Belfast’s Merchant Hotel has become the first and only hotel in Northern Ireland to upgrade from five black stars to five red stars.
It received the esteemed accolade at the AA Hospitality Awards in London on Monday night.
BBC's Fiona Bruce presented the award to The Merchantl’s General Manager, Gavin Carroll.
Mr Carroll said: “This award is only achieved by hotels that meet the highest international standards and we are thrilled and honoured to receive the first and only AA Five Red Star Award in Northern Ireland.
“We pride ourselves on our excellent service and facilities and it is a privilege to have this recognised at such a prestigious national award ceremony.”
Staff are celebrating making it into the elite group of 50 hotels in the UK that have achieved the exclusive AA Five Red Star status.
Mr Carroll added: “I’m extremely proud of all of our staff that have shown such passion and dedication to meet the first-class standards needed in every area of the hotel to achieve the highly coveted award.”
Five Red Stars are awarded through inspectors’ choice and only bestowed to the best hotels that excel in all areas and offer outstanding levels of quality, service and hospitality.
Winners are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12 to 18 months and proven their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences.
The Merchant Hotel is owned by Bill Wolsey's Beannchor Group, which has a portfolio of more than 50 pubs, hotels and restaurants across Northern Ireland.