Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, today presented husband and wife team, Geraldine and Adrian Noonan, proprietors and managers of Westport’s Knockranny House Hotel and Spa with the ultimate accolade of ‘AA Ireland Hotel of the Year 2012/2013.’ The award is the most prestigious of its kind in the Irish Hospitality Industry and enormous consideration goes into the selection of the most fitting recipient each year.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “Congratulations to hoteliers Adrian and Geraldine Noonan of Knockranny House Hotel, and also to their fellow award winners here today. They are all excellent ambassadors for the Irish hospitality sector, and clearly go the extra mile to provide a first class experience to their guests. Next year’s Gathering Ireland will provide a unique opportunity to put Ireland on the world stage as a top-notch holiday destination. That’s why today’s award winners are so important, by doing their bit to drive Irish standards even higher.”
The AA has been inspecting and grading hotels in Ireland for more than a century and are delighted to celebrate the achievements of Knockranny House Hotel and their staff. Excellence in service and hospitality as well as a clear demonstration of continuous improvement are key in attaining the coveted title of AA Hotel of the Year and AA Hotel Inspectors reveal that Knockranny House Hotel have been in very close contention over recent years.
Evolving the hotel: Since opening fifteen years ago, the Noonan’s have shown an enduring commitment to enhancing and evolving their hotel. Among their undertakings have been the addition of 40 luxury bedrooms in 1996 which brought their total to 97. Among their bedrooms are 13 sumptuous suites which include a magnificent Presidential Suite, Penthouse Suite and a number of beautiful Master and Courtyard Suites.
Other key developments at Knockranny House Hotel over the last decade have included an extension of their celebrated La Fougére restaurant and impressive Nephin Conference Suite. They also launched their award winning spa, Spa Salveo which includes numerous thermal suites, treatment rooms and pool to great success in 2005.
Award winning cuisine: Another important event in Knockranny House Hotel’s journey to becoming AA Hotel of the Year was the appointment of vastly experienced Executive Head Chef, Seamus Commons three years ago. Having spent years in some of the country’s finest kitchens, Mayo native Seamus has earned a host of awards for the hotel including 2 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence. Commons also goes to great lengths to develop his team having mentored two of the most recent winners of the Eurotorques Best Young Chefs in Ireland.
In addition to excellent cuisine, the overall quality of visitor experience delivered throughout at Knockranny House Hotel helped them to achieve the highest merit score in the country according to AA Hotel Inspectors. The service, accommodation, amenities and setting all scored very highly contributing to Knockranny House Hotel earning the top accolade of AA Hotel of the Year.
Proprietor and General Manager Adrian Noonan on their award: “The people who work with us every day are the real recipients of this award. Their hard work, dedication and genuine warmth are the reasons our guests return time and time again. Thank you AA Ireland for recognizing them”.
In addition to attracting guests for its award winning cuisine and spa facilities Knockranny House Hotel is also one of the most popular wedding and conference venues in Connaught.
“It’s a huge and very challenging feat to be named AA Hotel of the Year and only a hotel which exemplifies the very best that Ireland has to offer can be deemed worthy. Our every congratulations go to the Noonan family and their loyal and passionate team on their achievement. They have been a very close contender for the award for a number of years now and enormous credit goes to them all for their drive and determination in making Knockranny House Hotel the excellent destination it is today.” Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.
OTHER AWARD WINNERS
AA IRELAND GUEST ACCOMMODATION OF THE YEAR AWARD 2012/2013
The Heron’s Cove B&B and Restaurant, Goleen, West Cork has been named the ‘AA Ireland Guest Accommodation of the Year for 2012/2013’, an award which is given to the best in the AA’s Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse and Farmhouse category.
Owned by Eurotoques chef, Sue Hill, The Heron’s Cove B&B and Restaurant was opened in 1985. A special accolade, the AA Guest Accommodation of the Year is awarded annually to a unique establishment which AA Hotel Inspectors would recommend personally to their own friends and family.
Features which particularly set The Heron’s Cove apart from the many other fine properties within the same category are its stunning harbour-side location and its AA Rosette award winning cuisine according to AA Hotel Inspectors. The Heron’s Cove is tucked away on a narrow road to a delightful tidal cove, which boasts an abundance of interesting wild life which, of course, includes the Heron.
AA IRELAND COURTESY & CARE AWARD 2012/2013
Gougane Barra Hotel, Ballingeary, Co. Cork has been announced as the ‘AA Courtesy and Care Award 2012/2013’. The Award, linked to the AA’s motto of Courtesy and Care, is awarded annually to the AA hotel, which stands apart in its delivery of superb Irish hospitality.
Owned and run by the Cronin/Lucey Family for five generations, Gougane Barra Hotel situated in the Muscraí Gaeltacht area is no stranger to winning awards. They have been awarded an AA Rosette for culinary excellence annually since 2006 and were also awarded the “AA Tourism Innovation Award” in 2008 for their highly successful “Theatre by the Lake” programme which is housed in a marquee on the stunning lake shore.
Leading to the selection of Gougane Barra Hotel as the AA Courtesy and Care Award, AA Hotel Inspectors noted the resounding attitude among staff that nothing is too much trouble. Staff are so keen to please that they’re almost disappointed if they cannot go out of their way to help guests according to AA Hotel Inspectors.
AA IRELAND BEAN AN Tí OF THE YEAR 2012/2013
Teresa Browne proprietor of Clareville House B&B, Tuamgraney, Scariff, East Clare has been named AA Ireland Bean an Tí of the Year 2012/2013. This special award, unique to Ireland, now in its third year, celebrates exceptional commitment and hard work by an individual proprietor to first-rate hospitality.
A hidden gem in the picturesque town of Tuamgraney adjacent to Scariff at the west end of Lough Derg, Clareville House B&B is a firm favorite among all who stay there. Guests seemingly without exception, are utterly charmed by the warmth and sincerity of the hospitality offered by Teresa and her husband Derek who take joy in going out of their way to assist their guests.
In addition to Teresa’s clear enthusiasm for making people feel welcome, among the other factors which distinguished Clareville House B&B her from the many other excellent practitioners in the category was the excellent standard of both their bedrooms and made to order breakfasts.
Notes to the editor;
2. The following images are available for free download at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaireland/ from 3pm on 17/10/2012:
3. Interviews: Adrian Noonan will be available for interview after 3pm on Wednesday 17th October to arrange please contact Gillian Duke, Host PR, 00353 1 855 8500/00353 87 9050287
4. Origins of the AA Star rating system
AA Hotel Services had its beginning in 1908 in the UK when it was discovered that motorists were having difficulty finding reasonable meals and accommodation. It was then decided at the annual AGM to introduce a new scheme to include selected hotels in the AA member’s handbook and distinguish these hotels with a specially commissioned AA sign. In 1912, the then AA secretary, Stenson Cooke, who had once been a wine and spirit salesman, proposed a star rating system, not dissimilar to that used for brandy. And so the hotel star rating system was born, with three star classification being adopted as the standard. It was at this time that the first AA hotel inspectors were introduced.
5. About the AA Hospitality Awards
The AA Hospitality Awards are amongst the most prestigious awards of their kind and draw on the unrivalled knowledge and expertise of the AA inspectorate and other industry professionals involved in the judging process. Winners are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12 to 18 months and proving their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences.
6. Further information on:
7. For further information on other awards winners listed above please contact: Declan/Marjorie, AA Ireland Hospitality Services on firstname.lastname@example.org / 01 6179375