In the Pursuit of Perfection The Cipriani family

The Cipriani family has been providing the highest level of service across the globe for almost a century. Now, thanks to Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences, miami beach can have a taste of the good life

By Sonia Tita Puopolo
Photography by NAVID


It was the ideal South Florida day: Sunny skies with a slight breeze keeping the air warm, yet fresh. There was no better way to spend the afternoon than with Ugo Colombo and Giuseppe Cipriani at the site of their latest venture: Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences at 3200 Collins Avenue. The coveted oceanfront land in Miami Beach is rare commodity; the limited supply of beachfront has attracted more than its fair share of the world’s top developers. Of these, this team’s new project is trumping all others, and bringing old world glamour back to the beach.

The Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences is returning Miami Beach to her glory days, the days of La Dolce Vita, the sweet life. The project is sure to remind us of the glamour years of Hollywood, as it evokes the elegance, style, and sophistication of Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor. The team behind this exclusive resort and club residences is a powerful one. They have each already made their mark, and have name recognition worldwide.

From Venice to Miami, from Tokyo to New York, from London to Hong Kong, from Paris to Dubai, the name Cipriani is synonymous with service, style, and success. In Miami, the name Ugo Colombo is synonymous with luxury construction and completion. In the United States, the Patrinely Group is synonymous with power and product, as they are a national leader in the development of luxury residential and corporate office buildings, with close to $3 billion in projects completed throughout the nation. The combination of the three successful entities in the new iconic Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences will lead to a more sophisticated and service oriented style of living that Miami Beach has been lacking since its days as a global haute spot, days that are once again coming into light.

Ugo Colombo, born and raised in Italy, came to Miami to complete his studies. He is now president and CEO of the multi-million dollar CMC Group, which he founded in 1992. The humble Ugo Colombo never imagined he would become one of the city’s most important developers, if not the most important. With his luxury buildings like the Santa Maria, Bristol Tower, the Grovenor House Condominiums, and the new EPIC Residences and Hotel defining the cityscape, Ugo’s impressive personal resume is literally written on Miami’s skyline. CMC Group, along with Jeffrey Soffer, also developed the beautiful Porto Vita in Aventura, Florida. Ugo Colombo prefers things to be understated and elegant. This visionary is a true entrepreneur! He is low key, and loves only what is most understated, yet at the same time of the highest quality. During the 90’s, Ugo, despite being owner of The Collection (a seven-franchise luxury automotive dealership selling Ferraris, Maseratis, Porches and more) and traveling around the world racing his beloved and favorite Ferraris, drove around Miami in a discreet Volvo, not calling any attention to himself.

Ugo is a practical man. He owns Glasswall, LLC, a Miami-based glass and window manufacturing business that specializes in impact-resistance window systems for residential and commercial high-rise projects. As we talk about this new project, the Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences, he speaks with confidence and grace, yet also with a sense of humility. He asserts, “The project has already received great feedback. This property is one of the last remaining oceanfront properties available to build and restore.” In fact, the location is interesting. The site for the Cipriani Ocean Resort is where the famed Saxony stands -it was declared one of twelve Kosher Spots in the Miami Beach area, and is a historical landmark. Therefore the integrity of the structure and the Art Deco style will be maintained in the restoration and, in fact, celebrated.

Ugo explains what is most important to him: “Quality, high standards, and to make my clients happy. I would rather spend the extra dollar to deliver, and go that extra mile. It feels so good when a customer comes to me and says they are happy about a particular detail that I included in a project. I have high standards, and that is why I am happy to be working with my friend Giuseppe, because he has high standards too.”

Giuseppe Cipriani, named after his grandfather, (also a successful restrauteur) was born and raised in Venice, Italy. When asked about his inspirations, he responds smiling, “Many things: a great building, a beautiful woman, a piece of warm bread.” That is Giuseppe; he is filled with positive energy, very upbeat and very warm always. His grandfather was owner of the famed Harry’s Bar, which opened in 1931 near the Piazza San Marco in Venice. For centuries, Venice, Italy’s beach shore, has welcomed kings and queens, tycoons, artists, and movie stars. There is an old world service very specific of that time and place. The family-owned restaurant, Harry’s Bar, is now a national landmark in the waterfront town. “[My grandfather’s] vision was clear: to do the simplest things perfectly, to design his establishments impeccably, to make fine food and drinks flawlessly, and, above all, to serve his patrons with loyal devotion, down to the last detail.”

Giuseppe shares the wisdom that was instilled in him as a boy, “Work hard and don’t complain too much. Think positive.” It is abundantly clear that Giuseppe brings not only his style, but also his knowledge, skill, and superb success in the service sector to the Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences South Beach. Giuseppe explains, “When I saw the beach, met my partners, and went to dinner in Miami and saw the need for some service, I knew I wanted to be involved in this project!”

