The manager of one of Derry’s biggest hotels has been named Hotelier of the Year at the influential Hospitality Awards in Belfast.
Neil Devlin who took the reins at the Everglades Hotel just over 18 months ago picked up the award following a ceremony in Belfast on Friday night.
The Jordanstown graduate and three of his colleagues were nominated for top awards on the night.
“I was delighted to win,” said Neil.
“It was the first time in my life I was ever left speechless.”
Taking over at the tail of end of 2012, Neil had the job of steering the hotel through Derry’s year as City of Culture in 2013.
“It was just a fantastic year,” he said.
“So many great events such as the Turner Prize and the Walled City Tattoo.
“I’ve made Derry my home now. I skip into work every day. I just love it. I’ve even met a Derry woman.”
Neil was previously deputy manager of the Culloden Hotel and says he’s taken the experience he had from his former employment to Derry.
“I always say that in the Everglades you get the same five star service that you get in the Culloden but for a cheaper price.
“We have it all happening here. Weddings have really taken off as have Sunday lunches and business conferences.
“The biggest attribute I have here is my staff. I also have to thank Martin McCrossan who has been the biggest help for me in the City.
“He showed me around and introduced me to every general manager during my first week here.
“He really made me feel at home!