Ka'ana Resort is a passion project for husband-and-wife team Wolfgang and Anoushka Brandl, our General Manager and Sales Manager, respectively. They live and breathe Ka'ana, and are all-around hospitality experts. The couple even met at a hotel! "We met, typical for hoteliers, working in the same hotel," says Austrian-born Wolfgang. That was in Dubai, and he and Anoushka, who's from Mauritius, have since teamed up in several countries, including here in Belize for the last three years at Ka'ana.
What made you want to go into the hospitality industry?
AB: I lived close to the international airport where I grew up and was inspired by the vibrant tourism atmosphere. This definitely peaked my interest in the hotel industry.
WB: I always knew that I wanted to work in the hospitality industry. As a young kid I adored the chefs and waiters when my parents took me to local restaurants – I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I worked my way through the ranks and now I am where I always wanted to be as a GM.
What are some other properties you've worked at?
WB: I worked in several different properties and countries in the UK, Mauritius, Bahrain, Seychelles, Fiji, Dubai, Maldives. Ka'ana has given me the opportunity to work as a GM for the first time, and every day of work is as exciting as it was on the first day.
AB: My first job outside my home country was in Dubai where I worked for the One & Only Royal Mirage. After working for The Address Hotel in Dubai I joined the Al Habtoor Group of Hotels (where I later also met Wolfgang). From there, we moved together to the Maldives, had a short stop in Bahrain and finally came together to Belize where we have the opportunity and pleasure of managing Ka'ana Resort.
What is a "day in the life" like for you?
WB: We live at the back of the Ka'ana property, so our morning commute is only a couple of minutes. First, I do my morning exercises at 5AM, then I arrive at the front desk to check the tours that are going out, and to resolve any possible issues. I check my emails and go over the plan for the day and conduct the morning briefing with the team. The rest of the morning I spend with office-related work, projects, tasks and landscaping with the maintenance manager. I also farewell guests departing from Ka'ana personally.
In the afternoon, I attend to tasks outside of the office, like prepping the kitchen, maintaining the organic garden, etc. Also, throughout the afternoon I personally greet all the guests arriving to Ka'ana and welcome them to our resort. In the evening, I attend to additional needs, and guests in the restaurant bar, meet with overnight security, check housekeeping turn-down service and check that all tours for the next day are planned and organized to get ready for the next day!
AB: After my early morning sports routine, I arrive at the office where I work closely with the Sales Team reviewing occupancy, revenue and sales-related activities from the night before. Every day is different, but always busy and exciting. I'm meeting with different managers, speaking with partners and even tending to guests. We are a very personal property and a very hands on team. It's why I love what I do here.
Tell us about your dogs!
WB: Lobo, which is Spanish for "wolf," was a Christmas present for Anoushka two years ago. He is a Chihuahua with a BIG character and a lovable heart, and he makes easy friends with all our guests, but also knows he's the boss when he walks around the resort. Our second dog is Kiara and she is a mix of… Well, we don't really know what she is. We found her as a baby alone on the highway, trembling and scared. Now she is very happy, loving and fun—a bundle of joy who eats everything we don't want her to eat.
What is your favorite thing about living and working at Ka'ana?
WB: Ka'ana gives me the opportunity to truly put my heart and soul into everything I do. And I get to work with a truly motivated and dedicated team of people who take care of the resort. Ka'ana itself has so much to offer to our guests, especially with its proximity to local attractions and San Ignacio. It's a special place and I feel fortunate to be here.
AB: The location is one of my favorite aspects of Ka'ana. The area close to the resort is like an Indiana Jones movie, with the Maya ruins, caves, jungles ... there is so much to do! I also love the resort's attention to detail – each item has a story to tell. For example, our Sweetcorn Colada is a drink made with a sweet corn mix that evokes childhood memories for those who grew up in Belize. The personal touches are what really make this place special to guests including the staff!
Meet this duo in person when you book a stay now!