Before we started chatting over coffee and jazz music, Maria showed me around her area, the building where she lives and her house. I suddenly realised this is very a Portuguese trait, to make guests feel comfortable and at ease, which I appreciate and truly miss.
“I want to give more to people, thus why I’m working in this industry,” she said.
Maria has been working in hospitality for over six years and her balcony view, overlooking the Wembley Stadium and skyscraping hotels, is part of her natural environment.
Starting as a personal assistant at the Hilton, she is now the global sales manager at a serviced-apartments company. At one point during the interview, she described herself as a “caixeiro-viajante”, which can be roughly translated to “traveling merchant”.
“The concierges would sigh every time one of our guests arrived from their many day-trips to Harrods, as this meant a lot of bag-carrying.”
Maria’s life has been a rollercoaster, not only professionally but also personally. At age 28, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, which has now been cleared.
“The doctors were afraid I’d have a lung embolism if I flew back home, so I stayed in London by myself,” she recalled. “However, it was very meaningful and a sign of true support when my family and friends immediately came to visit me.”
Having previously lived in Spain and Brighton, she wants to keep taking her career further – wherever this may lead her.
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