Katarina "Kat" Burns is the new general manager of Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center.
The 18-year veteran of Marriott Hotels took the helm in early 2018 at the full-service Gaithersburg hotel in Montgomery County.
“I’ve flipped three houses in my free time. I love redesigning and making things nice and fresh and livable,” Burns said. “Understanding mechanicals, like electricity, plumbing and drywall is a handy skill to have working in a hotel. What we’re dealing with in a hotel on a daily basis is pretty significant when it comes to engineering.”
Born and raised in Sweden, Burns traveled throughout Europe extensively during her youth. She visited the U.S. as an exchange student at age 14. That love for travel is what first drew her to a career in hospitality.
She came to the U.S. in 1996 to work at the Ocean Reef Club, a five‐star resort in the Florida Keys. Shortly thereafter, fate — and a hurricane evacuation — led her to Washington, D.C., where she soon began a career with Marriott as an assistant front desk manager at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
“I had friends in D.C. that I took shelter with during the Florida hurricane evacuation. I thought it was an amazing city. That’s what brought me here and I never left,” she said. “Now I enjoy helping visitors find joy in the museums, vineyards and cultural energy that make D.C. an exceptional destination for business and leisure travel.”
After spending time in operations roles at the JW Marriott Washington, D.C., Burns made the move to Marriott Select Brands in the D.C. area as assistant general manager at the Residence Inn National Harbor, and then at the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City. For the last two years, she served as the general manager of the Courtyard Washington, D.C./U.S. Capitol.
Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center is located in the popular RIO Washingtonian Center shopping, entertainment and fine dining complex. The 284-room hotel features nearly 9,300 square feet of meeting space.