Julio Delgado, Chief Executive Officer, Ombria Resort
Julio Delgado, CEO at Ombria Resort, speaks to SPACE Editor Can Faik about the new luxury resort in the Algarve…
Ombria Resort, the new world-leading luxury real estate development in the heart of the Algarve, recently unveiled the design ethos behind its first phase, in partnership with WATG, WATG’s interior design firm Wimberly Interiors, and Portuguese architects PROMONTORIO.
With an initial investment of €100 million, Ombria Resort’s first development phase in the Algarve will welcome the arrival of a new five-star Viceroy hotel, Viceroy at Ombria Resort, which will feature 76 luxury guest rooms and suites in addition to 65 branded residences, the Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort.
The overall design aesthetic draws inspiration from the features, forms, material and themes of the authentic Barrocal sub-region of the Algarve, creating the Resort’s overall ethos of ‘Carved by Nature’. The vision is to create a new sustainable luxury destination, promoting and supporting the heart of the Algarve area, boosting the local economy, enhancing the area’s culture and traditional heritage by embracing local craftsmen and their knowledge of materials. Designed as an elegant Portuguese village with all the charm and character of a long-established settlement, the graceful and considered design of Viceroy at Ombria Resort hotel and Viceroy Residences will reflect the surrounding architecture of the interior of the Algarve, while echoing the style of nearby traditional towns.
What was your background in hospitality prior to your role with Ombria Resort?
My background is steeped in the hospitality industry looking after hotels and globally renowned resort developments predominantly in Spain.
I first started as an Assistant Manager at the Meliá Príncipe Sol in Malaga and then moved to The San Roque Clube Resort in Sotogrande which was the official hotel for the Ryder Cup and a member of Preferred Hotels of the World. I then opened Santa Clara Golf Resort in Marbella as the General Manager and also worked with top resorts like La Cala Resort which is the biggest resort in Spain with a five star hotel and over 600 real estate units as their General Manager. In March 2008, I joined La Manga Golf Resort which is the largest and top leisure sport resort in Europe as their Managing Director, where I worked for three years. In 2011, I was offered the position as CEO at PGA Catalunya Resort which has the number one golf course in Spain and we developed as a leading global resort development. While I was at PGA Catalunya Resort we opened Hotel Camiral which is Girona’s only five-star hotel and member of Leading Hotels of the World.
In October 2015, I joined the team at Ombria Resort as their CEO developing this exclusive luxury resort stretching across 150 hectares in the inner Algarve.
What does your current position involve?
I am the CEO of Ombria Resort. I joined the team in 2015 and oversee the planning and development of the overall resort, working closely with the Finnish Investment Fund, Pontos Group on the development of this exclusive resort.
Opening in early 2020, Ombria Resort will be designed to the highest international standards of design, service, quality and state-of-the-art facilities available both within the resort and locally. We started the first phase of the construction in the last quarter of 2015 and are working closely with Viceroy Hotels and Resorts, who will manage the five-star luxury hotel and residences which will be located at the heart of Ombria Resort.
The resort will include a five-star hotel, several residential and investment properties for sale – including luxury villas, townhouses, branded residences and apartments, an 18-hole golf course, an astronomical observatory, organic farming garden, honey harvesting facilities, kids zone, spa, five restaurants, heated swimming pools, paths for nature walks and mountain biking and other sports facilities.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love building and developing resorts from the initial master plan and seeing projects through to the final execution. This project has been in the works for a long time in terms of the development, permissions and the creative process as all the parties are passionate about ensuring that everything is done to the best quality and well-integrated into the local area.
What are the complexities of meeting the demands of shareholders, fulfilling the growth of your management team and delivering the overall brand values and ethos of Ombria Resort, in the lead up to the opening in early 2020?
One of the main challenges is the complex process related to permissions in Portugal, the sustainability and design ethos and environmental regulations which we need to meet and want to exceed with our project.
We have a fantastic and experienced senior team working with me on the development of the resort and with the Viceroy team on the hotel development. We have a phrase which we use “just keep swimming” which highlights the positive mentality and drive which everyone in the team has bought into and lives by to deliver one of the best resort developments in the world.
What are Ombria Resort’s Unique Selling Points?
Ombria Resort is an exclusive, world-leading luxury real estate development that embodies the ‘Authentic Algarve’ where owners and guests will be fully connected with the local members of the community amidst 150 hectares of serene, secluded and natural landscape of rolling green hills, rivers and lush cork and oak forests. This is not your standard Algarve development on the coast – Ombria brings you right to the heart of the ‘Authentic Algarve’.
