A recent arrival to Havelock North's accommodation scene has won a national hospitality award.
Porters Boutique Hotel took out Best Newcomer Accommodation at Hospitality New Zealand's Awards for Excellence on Thursday night.
More than 400 people from around New Zealand gathered at Te Papa in Wellington for the awards.
Porters Boutique Hotel general manager Kylie Fernandes said winning the award meant the business, which only opened last December, was on the right track.
"We're so thrilled, the staff are really excited. It goes to show we're doing the right thing."
Mrs Fernandes, who started in her role in April, said what stood out to the judges was the hotel's design and decor as well as the fantastic staff.
Managing a new property was nice because there were no maintenance issues and the focus could solely be on customer experience, procedure and staff, she said.
After high school, Mrs Fernandes started studying for a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Canterbury, but when her mother got her a holiday job at a hotel she fell in love with the industry and quit university.
She then studied at the Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth and has been in the industry ever since.
"I love meeting people, it feels really good knowing you have helped someone have a good stay."
She has been managing hotels for 20 years and previously managed Navigate Seaside Hotel in Napier, which was a finalist in the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence 2016 (accommodation under 30 rooms).
Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Vicki Lee said judges were impressed with the way Porters has made a positive impact in its local community in a short period of time.
Nestled in the heart of Havelock North village, the 42-room Porters Boutique hotel acknowledged a gap in the market for high-end accommodation, she said.
An intensive judging process by a panel of independent industry professionals considered many aspects of the 46 finalists' businesses.
These included staff training and human resources, customer service, food and
beverage offerings, marketing and promotional activities, and the demonstration of business growth.