Veteran hotelier Terry Holmes is retiring at the end of the year, bringing to an end an amazing career in senior hotel management that spanned nearly four decades and several accolades.
Holmes, who has been at London's Stafford hotel for the past 36 years, said: "It's a bit like breaking up with a long relationship - it's very sad, although I'm only retiring from the Stafford, I'm not retiring from life.
"My happiest memories are meeting the Queen and Queen Mother, who came to the Stafford many times.
"But it's also the opportunities that this industry has given me - such as travelling the world - which I never thought I'd do, the people I've met and the friendships I've made."
Among his many accolades, Holmes was named Caterer and Hotelkeeper's Hotelier of the Year in 1985.
Holmes began his career in the kitchens of the Dorchester, where he achieved notoriety for setting fire to them not once but twice. His apprenticeship in hotels continued in front of house, before moving to reception.
Holmes's big break in hotel management came in 1969, when his wife, Lynda, sent in an application form on his behalf for the Stafford Hotel, where he was offered a job as assistant manager.
He was promoted to general manager in 1974 and in 1977 became the youngest-ever managing director of a West End hotel.
Holmes later became director of Cunard Hotels UK, before being moved to the USA to start the company's American hotel division in 1985.
He returned in 1988 to become vice-president and managing director of Cunard Hotel UK, which included London's Ritz, Stafford and Dukes hotels.
Holmes remained at the Stafford under its new owners, Daniel Thwaites, which took over the property in 1995.
Stuart Proctor, who joined the Stafford three years ago will take over as general manager on 30 December.
Proctor has previously worked at Northcote Manor, Lancashire, the Vineyard at Stockcross in Berkshire and the Devonshire Arms Hotel, North Yorkshire.
The Stafford is about to undergo a 22m development of the Blue Ball Mews, adjacent to the hotel, which will add 26 suites and a penthouse.
By Emily Manson
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