The Rees Hotel Queenstown was the joint winner of ‘Best NZ Hotel’ and 'Best Hotel Chef' in the prestigious 2017 HM Awards for Accommodation and Hotel Excellence held in Sydney. The accolade is the golden trifecta after the hotel took out the ‘Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product’ category in the Australian Society of Travel Writers awards of excellence earlier this month.
The HM Award's received 2800 entries this year across 41 categories that were judged by a panel of 20 industry professionals and travel media. The Rees was nominated as a finalist in five categories: Best Chef, Best Hotel, Best General Manager (won previously), Best Communications and Best Overall Australasian Hotel. It shared the two major awards with Sofitel Auckland and Chef, Nancy Pirini of the Novotel Auckland Airport.
The Rees General Manager, Mark Rose has been responsible for the ongoing success and outstanding growth of business for The Rees Hotel Queenstown since its opening in 2009. He is currently overseeing construction and implementation of five luxury lakeside Rees Residences due to officially open in the coming months.
Rose accepted the award saying, “I am delighted to accept this award; it’s an absolute honour. I’d like to dedicate it to my entire team for their commitment, effort and support that made this achievement possible. This belongs to them as it reflects everyone’s dedication to consistently maintaining a standard of excellence that not only meets the needs of our guests, it repeatedly exceeds them.”
The Chef Award was open to contenders from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and is considered a major gong and career highlight by recipients. The ultimate winner, Ben Batterbury head of True South Dining Room at The Rees was invited to create the spectacular dessert, 'Central Otago Dessert’ around his region's landscape and local ingredients, served on the night to over 700 industry attendees at the glittering gala event.
Ben is a culinary expert with a polished repertoire that includes French and English fusion recipes mingled with the flavours of New Zealand. He has a love of using supreme quality ingredients, particularly seasonal Southern produce personally sourced in Central Otago that he intimately hand crafts from the ground up in his True South Dining Room kitchen, ensuring perfection.
This seamless relationship between man and his tools certainly contributes to the mouth-watering monthly menus, that showcase Ben’s signature style with a strength of pairing wine with food matches that are fresh, clean on the palate and exhibit creativity, innovation and above all, remarkable flavour.
Ben's work has also been praised by The Australian's former Food Editor, Necia Wilden, who said, "…while a fine contemporary cook, perhaps...Ben Batterbury's greatest claim to glory is his affinity for matching food and wine, the result of a degree of commitment rare amongst his peers.” He has also been celebrated by National Geographic Traveller UK in the current September issue.
"We are thrilled to see Ben receive this award – it’s well-earned and deserved over 8 years of commitment to culinary excellence and building True South Dining Room's reputation as a world class hotel restaurant in New Zealand," Rose said.
Batterbury said the secret to success was simple – it’s all about the teamwork. "This is indeed an honour and validation of our approach and commitment at True South – it’s all built on the hard work of our kitchen team and support of General Manager, Mark Rose."
Both Chef Batterbury and True South Dining Room have won annual awards and international recognition for culinary excellence and a masterfully curated wine list. This year it has won the prestigious 2017 Award of Excellence by US wine and hospitality magazine, Wine Spectator, and an esteemed two stars in the World of Fine Wine's "World's Best Wine Lists Awards" for 2017. Both awards have been won for five consecutive years in a row.
Caroline Davidson, Australian public relations consultant for The Rees Hotel received the coveted Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) annual award of excellence in August for communications work on the hotel account, culminating a month of international industry recognition and a rather full trophy cabinet for the Queenstown luxury property.