Strolling down Collins Avenue and turning right into the W South Beach, colorful banners welcome us to the return of Beach Polo World Cup. There’s a static of excitement in the air. Karma Automotive luxury cars sparkle in the sunlight as sun-kissed fans admire the curves and beauty of the sleek machines. Valet parking in front of the W looks like a scene from a movie as a line of cars as far as you can see inch forward, tops down, windows open, music blasting, keys and tips are exchanged with the friendly valets, and attendees dressed in beach chic are whisked away to the grand entrance of “Beach Polo World Cup 2018.”
We pass the retail village, complete with La Martina Polo’s limited-edition line of Beach Polo clothing. On the opposite side, David Yurman’s pop-up shop is attracting groups of friends coming to check out the newest collection. Tropical drinks are served, in addition to Fossmari champagne, Macallan, and The Whispering Angel d’Esclans. No one’s hand is empty.
Karen Kranenburg, the international polo fixer, spies us and waves us over to the reserved seating area. Introductions are made around we settle into the living room VIP-style set ups. Lauren Melamed, in charge of PR for the event, is the queen of multi-tasking. She’s attentive, while on her phone, kissing and greeting guests, attending to every detail. Desserts and hors d’oevres on silver platters are making the rounds. “Sir, may I offer you a glass of champagne?” Why, yes, you may.
The Miami crowd is flirty, fun and beautiful. Professional polo players mingle cheerfully with attendees, posing for selfies. The atmosphere is sophisticated but relaxed, tanned and fashionable, even as rain drops fall in choral cadence on the tops of umbrellas and tents – splat splat splat splat splat! – on Saturday. But Sunday dawns anew, bright and beautiful, the sea sparkling turquoise and the sky a brilliant blue. The mercury settles on a comfortable 68 F and the fans are back in droves.
Behind the glamorous scenes of the rebirth of Beach Polo World Cup, are event organizers Tito Gaudenzi and Melissa Ganzi, who envisioned restoring the event – once a pillar of the winter social calendar in Miami – to its original glory. “The turnout exceeded our expectations,” said Ganzi. The duo pulled off an action packed weekend that started Thursday night and didn’t stop until the last drop of champagne was poured on Sunday.
In addition to the high-goal polo matches that featured Nic Roldan (on the cover), Riley Ganzi, Juan Bollini and Jessie Bray, an onslaught of nightlife activities complement Miami’s reputation as a party city. From the official kick-off party at Delano South Beach on Thursday night with music by Dave Sol to the La Martina Fashion Presentation and Macallan tasting at WALL at W South Beach and Friday night’s Polo Player Night Out at ORA Miami with DJ Posso, Beach Polo World Cup made headlines for its panache over the weekend.
La Martina team took home the Beach Polo World Cup trophy. Roldan of the Macallan team was named MVP. The event’s official charity sponsor was the Bass Museum, which received a percentage of event proceeds.
The dynamic duo of Gaudenzi and Ganzi secured major sponsorships from leading brands W Hotel South Beach, David Yurman, La Martina Polo Team, Karma Automotive, Macallan, Chateau d’Esclan, Bal Harbour Village, Douglas Elliman South Florida, La Croix, People from Barbados, Bruno Magli, and Grand Champions Polo Club.
Gaudenzi, on his way to Kitzbuhel, Switzerland, to play in the Bendura Bank Snow Polo Cup, said about the event, “We (were) so excited to see our vision come to fruition. After five years of tireless work, we reintroduced the event in its proper form and we are looking forward to many successful years to come.”
General admission was free to the public while VIP tickets were reserved and invitation-only, creating the exclusive experience that polo aficionados expect. Amongst the VIPs were Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John, Sex and the City writer Candace Bushnell, Alexis Stoudemire, Jeremy Shockey and former Victoria’s Secret supermodel Ines Rivero. While weather tested the endurance of the players, horses, and crowds, the re-introduction of Miami Beach Polo should be noted a success. The all-star combination of some of the world’s top players, matched with top luxury brands, the best organizers and fixers in the polo business, have secured Beach Polo World Cup on the calendar of every serious polo enthusiast.
For more information, please visit miamipolocup.com.