Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort is delighted to announce the appointment of Katja Hekkala as its new General Manager. With over 20 years’ experience in hospitality and travel industries, working in luxury hotels in Portugal, Madeira, Sweden and Norway, Katja Hekkala is a highly accomplished professional, valued for her extensive sales and marketing experience and is superbly well positioned to head up the team at Anantara’s first European property.
A Swedish national, Katja studied at Schiller International University in Strasbourg and London from 1989-1992 where she earnt a degree in Hotel Management. In 2005, Hekkala completed an Executive Leadership e-course with Cornell University.
Hekkala began her career at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, starting at Sheraton Hotel Oslo in Norway before moving to Sheraton Stockholm Hotel in Sweden, working across different departments including Front Office, Sales and Marketing. At the service of the Scandinavian Leisure Group (now British Thomas Cook Group) Katja has been placed in several destinations including Morocco, Mauritius, Tunisia, Ireland, Paris and the French Riviera. In 1998 Hekkala was invited by the Pestana Group to work in Madeira where she started as Front Office Manager before taking the position of International Sales Manager at Pestana Hotels and Resorts Madeira. She was later invited to the pre-opening and opening of Choupana Hills Resort & Spa Madeira working as Executive Assistant Manager in charge of Sales & Marketing. Following 7 years at Choupana, Hekkala moved to Portugal, Lisbon working in the Amorim Tourist Centre offices in the Central Sales Department. In the last 5 and half years, Hekkala has held the position of General Manager at Vilalara Thalassa Resort.
“It has been an exciting twelve months for Anantara Vilamoura, since its debut in April 2017, and I am excited to be joining the team to lead the hotel into its next phase,” comments Hekkala. “I join an experienced and passionate team and, together, we are looking forward to consolidating the resort’s position as a leading light among Europe’s five star resort hotels.”