The Grande Colonial hotel, La Jolla’s premier address since 1913, offers upscale accommodations in a setting of comfortable luxury just steps from the Pacific Ocean and the attractions, shops and dining of downtown La Jolla, California.
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for Hotelperson of the Year by San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association
Terrence “Terry” Underwood, general manager of the historic Grande Colonial hotel, has been named the 2012 Hotelperson of the Year by the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association (SDHMA). The award was bestowed upon Underwood in front of a crowd of over 800 members of the local hospitality/tourism industry at the SDHMA’s annual Gold Key Awards Dinner held February 13, 2013.
“Terry personifies the meaning of a true leader, guiding and managing people in such a way that makes them want to be better workers and better people,” said Kim Avant, assistant general manager. “His hard work continues to pay off because, as a company, our business and guest satisfaction continue to get better year-after-year”.
Underwood joined the team at the Grande Colonial in 1999. As general manager, he has complete operational and directional responsibilities for the property including rooms and related services, sales and marketing, development of the company’s policies and staff, as well as management of all food and beverage and financial operations. This year is going to be an especially exciting year for Underwood as the Grande Colonial celebrates its 100-year, Centennial anniversary as the oldest original hotel in La Jolla (opened on February 1st, 1913). A high priority for him in the coming months will be sharing the stories of the movers and shakers who have passed through the hotels’ doors and helped shape the growth of the Village over the past 100 years.
A graduate of Cornell University’s hotel management program, Underwood began his hospitality industry career in 1982 when he joined the Newport Beach Marriott. He spent the next 11 years working for Marriott in a variety of capacities with the longest time spent at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. In 1993, he accepted the Resident Manager position for La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc., where he spent the next six years before coming to the Grande Colonial.
What truly qualifies Underwood as an exemplary Hotelperson, however, is his commitment to the industry and to his guests and fellow employees. It is because of his leadership and commitment to the highest level of guest satisfaction that the hotel consistently holds the #1 to #3 position on Trip Advisor of all La Jolla hotels. Additionally, he finds time to remain active in industry organizations including SDHMA, the San Diego Tourism Authority (formerly ConVis) and, up until recently, San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau. He is also the former Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Promote La Jolla (today the La Jolla Village Merchants Association), as well as the organization’s Promotions Committee and Planned District Ordinance Committee.
Over the years, Underwood has remained committed to the historic preservation of the La Jolla community and promoting a culture that emphasizes the importance of honoring our past. He is an avid supporter (both of time and financial assistance) of La Jolla’s Historical Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This years’ Centennial will allow him to further shine a light on the hotel’s distinguished past throughout the years and how it has helped to shape the La Jolla community since 1913.
“Since he began working in San Diego’s hospitality industry, Terry has touched literally thousands of guests and employees with the warmth of his welcome, the sincerity of his smile and the graciousness of his service,” added Avant. “Without question, he is one of the most committed general managers in our industry and there is no manager more deserving of this coveted honor.”