Tony Truman – The man behind ‘O Beach’ and the regeneration of San Antonio
Words: Lara Young
Photography: Jordi Cervera
August 17, 2022
Following the recent 10th anniversary celebrations of O Beach, we caught up with the founder and co-owner, Tony Truman, to discover the secrets behind the success of the brand and his forthcoming plans for the rapidly expanding Truman empire.
Congratulations are very much deserved by Tony and his team of over 350 staff that manage the phenomena that is O Beach. A pioneer of the daytime party scene, this venue is already fully booked for the remainder of the 2022 season. “We couldn’t be happier,” Tony explains with his customary big smile. “Year on year our original concept of an accessible pool party venue has continued to go from strength to strength. It has always been about entertainment and everyone being made to feel like a millionaire for the day regardless of where you are from. Being forced to close during the pandemic gave us time to re-evaluate, re-focus and re-energise. This business is tough and Ibiza is the most competitive party destination in the world. But we cracked it! Also, we have noticed that we now have a much more international appeal. A few years ago, 95% of our clientele were British but now the dancefloor is filled with all nationalities and it is wonderful to have that inclusive vibe.”
O Beach is at the forefront of an impressive ‘Truman’ empire which vastly contributes to the ongoing re-generation of the San Antonio area. The district that formerly received bad press for booze fuelled antics has seen huge investment and is quickly becoming a much more gentrified version of its former self. Tony has been heavily involved in this development and has personally invested into hotels, restaurants and other projects which have already changed the face of San Antonio as we knew it.
“For decades people have returned on an annual pilgrimage to this area, to re-live their early holiday experiences. The area was becoming tired, but we have all worked hard and with the help of the authorities, San Antonio is being transformed. Our Wi-Ki-Woo hotel is a fun, stylish and affordable venue and we have plans for other hotel offerings in the future. With families in mind we opened Bam–Bu–Ku, a more relaxed poolside club where you can enjoy great cocktails, food, outdoor cinema and entertainment. Our Fam-Bu-Ku event is proving a huge success offering a child-friendly brunch on the weekends. Great dining options are key to a great holiday. Our healthy Skinny Kitchen is expanding on the island and we have recently opened Chee Kee Wun, a new Chinese dining experience we are particularly proud of.”
It is difficult to know how Tony finds the time and energy to manage all these ventures. He remains at the heart of every single one but humbly attributes gratitude to his loyal team, many of whom are long standing friends. There is a big heart behind his entrepreneurial talent and drive. “I came from humble beginnings. When I dropped out of school at an early age many people thought I would come to nothing. I may have been pretty wild and like any teenager I wanted to have fun, but I always wanted to make my mother proud. Even now I feel the same and am not ashamed to say it.”
Looking back on his journey we asked what advice he would give his teenage self. “I wouldn’t change a thing. Always set your goals high or they are not worth setting. Don’t believe people who tell you those goals aren’t achievable. Be prepared to work from the ground up and never be too proud to do the job yourself. I have cleaned and collected glasses, so I understand all members of my staff because chances are, I have been there doing what they do.”
So, what do the next 10 years have in store? “I love getting into the detail and not a day goes by that we aren’t planning new projects, new entertainment concepts and more restaurants. We regularly receive offers to take our concepts around the world and we are currently exploring this. However, recent years have taught me to live for the moment. You never know what tomorrow will bring so live every day to the full. Just try and get at least 6 hours sleep”. Amen!