Peek Inside The Iconic Versace Mansion In South Beach

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By: Shayne Benowitz

The former Miami Beach home of fashion designer Gianni Versace

The wrought iron gates of the Versace Mansion, lined with the designer’s signature Greek key pattern and Medusa logo in gold bas relief, have been a fixture of fascination for passersby on Ocean Drive ever since Gianni Versace’s untimely murder on its steps in 1997 at age 50.

With a velvet rope and stern security guard ever present at the entrance, curiosity about the lavish world that exists beyond those gilded gates lends the home its mystique. It’s not open to the public for tours or a look inside.

Main entry seating area
View of the seating area and fountain by the main entry

Versace Mansion History

The historic mansion was built in 1930 by Alden Freeman, who modeled the Mediterranean Revival marvel after the Alcazar de Colon in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was purchased by the fashion designer in 1992.

Versace’s presence on Ocean Drive and the flashy celebrity parties at his mansion were a hallmark of South Beach’s glittery resurgence in that era.

While the property has changed hands a few times since Versace’s death, its most recent acquisition was by the Nakash family of Jordache Enterprises for $41.5 million in October 2013. The family also purchased the Hotel Victor next door.

Outdoor dining area
Outdoor dining area with mosaic wall feature

New Beginnings as The Villa Casa Casuarina

Today, the home’s official name is The Villa Casa Casuarina, boasting a 10-room boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant, Gianni's. The home can also function as a private event space.

Among the first guests to visit the hotel when it opened in March 2014? The Kardashian clan, of course. Sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe made a splash when they checked in while in town.

The celebrity appeal of the luxury hotel has not waned and boasts past guests including Kardashians Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe as well as other notables such as Drake, Lionel Richie and Justin Bieber.

Versace Pool
View of the Thousand Mosaic swimming pool and Medusa

Ultra Luxury, Versace-style

The digs beyond the gate are certainly lavish. The most impressive sight is the famed Mosaic Garden courtyard with an enormous pebbled Medusa inlaid in the deck leading to the 54-foot-long Thousand Mosaic swimming pool, which is lined in 24-karat gold and designed by Versace, himself.

With custom bedrooms originally designed for Versace’s friends and frequent guests, including Madonna, Elton John, Princess Diana and Versace’s sister, Donatella, the original artwork and flourishes are a feast for the eyes.

Palm fronds are painted on ceilings with twinkling chandeliers hanging from the center. Elaborate gilded wooden headboards adorn double-king-sized beds, and tapestries are layered on top of marble floors in an array of detailed Baroque patterns.

The effect is excessively luxurious, bordering on gaudy (Donatella’s room is covered in animal print on every surface imaginable). But with so many opulent details, including a storm drain adorned by a tiny Medusa head, you’re never at a loss for a new discovery.

The designer’s former 1,174 square-foot Villa Suite bedroom is even available to guests for a truly intimate peek into the man’s life.

Ways to Explore Inside

So how does one get beyond the gates to see the inside of this iconic home and sumptuous world created by Versace? Access can be gained one of three ways:

  • Reserve a room
  • Book a table for dinner at Gianni's for an evening in the courtyard by the pool or in the dining room feasting on lobster served on Versace-designed Rosenthal china.
  • The mansion is also available for buyouts, often catering to corporate events and weddings.

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