Hampshire celebrates as Beautiful South Awards' finalists announced

Hampshire celebrates as Beautiful South Awards' finalists announced

Many involved in Hampshire's hospitality and tourism industries have been celebrating with the news of the finalists in this year's Beautiful South Awards.

The prestigious awards received more than 130 entries from a wide range of tourism organisations. The judging panel, consisting of experienced industry professionals, spent several months reviewing applications, making mystery visits and carrying out research. The judges look for excellence, quality and innovation.

The Hampshire Food Festival has been announced as a finalist in the 'Tourism Event of the Year' category. The annual month-long festival is organised by the county food group, Hampshire Fare. It takes place every July and involves more than 80 food and farming events across Hampshire. Farm tours, cookery classes, markets, wine tasting, jam-making events are just some of the events open to the public.

This is not the first time the Hampshire Food Festival has been recognised at the awards. Last year the festival was awarded the Gold Award making it the overall winner in the same category. Mike Wright, Chairman of Hampshire Fare commented: 'We are very proud that the festival has been announced as a finalist. The festival is a unique celebration of Hampshire's food and farming communities and is well supported by local residents and visitors to the county attracting 295,000 visitors. It is wonderful news that so many Hampshire Fare members are also finalists. This is a reflection of the high quality of service offered by hospitality venues in Hampshire. We wish them all the very best of luck for the finals in November.'

Seven Hampshire Fare members have been announced as finalists. The Old Vine in Winchester has been shortlisted in the 'Bed and Breakfast, Guest Accommodation of the Year' category. Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa and Marwell Hotel are both finalists in the 'Business Tourism' category. Lainston House Hotel is a finalist in the 'Large Hotel/Townhouse of the Year' group. The Cloud Hotel, The Montagu Arms and The White Horse Hotel and Brasserie are all shortlisted in the category of 'Small Hotel/Townhouse of the Year'.

Colin Parks, Head Concierge at Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa has been nominated as a finalist in the 'Outstanding Customer Service' category. He commented on the achievement: 'I am truly grateful to have been selected in the shortlist for the Excellence in Customer Service category of the Beautiful South Awards. As Head Concierge, my job revolves around customer service and I guess it's just something that comes naturally, I certainly do not take it for granted however.

'Being lucky enough to be able to call Careys Manor Hotel my place of work and the New Forest my home, I relish the opportunity to introduce the wonders of the area to guests arriving for their stay. Despite having worked at Careys Manor for the past 31 years, I never get tired of meeting all of the wonderful people I have the opportunity to speak to on a daily basis; I honestly couldn't imagine a job I would rather do.'

Ashton Gray from The Old Vine in Winchester is also pleased with the news: 'We're delighted to have made it to the finals of the B&B category. Welcoming our guests to this lovely part of the world is always a pleasure - and to have our efforts rewarded with this nomination is such a thrill. A big thank you to everyone who's supported our efforts to gradually restore this magnificent building over the years - from the loyal customers who return week in week out, to the local food and drink producers whose passion for their wonderful products has made it a delight to work in the hospitality industry'

The awards ceremony will be held in November at The Fellbridge Hotel in West Sussex.