Venues shine in top tourism awards – with Bath hotel and restaurant named ‘winner of winners’

December 4, 2023

Leisure and hospitality businesses from across the Bath area were among the victors at the region’s top tourism awards, with a city hotel and its restaurant claiming the coveted ‘winner of winners’ title.

The Queensberry Hotel and the Olive Tree Restaurant, pictured, on Russel Street claimed the prestigious accolade at the end of the Bristol Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards ceremony.

The success of the hotel and restaurant – led by Bath’s only Michelin-starred chef Chris Cleghorn – topped off a memorable evening during which the Queensbury collected the Small Hotel of the Year award and the Olive Tree was named the Restaurant for Year.

Other Bath area winners included Newton St Loe-based West of England Falconry, which landed Gold in the Small Visitor Attraction category – having won last year’s Experience of the Year (Active or Learning) top award.

No1 Royal Crescent, the museum run by Bath Preservation Trust, secured Bronze in the same category while Corsham-based Galahad Tours, which stagess driver-guided tours, also walked away with a Bronze in the New Tourism Business Award.

The Old Stables Bed & Breakfast in Shepton Mallet won Silver in the Dog Friendly Business category with Bath’sWorld Heritage Centre, whichbopened , secured the Visitor Information Service Silver Award.

Two very different events staged in the Avon Valley County Park at Keynsham – FEAR Sream Park and Avon Valley Avon Valley Pumpkin Patch  – landed Silver and Bronze respectively in the Tourism Event/Festival of the Year category.

The Olive Tree and Chris Cleghorn are no strangers to accolades. A year ago Chris was named Hotel Restaurant Chef of the Year at the hotel industry ‘Oscars’, the Hotel Cateys while in January the restaurant was ranked among the UK’s top 100 best dining establishments in the latest Hardens guide – the only UK restaurant guide sold in bookshops based on feedback from diners rather than professional inspectors or critics.

Chris’s ambition when he joined The Olive Tree in 2013 was to gain a Michelin Star.

Within nine months his passion and drive to deliver exceptional standards of dining had been recognised with three AA rosettes – with the hoped-for Michelin Star following in 2018.

Some 64 awards in total were handed out at the ceremony at the Bristol Hotel, which was hosted by ITV News Somerset correspondent Ben McGrail.

He said: “We have so much to offer across the region and the night really showed off just how hard people work to make that possible. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.”

Awards director Nell Barrington said the awards got more and more competitive every year.

“They really do showcase the finest experiences visitors to the county can have and provide a truly inspirational bucket list,” he added.  

“It was a privilege to be able to celebrate with such fantastic businesses.  Congratulations to them all.”

Winners in most categories will now be considered for the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, which will take place next March at Exeter University in March 2024 and, possibly, invited to represent Bristol Bath and Somerset in the 2024 national VisitEngland Awards.


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