Alda Filipe, regional managing director of Kronos ...

Alda Filipe, regional managing director of Kronos Homes, discusses the group’s finest Algarve projects and the future of Vale do Lobo

By: Maria Simiris 

A story of success and vision

Working in the real estate sector for 25 years, Alda Filipe is the regional managing director of Kronos Homes and oversees the sales of a portfolio of assets with almost 1,000 properties, including Vale do Lobo.

Alda Filipe ©Hélio Ramos

Customer relations and sales drove a young Alda Filipe to enrol in Lisbon’s best Marketing course of that time. But even before that, she had already set herself apart from the other youngsters. At just 16 years of age, she showed incredible maturity and had already established a clear vision for the future. Although she lived in the Algarve, rather than spending her summer holidays at the beach, she pursued small jobs in luxury hotels and marketing agencies, which fostered contact with the public, thus helping her develop her English-language skills. “This way, I could be ahead of my peers when I finished my degree,” she explains.

Vale do Lobo

Alda Filipe’s thirst for learning and “going further” saw her working as a public relations officer for Altis group hotels in Lisbon even before finishing her degree in Marketing. “However, there was always something calling me to the Algarve. I wanted to go back, and I knew that if I was going to work in the region, it would have to be in tourism. I started by identifying the top players who would allow me to grow, do things creatively, on a large scale, and put into practice what I loved most. I wanted to work with the best and the opportunity arose to apply for the job of public relations officer at Vale do Lobo,” she recalls.

It was after an interview, in 2000, with Sander van Gelder, the resort’s then owner and mastermind, that Alda Filipe’s story at Vale do Lobo began.

Salema Beach Village

Communications director, marketing director, interim tourism director, and sales and marketing director were some of the positions she held over almost 20 years, in a project she describes as a “milestonein her life.

She went through three administrations and a property crisis during which the resort had to “reinvent itself every day” and which forced them to look for new clients, markets and solutions. But, according to Alda, the power of “I am, I can”, a legacy passed on by van Gelder, meant that she never gave up.

In 2019, she was invited to take on the role of commercial and marketing director at Kronos Homes, a Spanish property developer that manages more than €2 billion in assets and has developed 100,000 real estate units in Iberia.

With the acquisition of the Oceânico Group portfolio at the end of 2017, the management of Amendoeira Golf Resort and Palmares Ocean Living & Golf was taken over by Kronos Homes, and Alda Filipe had a new challenge: to relaunch the two projects.

“We were selling a lifestyle, not just a real estate product. We had to write the new chapters of the story and, for one of them, almost from scratch, create a new resort concept and launch a new brand,” she states.

“With Palmares, we put the resort on the map, launched a unique real estate product with outstanding architecture, which was a true sales success and continues to be a reference. We made history by working with Pritzker Prize-winning architects (RCR Arquitectes), developed a signature clubhouse, opened a restaurant with chef Louis Anjos, which was awarded a Michelin star in under six months, and won a tourism award,” she recalls.

As for Amendoeira, “it needed to be repositioned. We remodelled the clubhouse, invested in refurbishing various units, and the resort, which was golf-focused, became a family resort. Even throughout the pandemic, just in the Algarve, we sold more than 380 units (plots of land and properties) in less than five years”, she says.

Vale do Lobo

At the beginning of last year, as fate would have it, Alda Filipe returned to Vale do Lobo, but this time as a member of the board of directors, thanks to the expansion of the Kronos Homes portfolio, after the developer participated in the consortium that purchased the Crow Project, a vast property/tourist asset portfolio acquired by US company Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP.

With this investment, Kronos Homes also took over the management and real estate development of Vale do Lobo.

In just one year, and with the objective of “repositioning a brand with immense potential, but which needs a new vision and investment”, Alda Filipe, aged 47, is confident much has already been achieved.

“It has been an extraordinary year”, she stresses, which saw record sales, mostly building plots, close to €50 million. The resort’s golf shop and the Tennis & Padel Academy are now under the direct management of Vale do Lobo, with the Academy now boasting new courts and a new gym, as well as hosting a number of intimate concerts and tournaments. However, that was just the beginning of the action plan for Vale do Lobo, which, she says, will translate into several interventions and major investments this year. “We want people to tell us that this place is special and has a soul. You can feel something different here and that is one of the resort’s great qualities,” she explains.

Vale do Lobo

In that sense, the first novelty will be presented in April, with the launch of a revamped brand. “The values have always been there; the change is in the way we communicate them and how we position ourselves, in line with the vision of the new shareholder structure. It will be a language and an image that will set the tone for the future. We want to honour the past, the several generations of owners, but also open up to other markets and new clients,” reveals Alda Filipe.

Four new restaurants will follow, two already in May, “unique in this area. We have listened to the market, we have seen the trends and we want to do better”, she says.

Finally, she lifts the veil on future real estate projects: “We are taking Vale do Lobo to the next level,” she says, with the launch, later this year, of new plots of land in Vale das Flores and, after 20 years without new development projects, the launch of flats and semi-detached houses in Vale Real, next to the golf course.

A total of 227 units will be built in stages, adding to the other 110 units that are being planned in the Vale de Santo António area, near the Academy.

“This is going to be a signature project focused on sustainability. We will bring in a top architect, just as Kronos Homes likes it, and it will be a truly unique and high-quality product, as Vale do Lobo deserves,” not least because, in Alda Filipe’s opinion, “the Algarve is still the best place to invest in Portugal, and we have just the right product”.


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