Interview with Julia Ward, General Manager at Regent Porto Montenegro
Q: Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry?
I have been in the industry for 32 years, I naturally gravitated towards the hospitality industry. Not only is it my career, but it’s my complete passion.
Q: Why is your destination/country the best in the world?
Porto Montenegro has something for everyone. It is a cultural hub with exhibitions, live entertainment, music and opera all year round. We have a great selection of shopping, from big luxury brands to the small local boutiques.
For those who prefer more adrenaline-fuelled activities, we have canyoning, rafting and mountain biking – all set against one of the most dramatic backdrops in Europe. The destination is rich in naval heritage, so guests can travel around by yacht, speedboat or sailboat. People can visit beautiful vineyards over the bay by yacht, or if you are a boat fanatic, learn to sail at Regent Porto Montenegro – there really is something for everyone.
Q: What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country?
Boka Bay – it is the southernmost fjord in Europe, a breathtaking hidden pearl of the Adriatic and a backdrop to a dramatic history, with pirates, mercenaries and monks. Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, French and Russian influences can be traced throughout modern Montenegro. Regent offers a Discovery Cruise which is an exhilarating speedboat ride through Boka Bay to Our Lady of the Rocks, Perast and the Old Town of Kotor. That is certainly a must whilst in Porto Montenegro.
Q: What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project with which you would praise yourself?
Nine openings in my career – each one is giving birth to a vision, so it takes a great deal of creative input and energy to bring each opening to fruition.
Q: What motivates you the most at work?
It is an exciting time for Montenegro – to be working in one of the newest luxury hotels in one of Europe’s newest countries where luxury hospitality is something that is still not seen a lot of here, so it is exciting to see how we are developing as a country and to be a part of it.
Q: In what way do you deal with stress?
Exercise and mediation to clear the mind and to reset.
Q: What will be new in your business in 2018?
This year we saw the opening of the Regent Pool Club Residence’s Aqua Wing, however the Baia Wing is still under construction and is due for completion in summer 2019. These are contemporary chic apartments, each with a landscaped terrace – inspired by the Italian Riviera, with unobstructed sea and mountain views – offering undeniably the leading real estate in Montenegro.
Q: Where will you spend this year’s holiday and why?
I will spend the holidays in my home town – Cape Town, South Africa, with my family and friends. Once a year I go back to reconnect.
Q: If there would be no time or financial constraints, where would you go?
I would simply travel as far and as much as possible…
Q: What would be the title of your autobiography?