Mrs Beatrice Tollman, the founder of Red Carnation Hotels, has won the hotelier of the year award at the European Hospitality Awards 2012.
The judges stated: "Beatrice Tollman has never lost sight of the guiding principle of hospitality - service. After five decades in the industry, her ongoing involvement on the front line of her hotels is an inspiration, setting the standards for the next generations to follow."
It's a richly-deserved accolade also reflected in the fact that three of her group's London hotels (Hotel 41, The Milestone and Egerton House Hotel) are currently the top 3 London hotels on Tripadvisor from more than 1000 hotels in one of the world's most competitive markets. It's incredible to think that Mrs Tollman has painstakingly furnished almost every guest room within the Red Carnation Collection to ensure that each one feels absolutely personal and individual. In each hotel, she likes to reflect her home country South Africa in some way, or the animal world to highlight the group's passionately pet-friendly ethos (for example this cute dog statue we spotted in one of our visits to the Montague on the Gardens).
This award is particularly prized and recognises the uncompromisingly high levels of service and luxury at all the group's luxury boutique hotels. Upon receiving the award, Mrs Tollman made the following statement:
"I'm humbled and honoured to have been recognised for doing something that I truly love, each and every day. I thank the judges, the fantastic teams at all of my hotels and of course my wonderful family, many of whom are involved in the business too. My driving passion is to make every stay memorable for every single guest, to make them feel truly welcomed and special and I believe having this at the heart of everything we do, is what has led to this award and many of the others we are lucky to have received."
This accolade is just the latest to add to a whole raft of awards including recognition from Condé Nast Traveler for Hotel 41, The Rubens and The Chesterfield as the best hotels for business in London, as well as top 5 rankings from Travel and Leisure World's Best Awards and a 2012 début appearance in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For. You can see the full list of Red Carnation awards and accolades on their website.
Beatrice Tollman recently gave an interview with South African television in which she spoke about how she got into the hotel industry, shedding light on the passion that motivates her to continue to maintain her hotels' uncompromising standards with such energy and panache. A multi-talented woman, she has even found time to write her own cookbook, A Life in Food, from which all proceeds go to her favourite charities.
Mrs Tollman is not the only individual from Red Carnation Hotels to win an accolade in recent times. The group's HR Director, Liz McGovern, also gained recognition in the list of Top 100 Most Influential Women in the Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism industry by People 1st in 2011.
And the company's Managing Director Jonathan Raggett himself picked up a Hotelier of the Year award at the Hotel Catey 2009 annual industry awards organised by Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine.
Either way, we can all raise a glass to the accomplishments of Mrs Bea Tollman - a true hospitality visionary, who has proven that a small, family-owned hotel group can outperform some of the world's biggest brands.
Photo credits: Red Carnation Hotel Collection, London Hotels Insight photos.