On an autumnal morning with the temperature starting to plummet just as New York is rising out of its post-pandemic slumber, I find myself seated at a large communal table in a Soho patisserie breaking bread with America’s leading polo player, Nic Roldan. The 38-year-old Roldan, I learn quickly, is a man on a mission — or in fact multiple missions — and a man redefining multifaceted.
Having won the U.S. Open Polo Championships at 15, he is still the youngest person to ever accomplish his goal. His polo career has taken him to all corners of the world, each at their prime season. The three main worldwide polo seasons are Palm Beach, Florida; England and Argentina, he explains. Although emphatically American, Roldan was in fact born in Argentina and his mother is German. It’s clear that family is his bedrock. He shared with me his excitement of playing in the U.S. Open again next year and his longing to add a second title to his roster.
In the U.S., polo season’s peak takes place between the beginning of February and the end of April in Wellington, Florida, where Roldan grew up. The bubble of Wellington is known as the Winter Equestrian Capital, with show jumping and dressage also prevalent, and Palm Beach a mere 20 minutes away. Roldan explained that Wellington is his very favorite place to be. In 2020 and 2021 in particular, he added, Palm Beach exploded, offering amazing restaurants such as Le Bilboquet, shopping at the Royal Poinciana Plaza and hotels such as the Four Seasons Palm Beach. He also recommended a bike ride along the Lake Trail. With a cornucopia of fascinating characters, the area is a unique melting pot for sure, where one can imagine Roldan’s role being somewhat Gatsby-esque. He quickly corrected this notion and explained that there are many misconceptions on that front. In reality he spends the lion’s share of his time at his barn with his horses, horse carers and family. His horses are the center of his sport and, as it turns out, many originate from the racetrack. Who knew?
Getting to play the amazing sport of polo, with some of the world’s most known characters in iconic places, would be enough of a story. However, I quickly learn this is only the beginning. Roldan is a passionate project developer in the real estate market; he has flipped multiple properties, constructed a luxury horse barn and is currently breaking ground on a second spec house. This is no passing phase — Roldan is jokingly referred to by others as the “head of design,” but there’s more truth to that than banter, as his details run from the pitch of the roof to the color of the floors, right through to the napkins at a dinner spread. His style is taken from years of travel, forming a hedonistic mix of the contemporary with original antique touches.
Roldan is also a co-founder of High Goal Gin, setting a new, ultra- premium standard for the market; High Goal is American gin reimagined. This gin, like Roldan, breaks the mold and aims to cause many people to reassess their thoughts on gin. Uniquely, it can be best savored on the rocks and of course comes in a stunning bottle, which, no doubt, will become a must-have in any connoisseur’s bar.
Recently, Roldan launched “Roldan Lifestyle” with his first mini clothing collection. Insider tip: the hoodies and sweaters are the epitome of soft comfort, again a feature credited to Roldan’s eye for detail. His assistant jokingly lamented at the process of having gone through 16 samples before he found the right one.
What brought him to New York, especially at this time of year? A meeting with a unique Swedish company, purveyors of some of the most expensive beds in the world and a photo shoot with Technogym, a leading luxury gym equipment brand. Roldan explained that polo is extremely taxing on the body, that physical fitness is key to being able to perform at his level and that his routine includes three weekly intense gym workout sessions. Technogym is no fluke choice. Not only were they providers to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, their machines look like they could be sculptures in any leading contemporary art museum. Well-being is clearly central to Roldan’s life, as he casually talks about recovery being a daily part of his routine with Therabody devices, daily monitoring with his Whoop device, diet and skincare. I enquired where he was staying while in the Big Apple, but in line with his fast tempo, it turns out he flew in that morning and was leaving again that night.
Equally at home in any social situation, there is a kindness running through Roldan. Recently while at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona in between playing, social commitments and press calls, he made time to spend with two terminally ill sisters. This was no media opportunity, but simply a chance to have some fun with the daughters of a friend. His passion for helping kids has deep roots.
Highly motivated, fascinatingly diverse and divinely charming, I can’t wait to see where his ventures lead him; we all need a little Roldan in our lives.
To find out more information about Roldan’s polo games, lifestyle brand, real estate endeavors, and more, visit nicroldan.com.