away from the offerings at Watervale Hotel. Offering Epicurean Experiences, Farm Tours and Degustation Dining, the Hotel was inducted into the Australian Hotels Association Hall of Fame, after being awarded for the third consecutive year, as the hotel with the “Best Innovation, Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Practices”.

Last month, the incredibly classy country hotel was named Global Hotel Restaurant of the Year, at the Corporate Livewire 2023 Awards. LUXlife Magazine also hailed Watervale Hotel,  the ‘Best Culinary Experience’ in the World.

Attracting visitors from all over the world, the food served at the hotel is produced locally from the owners’ own organic and biodynamic Penobscot Farm.

Nicola Palmer, who owns the hotel with her husband Warwick Duthy, said the couple’s greatest hope was that their example could influence how others run their hotels and restaurants to minimise waste and use all of the edible produce that comes through their doors.

“We have had bookings made by tourists from Europe and North America from home whilst planning their Australian tours, claiming to have read about us in LuxLife. One couple from Luxembourg decided to fly into Adelaide and travel direct to Watervale for their first night in Australia. Another couple from California in Adelaide for Comicon decided to extend their Australian visit in the Clare Valley to dine with us,” Nicola said.

“We give thanks to Jared Murray of Green Living Permaculture and everyone who has worked at Penobscot Farm for their role in our Watervale circular economy.”

Other South Australian Hotel Industry Award winners

While Unley’s Cremorne Hotel won the coveted title of Best Overall Hotel – General Division, following a transformative renovation, with “vibrance and casually elegant ambience”, there were plenty of accolades for hotels in outlying regions, stretching from the Limestone Coast to the Eyre Peninsula.

McLaren Vale Hotel claimed the title of the Best Overall Hotel in the Country category, as well as Best Redeveloped Country Hotel and the W.T. Spurr AO Award for Tourism and Regional Promotion, in acknowledgement of its contribution and promotion of the McLaren Vale Region.

In the Best Luxury Hotel Accommodation Division, Mount Lofty House’s stunning Sequoia Lodge took out the honours for its adults-only luxury lodge set on a 30 acre nature setting atop of Mount Lofty, affectionately known as Koala Mountain.
Mount Lofty House Guest Relations Manager Christopher Speck, was awarded Employee Excellence in
Service – Accommodation Division, and the stunning Sequoia Lodge at Mount Lofty House, won Best Luxury
Hotel Accommodation.

Other South Australian Hotel Industry Award Winners were – 
TAB Licenced Venue –  V Hotels Virginia
The V Hotel, situated in Virginia South Australia, boasts a sleek and modern industrial atmosphere, with an expansive Sports Bar including three TAB terminals and Keno facilities, big screens for your  favourite sports events and a gaming room boasting 36 pokie machines.
Bar Presentation & Experience (Country) –  Noky @ The Henty
A friendly and local neighbourhood watering hole in Mount Gambier, Noky @ the Henty specialises in good food, a brilliantly stocked bar, and locally sourced produce.

Outdoor or Non-Enclosed Facility (Country) –  Port Lincoln Hotel
A casual vibe with a dreamy coastal backdrop, Bayside at the Port Lincoln Hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy a hearty breakfast with a short black, lunch with friends, cocktails or a relaxed family dinner.

Community Service & Support – Berri Hotel
The community-owned Berri Hotel is located in the heart of Berri, with a stunning river-front location offering a range of accommodation, including poolside villas’s, as well as picnic and BBQ facilities.

Deluxe Pub Accommodation – Stirling Hotel
A 110-year-old hotel with elevator access to five boutique, ultra-lux rooms nestled amidst the treetops in the stunning Adelaide Hills.

Gaming Venue  (Country) – Middleton Tavern
Middleton Tavern offers an excellent range of quality Bistro meals at an affordable price in a family-friendly atmosphere. The Tavern features a large open Bistro, private function room, new modern Gaming Room, TAB, Lotto and Keno, Sports Bar and a drive-through Bottle Shop.

Bistro Casual Dining (Country) –  Dalrymple Hotel, Stansbury
The Dalrymple Bistro continues to merge the traditional pub food expected by so many in the country,
with more refined dishes on a modern Australian theme with a touch of Asian flavour.  The dining room overlooks the beautiful Oyster Bay & Gulf St Vincent, providing diners with glorious sea views.

Hotel Industry Rising Star – Penneshaw Pub – Renae Daniell
Awarded for her personal dedication, leadership and commitment, as well as her knowledge, expertise and ambitions in the Hotel Industry.

All SA winners will now be entered into the AHA National Hotel Awards, to be held in Adelaide on 27 November.


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