Ombria Resort is an extension of the local area and will be fully integrated into the peaceful, natural landscape where residents and guests can interact and become immersed with members of the local community, the stunning surroundings, culture, heritage sites and local gastronomy via a plethora of activities available both locally and within the resort itself, including jeep safaris, wine tasting tours, honey harvesting, hot air balloon rides, canoeing, climbing, paragliding, stargazing, horse riding, bird watching, nature walking and hiking, bike tours, mountain bike trips and off-road cross country guided tours on quad bikes or buggies in the hills.
Sustainability focused, low density and concept, high quality service, environmental certifications and indoor and outdoor state of the art facilities will deliver highest international standards and offer meaningful experiences and exceptional levels of service.
Ombria Resort is a unique investment opportunity for international owners whether looking for a primary or secondary family home, weekend getaway or individual investors, with strong independent financial backing from the prominent Finnish financial investment fund, Pontos Group.
What is the timeline of Ombria Resort’s development in the lead up to the opening?
With an initial investment of €100 million, phase 1 includes the completion of the comprehensive resort facilities such as the 18-hole golf course and the five-star hotel, Viceroy at Ombria Resort, which will feature 76 luxury guest rooms and suites in addition to 65 branded residences, the Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort.
Private Finnish Equity Fund, Pontos Group will fund circa 60% of the total investment which is expected to exceed €260 million via equity financing, highlighting the investor’s commitment to a world-leading sustainable luxury resort and strong independent financial backing.
We are looking to complete the Viceroy Hotel and Viceroy Residences by the end of 2019. At the beginning of 2020, we are planning to open the Hotel and the Residences which will be ready to use along with the Golf Course and 52 of the 83 units within the Oriole Village.
Can you describe the design ethos of Ombria Resort?
Ombria Resort’s overall design aesthetic draws inspiration from the features, forms, material and themes of the authentic Barrocal sub-region of the Algarve, creating the overall Resort ethos of ‘Carved by Nature’.
All designers and architects involved in Ombria Resort are operating with a shared vision: to create a new sustainable luxury destination, promoting and supporting the heart of the Algarve area, boosting the local economy, enhancing the area’s culture and traditional heritage by embracing local craftsmen and their knowledge of materials, perfected over centuries.
Who is involved in the design process of Ombria Resort?
The master plan and the design concept of the 5-star Viceroy at Ombria Resort hotel and the Viceroy Residences were conceived by WATG, whilst the interior design of the hotel and residences were developed by Wimberly Interiors (part of WATG). With over 70 years of design excellence, WATG and Wimberly have become the world’s leading design consultants for urban, tourism and resort destinations.
Local Portuguese architects, PROMONTORIO are responsible for the architectural build of the Viceroy at Ombria Resort hotel, the Alcedo Villas and the Oriole Village. PROMONTORIO is a Portuguese full-service architecture, planning, landscaping, interior and graphic design firm that has become one of Portugal’s leading design consultants.
The interiors of Viceroy at Ombria Resort, designed by Wimberly Interiors, are fully in keeping with the overall resort concept. Locally sourced materials are used throughout, opting for reclaimed materials wherever possible.
What are the personality traits that define a successful and happy hotel proprietor, in your opinion?
Passion, knowledge of the industry, driven, innovative and collaborative.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotels in Europe compared to US and Asia?
In Europe, we have seen a strong response and sales in Branded Residences that are connected with luxury hotel chains. Homeowners want to know that they are buying into a name and a level of service that is connected with well-established five-star hotel operators. What has changed is that it’s not just the service and the bricks and mortar but it’s also the lifestyle and security of investment that the homeowners are buying into.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel design overall?
Authenticity, Sustainability and taking inspiration from the local land, geography and culture.
How important do you feel design has become when launching a new resort?
Design is still a key element and factor in the overall guest experience. Nowadays it’s all about how the design heightens the memories and connection which travellers have with a specific hotel and destination. Many travellers are looking for the design to be reflective of the destination rather than a cookie cutter corporate environment and that’s what we are creating here at Ombria Resort.
What would you say are the three best places you’ve ever stayed?
Guatemala, Zanzibar and Algarve. I am a very active person and like to stay fit running and training so for me the best places are where I can explore and be outside with nature. That’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to this project as Ombria Resort will be fully connected with the local community and tapping into the huge amount of sports and activities on offer.
Let’s finish with the issue of personal and work life balance. How do you aim to achieve a good balance and what do those closest to you think of your attempts?
One of the key things is being aware that nothing is that important and to keep doing what you love – whether it’s your job, sport, mind training etc. The main focus is to ‘just keep swimming’.