With over 20 years’ experience in hospitality and travel industries, working in luxury hotels in Portugal, Madeira, Sweden and Norway, 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, Hekkala 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 & 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) Hekkala 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.
“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,” commented 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.”