Friday 13 December 2019

Wexford hotel named best in country at prestigious awards

Georgina Campbell, Laura Bowe, Mairead Doyle and Richard Corrigan with the Hotel of the Year Award
Georgina Campbell, Laura Bowe, Mairead Doyle and Richard Corrigan with the Hotel of the Year Award

Simon Bourke

The Marlfield House Hotel in Gorey has been named Ireland's best hotel at the prestigious Georgina Campbell Irish Food and Hospitality Awards 2020.

Now in their 21st year, the Georgina Campbell Awards aim to recognise and honour Ireland's standard bearers in food and hospitality with a particular emphasis this year being put on the industry pioneers who had put down quality markers a generation or more ago.

Throughout the year, the awards programme made anonymous assessment visits and winners were nominated solely by an independent assessment team.

Opened in 1978 by Ray and Mary Bowe, the Marlfield House Hotel was a former residence of the Earls of Courtown.

It is now run by Mary and Ray's daughters, Margaret and Laura.

As well as the main house, they now also operate the informal café-restaurant, The Duck, alongside the kitchen garden - and also Duck Lodge, a contemporary self-catering cottage.

Reacting to the win, Laura said, 'The Georgina Campbell awards are very well regarded in the industry, it's one of the top accolades and it's properly judged, so we were obviously delighted to win.

'It's lovely to win awards, it's good for morale. So much of our custom is based in Wexford and the South East, we are very much Irish-based and have a lot of repeat business, without our customers we are nothing.'

Asked how they maintain standards at such a challenging time for the industry, Laura said, 'By living on site, by being owner driven and having a strong management team working for us.'

Wexford had further cause for celebration as The Wilds in Enniscorthy was named Just Ask Restaurant of the Year.

The Just Ask campaign encouraged diners to look for information on menus about where the food on their plate came from and is all about promoting engagement and transparency in the farm to fork process.

Simon Nelson, who runs the restaurant with wife Paula Asple, said the award was 'recognition for using and promoting local produce'.

'Where possible we use local producers and when customers see our menus they know they can ask where the food came from,' Simon said.

'Winning this awards is really a testament to the quality of the providers we have and the ethos we have, of going outside the standard food provider to find local produce. Our original idea was to create a cafe which offered something a little different.'

Praising Simon and Paula, Georgina Campbell said, 'You really can expect a true taste of Wexford when visiting places like The Wilds.

'The philosophy there has always been to use local and Irish seasonal, free range and organic ingredients where possible, and the suppliers and producers credited on every menu at The Wilds include some of the very best producers in Wexford and the neighbouring counties.

In a further boost for the county, Kelly's Café in Drinagh was named one of Ireland's three best cafés, narrowly missing out on the overall Café of the Year award.

Having received a Highly Commended nod from the judging panel, Rachel Corish, manager at Kelly's Café said, 'We are delighted with this award, to be named in the top three for café of the year for the Georgina Campbell Irish Food and Hospitality Awards is brilliant.

'We're very proud of the team we have here. In just a few weeks we'll be celebrating our sixth birthday and it is great to be going into our sixth year with this award.'

Kelly's Café is part of Kelly's Resort Hotel & Spa and is located in Meadows & Byrne Store in Drinagh.

It contains 120 seats and serves breakfast and lunch menus based on homemade and fresh local produce.

It has previously won Ireland's Best Café in association with the Irish Restaurant Association Ireland.

Amongst the many guests who attended the prestigious awards were Richard Corrigan, Darina Allen, Michael Deane, Niall McKenna and Andy McFadden, all of whom are widely recognised as leading the way in the promotion of Ireland's thriving food and hospitality industries.

Wexford People