National awards for Edgewater and Kika

 Wanaka's Edgewater (left) has won the Hospitality New Zealand best hotel award for 2017. PHOTO:...
Wanaka's Edgewater (left) has won the Hospitality New Zealand best hotel award for 2017. PHOTO: SUPPLIED and KERRIE WATERWORTH
Wanaka's popularity as a tourist destination is likely to grow even faster following two Wanaka businesses winning major national awards at the 2017 Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence last week.

Edgewater won the best hotel award and Kika the best restaurant award.

More than 400 people attended the 20th annual Awards for Excellence gala dinner in central Wellington last Thursday night to honour the achievements of hospitality and accommodation businesses.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Vicki Lee said the judges all agreed the 46 finalists and the 19 winners were of a notably high calibre this year.

Wanaka's Edgewater general manager Mike Barton said he was ``delighted'' to win the best hotel award as the independently owned and operated property had faced some ``very stiff competition'' from major hotel corporations in Auckland.

Kika restaurant won the restaurant of the year category.
Kika restaurant won the restaurant of the year category.
He said he had had ``some fairly intensive discussions with the judges'', and Edgewater's extensive community involvement through sponsorship of sports clubs, schools and arts festivals and its sustainable environmental practices would have contributed to it winning the national award.

Kika tapas restaurant executive chef James Stapley said winning the best restaurant award was a ``validation'' of their way of doing things.

``We offer quite a complete package because you can come have a few drinks and a few
bites to eat or you can share dinner plates with a group of 20 and stay there all night. There are no bookings and no time limits,'' he said.

Kika's waiting staff were trained to know the dishes so ``you're going to get looked after very well by people who know what they're doing'', he said.

Mr Stapley said the judges ``loved what we do ... I think if you get into hospitality you really want people to enjoy what you do and that's the core of it really.''

 - Kerrie Waterworth

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