|By Maria Zate, Santa Barbara News-Press, Calif.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 4, 2004 - John Indrieri, general manager of the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara for more than eight years, has announced he will retire at the end of January.
Indrieri celebrated his 61st birthday last week and it was time, he said, "to do something different."
"I'm a healthy, young 61, and I'd like to see what retirement is like," he said Friday.
A 35-year veteran of the hotel industry, with more than 25 of those years spent with the Four Seasons chain, Indrieri began his hospitality career in New York City.
The Brooklyn native said he was working as a plumber in the Big Apple when he got a call from a recruitment officer at a hospitality school.
"I decided to go to the school. And it wasn't until 10 years later that I found out it was my mother who had given my name to them. She was the one who told them to call me," he said.
His first hotel job was at the Park Lane Hotel near Central Park.
"I was part of the team that opened the hotel in 1971," he recalled.
Years later, he moved across the country to work at the Islandia Hyatt in San Diego. It was at the hotel that he met his wife, Jo-Ann. They live in Montecito.
After more than three decades in the hotel business, Mr. Indrieri said he will miss all of the people he has worked with.
"The employees in this business are the best. The hotel business is a tough business," he said. "When you're dealing with the public all day, especially at a property like (the Biltmore), the expectations people have are very high. It's the employees who have to fulfill these expectations.
"These people dedicate their lives to doing this. It's truly a love and a passion to provide service," Indrieri added.
His passion has extended beyond his work at the Biltmore. He was honored last summer by the Channel Islands YMCA for his work in the community. A black-tie dinner dance was held at the Biltmore's Coral Casino, with many community leaders attending to honor his years of service.
"We are all very happy for him, but we're sad to see him go," said Ed Galsterer, the Biltmore's director of marketing. "He is such a great person and has done so much for the community."
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