Umthunzi Hotel and Conference was honoured at the prestigious provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards recently.
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Hailed as “the best of the best”, they were selected from 1 385 entries and will now represent the province and go forward to the national finals to be hosted by the Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom in Johannesburg next month.
The Lilizela Tourism Awards are an initiative of the National Department of Tourism and are spearheaded by South African Tourism. The sixth Lilizela awards, which recognise service excellence, were presented by Sihle Zikalala, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, at a glittering gala event at the Sani Pass Premier Resort in the southern Drakensberg.
Ryan Ringo, general manager of Umthunzi Hotel and Conference in Tweni, said they were proud to have scooped the 2018 Lilizela ‘Best Three-Star Hotel in KZN’ at the provincial leg of the awards.
He added that the Lilizela Awards replaced the former AA Accommodation Awards which ran for several years. The hotel, situated in the leafy suburb of Umtentweni, had also won the Lilizela Award in 2014, in 2015 (both regional and national) and taken runner-up spot in 2016.
Mr Ringo praised Haley Mcintosh, acting food and beverage manager, who had recently been awarded gold in KZN regional Diners Club Winelist Awards.
Mr Zikalala told guests on the night that winning the country’s premier tourism award did not only set a business apart, but it also encouraged others to strive for the coveted top honour.
“The honourees this evening represent the crème de la crème in the KwaZulu-Natal tourism sector, who make providing excellent service not just a practice, but a way of life,” said Mr Zikalala.
Nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction of displaying a Lilizela Award plaque in your reception or entrance hall. Those who win should remember that they have been recognised by no less than 80 percent of the votes from the public. As I said at last year’s ceremony, this is a highly competitive global industry and success does not happen overnight.
He said it took hard work and devotion to make every tourist’s visit memorable.
“It takes product innovation and service excellence to ensure that each visitor returns home as word-of-mouth ambassadors and mobile billboards for KZN. I am told that there were a total of 1 385 entries in various categories in the Lilizela Awards in KZN this year. Fifty businesses have made it to the finals and 35 owners and enterprise representatives will lift the winning trophies high in the air tonight.”
*** Umthunzi Hotel and Conference is an exclusively upmarket affordable venue for weddings, conferences, accommodation, functions. Overlooking the Indian Ocean is wide Terrace Deck that leads out from the stylish décor in the restaurant. The well-appointed upmarket venue has been called “a gem” by many patrons. Serving you the full range of hotel fare from delightful full English breakfasts, delicious light lunches. buffet or 3 course a-la-carte dinners (depending on occupancy).