Cipriani has long been a name synonymous with Italian sophistication, with its posh restaurants, residences, and hotels cropping up from Monte Carlo to Uruguay. With the opening of the exclusive Casa Cipriani members club inside an old Manhattan ferry terminal, this fabulous entertainment and hospitality emporium proves to be the brand’s coolest concept yet.
Casa Cipriani occupies the waterfront Battery Maritime Building (BMB) in Downtown Manhattan, which, back in the day, was a bustling ferry terminal for commuters heading to and from Brooklyn. The Beaux-Arts-expressionist building was designed by Walker & Morris in 1909, around the same time that other grand vestiges of NYC’s golden age of infrastructure, like Grand Central Terminal and (the original) Penn Station, had risen in Midtown Manhattan. As the city steamed haphazardly toward modernization, the BMB fell into disuse in the 1930s, and was effectively neglected ever since. Resurrected as Casa Cipriani, this nationally registered landmark has had its heyday splendor restored with meticulous precision and a lick of Italian vivacity.
NYC-based architecture firm Marvel took charge of the extensive rehabilitation of the building, working in lockstep with preservation specialists Higgins Quasebarth & Partners to restore and recreate original trimmings like millwork and plaster molding. (The ornate exterior—a swirl of rolled steel, zinc, copper, and brightly-painted cast iron—had already been restored in 2000 as part of a broad effort to beautify the waterfront.)
Interiors were transformed by the Office of Thierry Despont to evoke the aura of a ritzy Art Deco ocean liner through a maritime-inspired theme that extends from the Grand Hall to the sumptuous 47 rooms and suites. There are multiple restaurants and bars residing inside Casa Cipriani, as well as a jazz cafe, a 1,500-square-foot wellness center, and landscaped rooftop with a heated pool offering views of the East River, Statue of Liberty, and Brooklyn Bridge.
Casa Cipriani membership dues start at $3,600 annually ($5,400 for couples), with a one-time $600 initiation fee to join.