LagOmar is one of the most original places in Lanzarote. It’s a multifunctional space created inside a volcano in the village of Nazaret, near Teguise. It was conceived and designed by César Manrique but brought to life by his loyal collaborator, Jesús Soto. Nowadays, it houses a Manrique-style house-museum, a restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine, a terrace bar for chill-out drinks, and apartments, with private swimming pool, built in the same style as the house.
The story of the house’s ownership is one steeped in legend that can neither be proved nor disproved. The story goes that the Eqyptian actor of Syrian descent, Omar Sharif, bought the house in the early seventies when he was in Lanzarote to film the movie ‘The Mysterious Island’. It’s said that when he visited LagOmar he immediately fell in love with it.
British promoter and producer Sam Benady knew of Sharif’s love of the card game, bridge and challenged him to a game with the house as the prize. However, Sharif was unaware that Benady was such a good player and was beaten, so losing his precious house. The museum preserves the table on which that ‘legendary’ hand of bridge was played, as well as many other elements and César Manrique features.
Architects Beatriz Van Hoff, from Uruguay, and Dominik Von Boettinger, from Germany, bought LagOmar in 1989 and began the final phase of development that resulted in the spectacular place it is today. They sought the advice of local artists and were inspired by the island’s traditional architecture and whimsical volcanic terrain. Following Manrique’s aesthetic, they shored up the existing caves, trying to maintain their natural appearance as much as possible, using wood from shipwrecks as beams and concealing the light sources in a bid to replicate the visual effects they had experienced in the Cueva de los Verdes. They used glass and washed concrete to construct curved, soft, sinuous shapes and added a lake and waterfalls. Straight lines were avoided at all costs. This gorgeous setting is rounded off with abundant local plants and greenery such as cactus, aloes, palms and bougainvillaea, creating a stunning oasis in a volcanic backdrop.