How Lazarote's Top Restaurant was Won... In a Card Game!

Published on 20/09/2010 in Places of Interest

What would you do if you had a one of a kind villa built for you? Would you look after it, or would you risk it in a game of cards and let it slip through your hands? That is what Omar Sharif did... but more on that in a bit.

Lagomar LanzaroteLagOmar is situated in a small village called Oasis de Nazaret which has some of the most exclusive Lanzarote villas that are set into the side of a mountain. It is half way in between Tahiche and Teguise, which means that it is a great stopping point for tourists.

LagOmar, also known as Omar's Lake, is now one of Lanzarote's leading restaurants. Whilst LagOmar does play host to various events and exhibitions, it can be described as a house museum as well as it being a restaurant and bar. It is set in luxurious surroundings of the former home of the Hollywood film star.

In the early 1970's Omar Sharif was a big box office name: he had successful leading roles in films such as David Lean's 'Dr Zhivago' and the Barbara Streisand comedy vehicle 'Funny Girl'. This left him with enough free time to bask in the fruits of his success and spend his money buying up holiday homes around the world.

It was thanks to Cesar Manrique that Lanzarote had an allure to it, especially when it came to the rich and famous in the early 1970's. Big names such as Peter Sellers and Rita Hayworth were attracted to this new holiday island and Manriques fabulous creations such as the Jameos del Agua.

It is said that Sharif was amazed by the pilot house which was designed by Jesús Soto and was based on one of Manrique's ideas, and he commissioned Soto on the spot to construct his own slice of paradise.

Soto based the design on as a marriage between the red volcanic cliffs of the former quarry with the lush green plants and white plaster surfaces. The overall setting was meant to evoke memories of Arabian Tales of 1001 nights.

Although Sharif didn't hold onto it very long - it is said while he was filming on the island he managed to lose the property in a high stakes games of bridge and he was so upset with the loss that he never returned to Lanzarote.

Lagomar pool LanzaroteThe winner of the game was the main developer of the house, Sam Benady, who was also the European Bridge champion at the time and knew of Sherif's addiction to gambling.

Today, visitors can still see the fantastic work of Soto as the house is open to the public. Here you will see some signature touches such as hidden grottos and caves, also a pool and some exotic plantings.

It was in the 1980's when the restaurant was added to Soto's original creation. It was two German architects Dominik Boetinger and Beatriz Hoff that oversaw the construction of the area. There are guided tours around the house and gardens every half hour, with explanations of the history of the building in Various languages.

You csn also see a large photograph of the iconic event that lead to Sharif losing the house, as well as various photos showing the different stages of the house's development.

Written by: VacationRentalPeople

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