Terry's first job was at a south London post office where his employment lasted only two weeks, due to a number of parcels going to the wrong part of the world. From there his next position was in the kitchen of The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane where his father had started as a pageboy at the age of 15 the day The Dorchester opened. Terry's father worked there for all of his life apart from going off to serve King and Country in the Second World War.
When Terry was younger he wanted to follow his father and grandfather into the British Army and whilst attracted by the uniform was put off by the possibility of being shot at. In 2003 Terry got a little closer to that childhood ambition when he became advisor to the British Army on catering which brings with it the honorary rank of Major General.
Terry's time in the kitchen at The Dorchester was uneventful apart from the occasion that he set fire to the hotel: apparently the only person that achieved this notoriety twice! On both occasions his Chef de Partie, Charlie Chase an ex-paratrooper, stopped him from being fired but exercised his own punishment on Terry by making him scrub out the cold rooms for the following seven days.
After his two years in the kitchen he went on to work in the Terrace Room Restaurant where he progressed from being a Commis Waiter to Chef de Rang and finally to Chef de Brigade. He did better in the restaurant than in the kitchen and only got fired once. From there Terry went on to work in their exclusive wine cellars, which may account for his consumption of wine in later life. Moving upstairs he then worked in the accounts office, the billing office, the food stores and then into the control office dealing with the book-keeping. Despite this move The Dorchester continued to be a profitable hotel.
Terry's last move at The Dorchester was into reception where his biggest challenge was learning to wear a stiff collar. At this point in his career he was advised that he would go no further due to the fact that he came from a poor family, had little or no education and talked funny.
This all changed when Terry's wife Lynda forged his signature on an application form for a job at The Stafford Hotel. Lynda was almost as surprised as Terry was to get a letter inviting him to come for an interview. Terry was surprised because he didn't know he had sent an application and Lynda was surprised because Terry didn't have the qualifications that the job specification had asked for. After a number of interviews Terry got the job as Assistant Manager at The Stafford and still to this day Terry thinks it was because Lynda came to one of the interviews and was wearing an exceedingly short mini-skirt - the interviewing manager couldn't take his eyes off her legs.
He was subsequently promoted to General Manager at The Stafford in 1974 and in 1977 become the youngest ever Managing Director of a West End hotel. In 1985 The Stafford was sold to Trafalgar House and Terry was appointed a director of Cunard Hotels UK. Fortunately for him just prior to the sale he had been voted Hotelier of the Year.
In 1985 Terry was 'deported' to the United States to start up Cunard's US hotels division. His title was Vice President Cunard Hotels and Resorts Western Hemisphere, a title that resulted in Terry having one of the largest business cards in the industry. One of his charges was the infamous Watergate Hotel in Washington and Terry came up with what he thought was a wonderful marketing strapline for that hotel "Does your hotel bug you?" For some reason the marketing directors weren't too keen on this!
In 1988 Trafalgar House decided to extend its holding in the UK and Terry returned to London as Vice President and Managing Director of Cunard Hotels UK. At that time they owned The Ritz as well as The Stafford and a few months later they added Dukes Hotel to their portfolio.
In 1995 The Stafford was sold to Daniel Thwaites and Terry joined the new owners as Executive Director of The Stafford.
Since then Terry has been voted amongst other things, International Hotelier of the Year and Favourite Hotel Manager in the World.
In 2006 Terry Holmes joined Red Carnation Hotels as Executive Director.
Terry Holmes' Radio Interview
During a recent visit to Australia Terry Holmes was interviewed by his good friend Alan Jones, host of one of Australia's most popular morning radio programs on 2GB. Listen to Terry's interview with Alan jones here.
Terry's Professional Accolades:
- Vice Chairman Prestige Hotels - 1981 / 82
- Chairman Prestige Hotels - 1982 / 84
- Director Prestige Hotel
- Elected Fellow of the Hotel and Catering International Management Association - 21st October 1982
- Awarded the Certificate of Master Innholder - June 1983
- Made Freeman of the City of London - September 1983 sponsored by the Master Innholders
- Member of the European Hotel Managers' Association
- Member of the Reunion des Gastronomes 1982
- A noble de la Juarde de St. Emilion 1981
- Associate Member of the Guild of Sommeliers
- Awarded the Order of Napoleon - October 1985
- Vice Chairman Master Innholders - October 1985
- Hotelier of the Year - 1985 / 86
- Vice Chairman / Chairman Prestige Hotels -1990
- Vice Chairman Master Innholders - 1990
- Managing Director The Ritz, The Stafford and Dukes Hotel - 1988
- Director Cunard Caribbean Hotels - 1988
- Chairman Small Luxury Hotels of the World - 1991 / 95
- Director Small Luxury Hotels of the World - 1995 / 2006
- Honorary Life Member of the Society of the Golden Keys - January 1996
- International Hotelier of the Year - Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report - December 1999
- Number 1 Favourite Hotel Manager in the World - voted by clients of Virtuoso in 2002
- Recipient of the Hoteliers Hall of Achievement in the prestigious LEADERS Magazine in the US in 2003
- Advisor to the British Army on catering - Honorary rank Major General
- Received "Catey" for Services to Tourism 2006
- Executive Director for Red Carnation Hotels since 2006