Born and raised in Venezuela, everything that this ‘guru’ of entertainment touches turns to gold, although what matters most to him is the satisfaction of dedicating himself to his passion, and doing it well. “This adventure of trying new ideas and escapades in other countries has been like a crazy dream. I have learned how to live through learning to live with others. That has given me the opportunities to travel to get to know different cultures and people. This is how you learn the meaning of life. That’s why I have this work, I know how to connect different people and work happily as an instrument to achieve unique moments,” he explains.
His gift led to the success of his establishment, Omar’s La Ranita in Manhattan, which opened five years ago and was recently followed by another, Vaucluse, located on the Upper East Side. Prince Albert of Monaco chose the spot to celebrate the birthday of his daughter Jazmin Grace, as did Queen Silvia of Sweden to celebrate her foundation’s gala event. Spike Lee sang happy birthday to Harry Belafonte here. It was where Al Pacino celebrated New Year’s Eve and where Marta Sánchez sang ‘Colgando en tus manos’ at a dinner with friends with the whole restaurant accompanying her for the chorus.
Omar, however, loves Mallorca, most of all Deià – Ca’s Patro March restaurant was where he celebrated his birthday last year. “Before coming here [this time] I had been to Iceland, Amsterdam, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, and Stockholm, where I was visiting as Princess Victoria of Sweden is a friend. After Oporto, I drove through the north of Spain before catching the plane to Palma. All in one frantic week. When I arrive in Mallorca, I relax and all the input I’ve had becomes ideas for my New York venues.”
He has been coming to the island for six years for the most important of celebrations: his birthday. This time he was accompanied by his parents and nephew and brought together the Mallorcan summer elite and friends from all over the world to the home of Cristina Macaya – one of his best friends who he describes as a great lady and hostess. “My birthday is the only thing I do not plan since everything happens organically. In Mallorca I have found my personal paradise. There are many beautiful places in the world but Mallorca has something magical that has me bewitched. It is my point of reference and inspiration. Every year I discover something new. I love the warmth of the people, the nature, the weather and good friends who have received me so well. “
Omar’s La Ranita happened by accident when helping some friends with a business. He had already worked with Ian Schrager and André Balasz as ‘Director of the Spark’ – the precision of being an electrical engineer together with his studies in dramatic art made him a natural-born host.
Culturally, their club is the most important in New York. “It’s all alchemy. Every night, a theatre. It is not just about entertaining, but creating joy. We are thirsty for fun in these times of boredom. You can have a place full of celebrities but with no connection. Here they all become friends, it does not matter if it’s Valentino or the son of Donald Trump. I think it’s something special and genuine. It’s pretty quixotic. We all look for personal success and if you succeed, it gives you more understanding of why you live there. The Upper East Side was stagnant and I broke the mould with my place with elegant leather chairs and disco ball. Now you see the who’s who of international high society queuing outside.”
He is now looking at how he can grow his place as a concept and expand to other cities, while keeping the soul of Omar. “Perhaps one will be on Mallorca next summer. I’ll say no more!” he adds with a wry smile.