Destinations | Perfect Weekend

Nacho Figueras’ The Hamptons

Argentinian-born Ignacio ’Nacho’ Figueras is captain of the Black Watch polo team and is considered one of the best polo players in the world. For almost 10 years he has also been an ambassador for Ralph Lauren.

October 03 2009
Vanessa Friedman

“I’m lucky: because polo needs to be played in good weather, I live a life where I follow the sun. I spend the North American winter in Argentina and the South American winter in The Hamptons. Every year we rent a different house. Montauk is probably my favourite place in The Hamptons – I like the bohemian atmosphere – but it’s too far from our stables in Bridgehampton. This summer we rented a place in Sagaponack, just three blocks from the beach. My wife Delfina is about to have our third child (we already have Hilario, who is nine, and Aurora, four), and I wanted to make things easy on her, so we were closer to the water and further from the stables: about a 12-minute drive. But it’s OK. I have an Audi Q5.

Because Saturday is always my big match, on Friday night I have to take it easy. So generally, after I come back from the stables, I’ll see the children, have a shower and then we might go for dinner at Sunset Beach in Shelter Island. The best place to sit is on the upstairs deck, right in front of the water, where you can watch the sun go down. I almost always eat the same thing: steak frites. I’m from Argentina, and I like a lot of meat.

On Saturday I get up around 8.30am and have breakfast with my children. We all have an Argentinian drink called maté, which is a sort of infusion you drink through a metal straw. I’m not a big breakfast man, so I’ll just have some toast and then head to the barn. We have 35 horses and I’ll check in with their grooms, ask if they have exercised well, feel well and so on, and then my teammates and I will drink more maté and talk match strategy.

I go home for lunch – I feel it’s important to eat with my family as much as possible. Before a game I always have plain pasta with a little olive oil; it’s easy to digest and is good for giving energy. Then I try to relax and focus until about 2.45, when I head back to the barn.

My family always come to watch my games, where they hang out in the players’ corner with us. If it’s a perfect weekend we win, of course, and the horses perform amazingly. After the trophy ceremony we’ll go back home, I’ll have a shower, then my wife and I and some friends will go out. There are lots of events in The Hamptons, it’s one of the fun things about living there. Last weekend, for example, we went to a Bruce Weber book signing and a party at the fashion photographer Steven Klein’s house.

Then dinner. One of my favourite places is the Trolley Barn; I’ve been going for many years and I know the maître d’, Thomas, who is a really good guy. I’ll have steak again, of course, but I’ll be tired after the game and usually in bed by midnight.

Sunday is my day to relax, though before I can feel completely at ease I have to call the barn and check on the horses – I usually wake up about 7am worrying about them. I talk to the grooms and they put my mind at rest, then I go back to bed until about 9am. After maté we’ll all head to the beach, either Sagg Main or Ditch Plains, where my son likes to surf and I’ll swim with him or read. On the way we’ll pick up some sandwiches and other picnic things at the Sagg Store, which is a terrific little place, and maybe some fruit at one of the farmers’ markets, then we’ll stay there until about 3pm or 4pm.

After checking on the horses, we might do some shopping – there’s a great bookstore in Sag Harbor that stays open late, and I love Ralph Lauren, of course; my favourite is the RRL store as it’s more cowboy, a little cooler. Otherwise, I’ll get on my computer and start researching. My goal in life is to take polo into the city, so it’s not just some niche, elite sport but something all children can do. I started working towards this by helping organise the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor’s Island in NY in May (Prince Harry played). To help the sport grow and popularise it – that would be perfect.”

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