Leading business from across Devon were celebrating on 22 November as 80 Dartington Crystal trophies were presented in the 2018 Devon Tourism Awards at a prestigious awards dinner in the Palazzo at Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club.
Now in their 9th year the awards saw entries across 26 different categories, with each undergoing a rigorous three-phase judging process. Guests at the dinner were also enthralled by an entertaining presentation from author, presenter and estate-agent turned pig farmer Simon Dawson alongside a storming performance as MC from Thomas Chartres-Moore from Stephens Scown solicitors.
The night saw several special awards, with Michael Caines’ Lympstone Manor taking the prestigious Winner of Winners and Small Hotel trophies with judges describing the hotel as a ‘beacon’ to the industry. There was a special Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award presented to Trevor Stanbury MBE for his 20 years as the driving force behind tourism in North Devon. A further special award for Customer Service went to Helen Follett of The Folletts at Beer, following nomination by the judges.
Commenting after the Awards, organiser Robin Barker commented: “Witnessing the delight, smiles and whoops of joy from all winners it is clear how much these awards mean to everyone who takes part. Coupled with the feedback we sent to every entrant, giving them tips on how to improve still further, the awards clearly make a big difference to Devon’s tourism.”
Speaking after the event Mark Warnes, Property and Portfolio director at Hoseasons, said: “Tonight is obviously about the winners, but the truth is every one of our finalists is in their own way a fantastic advert for what keeps this county at the forefront of the UK tourism industry. The pride and passion they have shown in their businesses over the last 12 months is why people continue to see Devon as one of Britain’s best holiday destinations and why holidaymakers come back year after year.”
Award categories covered a huge range of visitor experiences from accommodation, activity centres and attractions to restaurants, pubs and cafes. A new award for Tourism Innovation and New Business went to Tree Top Escape at Millbrook Estate, who also took golds for Self Catering and Dog Friendly. The Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable gold went to The Old Kennels near Dunkeswell, while the Access and Inclusivity gold went to Otter Pool Barn in Ilfracombe.
Other accommodation golds were presented to Longlands Devon for Glamping, Cofton Holidays in the Holiday Park category, Langstone Manor Holiday Park for Camping and Caravanning, Bovey Castle in the Large Hotel category and Highcliffe House in Lynton for Bed and Breakfast.
The food and drink sector was also celebrated with the Restaurant and Bistro Gold going to Glazebrook House Hotel, Gold for Café and Tearoom going to Valley View Café near Kingsbridge and the Gold for Tourism Pub going to the Cricket Inn at Beesands.
Attraction golds went to Stuart Line Cruises and the Donkey Sanctuary, with Experience golds going to Liberty Trails on Dartmoor, who also took gold for International, Unique Devon Tours, Ashburton Cookery School and Chef’s Academy, and Elan Spa at Bovey Castle.
Glasdenbury Festival was delighted to take gold for Tourism Event and Festival, Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centres took gold for Visitor Information and Salcombe Harbour Hotel the gold for Business Tourism and Venue.
The full list of Winners and Highly Commended is HERE
Twitter: @DevonTourAwards #DevonTA