May 28, 2019, 09:00am
There are few families more synonymous with luxury hospitality than The Ciprianis. Though their portfolio now spans hotels, residences, and eponymous Italian restaurants across the globe, their story has a more humble beginning.
Giuseppe Cipriani was a beloved bartender at Hotel Europa in Venice in the 1920s. And in an effort to help out Harry Pickering, a wealthy young American and bar regular who fell into financial decline, Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (the equivalent of $500 US) to help him get back on his feet. A couple years later in 1931, Pickering returned to Cipriani’s bar with 50,000 lire in hand, and proposed they jointly open a bar. Thus, Harry’s Bar was born.
As the birthplace of the Bellini and watering hole of choice to countless luminaries over the decades (like Ernest Hemingway), Harry’s Bar has maintained a spotless (and seamless) reputation by offering everyone who walks through their doors a gracious, unforgettable experience.
Today, fourth-generation family members and brothers Ignazio and Maggio continue to build upon their grandfather’s legacy with Mr. C, boutique hotels – which are members of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World – and residences that marry signature Cipriani hospitality with timeless design, buzzy locations, and naturally, terrific cuisine and cocktails. The first property opened in 2011 in Beverly Hills, followed by New York’s Mr. C Seaport last summer.
The newest addition to the lineup is the just-opened, 100-room Mr. C Coconut Grove in Miami. Below, Ignazio discusses why he and his brother founded Mr. C, how they decided on Coconut Grove, and what they’re envisioning for the future.
What was the inspiration for launching Mr. C?
Cipriani: Growing up in a four generation family with love for the hospitality business and after traveling extensively (in particular, across Europe), my brother and I came up with the vision of an independent hotel concept – a place where we and our friends would enjoy staying.
With hotels, it’s all about location. How did you decide on Coconut Grove?
Cipriani: Coconut Grove, the oldest settlement in Miami, has kept through the years a vibrant and culturally rich identity. It is immersed in tropical deep greens, and offers great views of the Biscayne Bay. I have to say that the way the neighborhood welcomed us has been truly overwhelming.
What are the hallmarks of Mr. C Hotels?
Cipriani: A combination of old-world simplicity, elegant design, modern-day amenities, and personal approach to service. Some aspects of the decor, like the high-gloss wood and nautical touches, are present in all the locations.
And what’s different at Coconut Grove?
Cipriani: It has a beautiful courtyard. ‘Il Giardino” on the lobby level is perfect for an aperitif, an informal bite, and relaxed conversations. The Bellini restaurant is on the top floor, and has magnificent views of the marina. The pool deck is an oasis of tranquility.
Could you call out a favorite feature?
Cipriani: I could easily make the Presidential suite my home. It feels like the interior of a beautiful and comfortable yacht.
What’s in the pipeline for the brand?
Cipriani: I can certainly tell you that more locations will open on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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