Miami is an international hot spot and is becoming more and more cosmopolitan daily. As the Cipriani sales team says, “South beach has it all: 1.7 square miles of perfectly white sand beach, clear turquoise water, and nearly three hundred sunny days a year.”

When finishing my conversation with Giuseppe, I asked what he would like to share with Haute Living readers and he responds humorously, entertaining, and upbeat and asks, “What makes you think that the readers want to know about me?” Who wouldn’t want to learn more about Giuseppe Cipriani? One thing for sure is that Giuseppe’s favorite city, New York is where the warm, Italian hospitality has been stretched from Italy, with the Harry Cipriani restaurant, as well as with multiple other successful locales that crawl with business moguls, celebrities, and socialites daily. Cipriani also launched 55 Wall Street, a condo-hotel concept in a Beaux Arts building from 1842 that screams exclusivity and elegance. 55 Wall Street includes a private club that offers every single ingredient for enhancing one’s way of life. With the philosophy, “Whatever your personal style-own the good life, Cipriani style,” one should anticipate only the very best.

I asked Giuseppe if he had plans to take the Cipriani Club Residences to the Middle East, Far East, and throughout Europe, for now, he very coyly exerts, “It is a secret.” For now, he seems to be focused on making the Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences “the new art of living: elegant, distinguished and dedicated to the perfection of pleasure.” As he says, it takes “hard work.”

He certainly knows what that means, and has been working hard with all of his projects, which includes the Cipriani Concert Series, which has featured artists like Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Marc Anthony, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, and others. The concert series began to revitalize the Wall Street area, and benefit the reconstruction of lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001. While some don’t give a second thought to the tragic events of that day, for Giuseppe, it has been a project and passion to help revitalize the area.

Giuseppe embraces the need to improve service in South Florida. His grandfather’s personal motto was, “To serve others as you would want to be served yourself.” His vision of luxury and refinement came to touch souls from all over the world. This team has poured their collective effort and hard work to create a property that is sure to transform Miami Beach into a destination for only the most discerning travelers. Furthermore, in an era when the Ritz Carlton’s of the world can no longer take pride in their service because most have gone mainstream, the new Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences promises to be the answer for the much hoped for-and longed for-service, style, and sophistication in South Florida. The Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences is for “those seeking the ultimate in everyday life,” as their campaign slogan states. The project will entail 209 hotel suites, 66 club residences ranging from one to three bedrooms, to penthouses and townhouses, all in the middle of famed Miami Beach. The property sits on 600 feet of prime oceanfront real estate, claiming 3.3 acres of land.

I am sure we will see Giuseppe continue to touch the souls of people everywhere, as his grandfather did. When I asked him what is next, as mentioned before, he laughingly responded, whispering, “It is a secret.” So for now, those who want to own the best of the best for a price tag between $1.5 million and $21 million can! The property will have three swimming pools, a grand ballroom, a signature Cipriani restaurant, as well as a state of the art spa and fitness facility. Each unit will be designer ready, and include top of the line appliances, such as Miele multi-function ovens, coffeemaker and dishwasher, and Subzero refrigerator and wine cooler. The project’s estimated delivery is mid 2009.

Veronica Cervera, director of marketing and sales for the Cipriani Club Residences, knows the project is destined for greatness. “The Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences South Beach is going to be a great success… The Cipriani family has a perfect record for service, luxury, and quality. [Giuseppe Cipriani’s] family knows how to deliver something that is disappearing in today’s world: elegance, quality, and service-the old world service that people were trained to give.” Veronica Cervera has worked with Ugo since the inception of the CMC Group, and says, “[Ugo Colombo] is a legacy in Miami and known for quality, luxury, and the best product. He is our top local brand for luxury living, and in an international city like Miami, people look for the best.”

Giuseppe follows a great piece of advice he inherited from his grandfather, “Never take yourself too seriously and laugh. Be positive.” Giuseppe’s attitude is the right one to have. From New York to Miami, Cipriani is revitalizing the old, breathing new life into what once were the best and most elegant locations. His ability to pump new positive energy to a project is a gift, and it is a reward for Miami to have the Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences. Thank you Ugo, Giuseppe, and Len O’Donnell of the Patrinely Group, LLC!

As the city struggles to define itself- is it a spring break hotspot or an international playground for the rich and famous?-Cipriani Beach Resort and Club Residences comes in and answers the question: Without a doubt, South Beach is cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and elegant. It is about time that the city has a residence that is the same.