THE region's newest hotel, Central Hotel in Shellharbour City Centre, claimed three major awards at last week's NSW Australian Hotels Association awards in Sydney.
Despite being open for only six months, the hotel claimed the Overall Country Hotel of the Year, Best Casual Dining Venue - Country and Best New/Redeveloped Country Hotel, snaring three of the seven categories they were nominated for.
"I think it is great recognition for all the hard work we have put in here over the past year and a real tribute to our staff and owners, Andrew Denmead and family and Joel Fisher," general manager Belinda Bleimuth said.
"I was quite apprehensive on the night, not knowing what to expect, but we are all extremely proud of the awards.
"When we opened we knew it would be busy as people came to check us out, but we really expected a bit of a drop-off, but business has just continued to grow and grow to the stage where we are No 2 in Keno and gaming in the Illawarra."
Plans are already in place to start work on new function rooms and shops. Work is expected to start in February and is due for completion by the end of 2014.