The Brothers Cipriani

 “We want people to feel at home when they are at Mr. C,  to have a good time and keep coming back.  We’d like it to be something timeless where people can feel relaxed, without too many impositions.”

Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani are the fourth generation of a family who has been breathing restaurants, hospitality and service since 1931 when Giuseppe Cipriani Senior  opened Harry’s Bar in Venice on the first floor of an abandoned rope factory.  Eighty years later, the Ciprianis have made a name for themselves by instituting a superior hospitality formula, one that always ensures that each guest’s visit to one of their numerous restaurants is unique, not replicable and leaves them with memories they want to experience over and over.

Though Giuseppe had humble ambitions with his first bar in Venice, today the Cipriani brand has properties in some of the world’s finest cities, like New York (with four restaurants, a specialty store, two landmarked banquet halls, a Cipriani branded Club Residences and a lounge), London, Hong Kong, Venice, Porto Cervo Sardinia, and the newly launched Yas Island/Abu Dhabi and Istanbul locations.

Having recently taken over the business’s operations, Ignazio and Maggio are also developing Mr. C, their own independent hospitality concept which will unfold in Los Angeles late Spring 2011. Within steps to Rodeo Drive, Mr. C hotel and restaurant represent a comfortable, elegant, timeless home for today’s traveler, an old-world environment and European feeling  that embodies what Ignazio and Maggio envision as ideal travel experience.

As the logical extension of the values in hospitality they grew up with, Maggio and Ignazio are excited about their new venture in luxury living. “We have a formula that works,” Ignazio explained. “So, we don’t want to change it too much”.

The hotel itself is a 12-story, 138-room property featuring dark hardwood floors, calming burgundy and grey color palettes with crisp white accents, and vintage black and white film photography. Guest rooms range from 365 to 800 square feet and they all include a private balcony with panoramic views of the city. Within the hotel, there are also 12 Signature Suites and Classic Suites, and five multi-level, residential sized bungalows. The bungalows, designed by Ray Kappe, are 3,000 square feet include a private garden, gourmet kitchen and plunge pool. Other great hotel amenities feature an exterior glass elevator, private indoor and outdoor event space, 360 degree panoramic view of the city and room service specifically from their signature restaurant of the same name downstairs.

Most of the inspiration for the hotel’s unique and classic design comes from the brothers’ experiences when they were younger, traveling the world with family. “We were lucky enough to be able to experience over the years many different places and environments, ” Ignazio said. “We stored in the back of our minds all the things that we saw and liked and a wonderful team of talented people, the architect Marcello Pozzi and Felice Tedeschi who designed and produced all the furniture, were able to understand our vision and make it a reality.”

“I think the clientele is going to be very eclectic and diverse,” explains Maggio. “We want people to feel at home when they are at Mr. C,  to have a good time and keep coming back.  We’d like it to be something timeless where people can feel relaxed, without too many impositions.”

But, don’t expect young Maggio and Ignazio to be moving out of the traditional Cipriani model. After describing the vibe and feel of Mr. C, Maggio went on to say that guests familiar with Cipriani will feel right at home. “We are in the business of serving people and this is what we love to do and we will do it at Mr. C like our family has been doing for generations in all of the Cipriani locations.”

Though the boys represent a much younger and more youthful generation, they understand and respect the draw of their brand as a traditional, yet exciting environment that offers guests an experience of true refinement, only wishing to improve upon an already winning formula. “We are constantly going from location to location because you have to be present to check on and keep improving the quality of food and service, many little details that can give you a better experience.” Ignazio said. “I think having a father and grandfather who worked very hard to achieve what they did was the best example for us.”

Despite being born into an already successful family business, Ignazio and Maggio clearly do not take for granted their current positions within the company, and willfully acknowledge the hard work and dedication it takes to run the business as they do. Having practically grown up within the family restaurants, the brothers have an innate understanding of how a restaurant must flow and feel in order to satisfy guests of discerning tastes, and their father, Giuseppe, respects their opinions and decisions. “Our father gives us a lot of freedom on our decision making,” Ignazio explained. “And he is always available to discuss and confront ideas with us.”

Born in Italy, but primarily raised in the Unites States, the brothers spent time working first at Harry’s Bar in Venice, then Hong Kong and London during their early teenage years whenever they had spare time from school. Ignazio recalled the time spent in the different locations, describing his working on the floor and getting to know the ins-and-outs of managing a high-traffic restaurant, but it was younger Maggio who, perhaps, got an even more hands-on experience. Too young to work the floor with Ignazio, Maggio was at the beginning designated to work as a help in the kitchen, saying of the experience, “I was always too short to work the floor, either as a busboy, waiter, or manager, so I could only stay in the kitchen or in the Cipriani pasta factory. It was very exciting, actually. It taught me a lot about the business and also how to communicate and relate to people in a work environment.”

Both Ignazio and Maggio have accomplished tremendous success at such a young age, and their expanding empire shows no signs of slowing down. We can’t wait to see what their next project will be, being it Cipriani, Mr. C or their I SPIRIT 100% Italian new vodka launch.