The 2019 winners of the prestigious CHS Awards have been revealed, with northern venues coming out on top, and exemplary sustainability practises winning the day.

Now in its fifth year, the CHS Awards celebrated the best of the UK hospitality and events industry, recognising venues, event specialists, academic venues and a whole host of MICE related industries and individuals in a glittering awards ceremony at The Royal Armouries Leeds.

CHS Group introduced a number of new categories to the awards this year, including Rising Star, Lifetime Achievement and Unsung Hero, alongside established categories such as Best Independent Venue or Hotel, Best Catering Provider and Best External Event Space.

The awards were judged by an independent panel of 70 event professionals, all experts in their chosen field. With entries flooding in from across a broad range of disciplines, from internationally recognised brands to quirky independents, unusual venues and exceptional event professionals, it was a tough undertaking to select the winners.

Emma Cartmell, CHS Group CEO, speaking at the 2019 CHS Awards

Emma Cartmell, CHS Group CEO

Emma Cartmell, Chief Executive Officer for CHS Group, said: “We had a record number of entries and were inundated with nominations from a wide range of organisations big and small – a testament to the wealth of talent and enthusiasm in the MICE industry.

“The standard of entry was exceptional, and we were delighted by the response to our new categories which saw a particularly high number of nominations.  We owe a massive thank you to our judges who had a particularly tough job selecting winners from such an impressive field.”

Samme Allen, chair of judges for the second year running, spoke exclusively to H&E North earlier this year about the rigorous process involved in the decision-making: “We brought 70 judges from across the UK together a week before the CHS Show, which is a feat in itself. There’s been a lot of time spent making sure the right people have won – the judges spent over three hours just debating their shortlists – so the winners are truly worthy of their accolades.”

Samme was impressed by the high quality of the shortlisted candidates and had her own struggle determining an overall winner for the Chairman’s Award:

“This year was really tough! Last year I picked an academic venue with amazing sustainability practises. This year, I’ve chosen a hotel as the Chairman’s award winner.

“Climate change is real.  As an industry, we’re not responding as well as other sectors when it comes to tackling our impact on the planet. We travel, we fly, we stay in hotels – we impact! Wherever we can showcase best practise in demonstrating efficiency in using natural resources, promoting health and wellbeing and engaging our local communities, we should champion these organisations.

“This is why I chose the De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham as the Chairman’s Award winner, not because of the huge investments in the building but the many small changes and paradigm shifts that they have made as a business, the mindset and staff engagement and lastly, the desire from everyone involved in the property to make a positive impact.

“I encourage everyone to either visit, read their case studies or chat to the team from the hotel as taking one piece of best practise and making one incremental change to improve your business will really start making a difference.”

H&E North gives you the rundown of this year’s worthy winners…

A group photo including all of the winners at 2019's CHS Awards

2019 CHS Award Winners

Best Academic Venue

Winner – Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde

Best Auditorium

Winner – The Mermaid London

Best Bedroom

Winner – Winstanley House

Highly Commended – Hyatt Regency Birmingham

Best Boardroom / Small Meeting Space

Winner – Hilton London Bankside

Best Catering Provider

Winner – Dine

Conference Planner of the Year

Winner – Jess Winskill from The Grand, York

Best Exhibition Facility

Winner – Silverstone Circuits Ltd

Best External Event Space

Winner – IXL Events Ltd – Dallas Burston Polo Club

Highly Commended – Big Chief Tipis

Front of House Individual or Team

Winner – Winstanley House

Highly Commended – Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club (Elite Hotels)

Best Hotel Group

Winner – Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland

Best Independent Hotel/Venue

Winner – Victory Services Club

Highly Commended – Ellingham Hall

Large Conference Space

Winner – De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre

Highly Commended – The Vox

Lifetime Achievement

Winner – Andrew McKenzie – The Vineyard Group

Best Onsite Technology Offering

Winner – Horizon Leeds

Best Outsourced AV Provider

Winner – Hawthorn

Best Representation of a UK Venue

Winner – Trident Hospitality Consultants Ltd

Highly Commended – Signature Sales Support & Representation Ltd

Rising Star

Winner – Joshua Lloyd–Hall from the QEII Centre

Best Sustainable / CSR Venue Practice

Winner – De Vere Orchard Hotel

Highly Commended – Cloth Hall Court by Well Met

Best UK Convention Bureau

Winner – Meet Bristol Convention Bureau (Part of Destination Bristol)

Highly Commended – ConferenceLeeds

Venue Booker of the Year

Winner – Karen Rogers – Conference Care

Unsung Hero

Winner – Paulina Wach – Harrogate Convention Centre

Highly Commended – Alije Grant, General and Kitchen Porter, Unique Venues Birmingham

Best Unusual or Unique Event Space

Winner – Butlins Conference & Events

Chairman’s Award

Winner – De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham

A picture of some Special EFX awards

Special EFX design and produce innovative, high-quality awards


Special EFX

Trophies and awards that dazzle and thrill are central to a successful event. Stunning design and fine quality also inspire future winners to excel and create that all-important sense of feeling valued. Special EFX likes to challenge the norms and produce the exceptional for clients around the world. Investment in the latest 3D technology means it turns logos, event themes and brands into accolades that create a gasp of delight and strike the right chord at the heart of a conference, event or award scheme. Take a look at the EFX website at some of its recent creations for clients and request the team to create something exclusive for your event too.