Of all the houses in Miami Beach, none are more famous than Casa Casuarina. Better known to most people as the Versace Mansion, the property was famously home to fashion icon Gianni Versace until his tragic passing. It was actually outside the front of his house that the designer lost his life when he was taken out by gunman Andrew Cunanan.
After being sold for a whopping $41.5 million, Casa Casuarina – a 19,000-square-foot estate – stands in Miami Beach and now acts as a hotel and restaurant for those who can afford it. One look at the mansion will convince you it’s an impressive place to spend the night, and things only get better once you step inside.
Back in the spotlight
It’s been a long time since Gianni passed away, but the recent anthology series American Crime Story has brought both him and his former home back into the spotlight.
A lot of the show’s second season, which revolved entirely around Versace and the incident with Cunanan, was actually filmed on sight because of the building’s many intricacies. The mansion wasn’t easy to replicate, so they just used the real thing.
Nothing’s really changed
Very little about the house’s exterior has changed in the years since Gianni’s passing. The building still looks very much the same, from the shrubbery hiding the fence to the many windows adorning the front. While there are still some subtle changes, such as the establishment of black bollards at the bottom of the steps, the majesty of the mansion remains intact. Considering its grand appearance, any alterations to Casa Casuarina’s exterior likely wouldn’t have been well received by the public.
This was the place where Gianni breathed his last breath, and the memories of that moment should remain intact. It might not be the most pleasant thing to have ever happened here, but it’s now a part of the mansion’s history. Luckily, all signs of Gianni’s grisly fate disappear on the other side of that magnificent oak-paneled door as you immerse yourself in the life of luxury.
The master bedroom
In somewhere as big as Casa Casuarina, there’s bound to be more bedrooms than you could ever need. It’s no wonder that the mansion has become a hotel because it’s certainly got the space to accommodate a fair few guests. For those with several thousand dollars to spare, they can enjoy the chance to take up residence in what was once the property’s master bedroom.
Most of the furniture has changed since Gianni lived here, but the room is still as glorious as it was several decades ago. With all those pillows, guests can get an incredible night’s sleep on this bed that’s big enough for more than two people. It might take up most of the available space, but isn’t the whole point of a bedroom that it’s somewhere for you to sleep? What more do you really need when you’re in here?
A private space
A bedroom in a property like this is no good if it doesn’t come with a bathroom. Thankfully, just like everything else in this house, the mansion has more than enough of these rooms to cater to your needs.
The marble designs will have you feeling like royalty as you use the toilet or have a bath. Plus, on sunny days, the light shines through the stained-glass windows and creates some beautiful patterns on the floor. We’d consider that a good enough reason to spend some time in here.
The Azure Suite
Moving on to the Azure Suite – a modern room located in the part of the house which has leaned towards the lighter side of things in its design. A lot of blues and whites really help make the room pop, from the bedspread to the windows.
The little living space here is easily accessible, connected to the main sleeping quarters through a beautifully styled archway. The suite also offers a walk-in closet and a bidet in the bathroom because why not?
In with the old
When Versace was still living here, designs weren’t quite as modern as what we’re used to now. The hotel owners tried to stay dedicated to that when they refurbished the mansion which is why a lot of the furniture is still fairly vintage.
Many of the rooms retain the classic style that Gianni loved so much, making the redesigns like a relic of the past. Trying to make things too modern wouldn’t have worked, especially with the older architecture and all those paintings on the wall.
Holding onto the past
If we could have things our way, Versace would’ve never been cruelly taken from us back in ‘97. The man could have achieved so many more incredible things over the last two decades if he’d simply decided not to be at Casa Casuarina on that fateful day.
However, we can’t change the past; all we can do is focus on the future. Gianni might have been lost, but the integrity of his incredible mansion wasn’t. Things might have changed a little since he lived there, but his creative spirit remains.
Catching the eye
Gianni Versace was not a man who did things by half. He always loved to push boundaries with his fashion because he had a vision that went beyond what most people saw. That’s probably why he had stuff like sculptures and golden features.
It’s not the first thing that generally comes to mind when you’re designing something but Versace thought it would bring this room together. He wasn’t wrong. It’s an impressive decor for this room which screams of vintage class and glamour.
Down by the beach
There is so much to be impressed by inside of Versace’s former mansion, but it’s not just the interior that’s worth marveling at. The outside is just as captivating, especially when you consider how close it is to the beach.
Casa Casuarina is in the perfect spot for anyone who fancies a vacation by the coast, although we’re not sure if Gianni ever really appreciated that. The designer probably spent so much time focusing on his work that he rarely ventured out for a swim in the ocean.
Taking a dip
Of course, if Versace was interested in taking a dip, he didn’t need to leave his house to go for one. The benefit of having a pool in your backyard is that you can go for a swim whenever you want.
Even though he was just a walk away from the beach, Gianni preferred to chill by his pool, and we can see why. The addition to his backyard is undoubtedly impressive, what with that magnificent backdrop behind it. A lot of work clearly went into sculpting that wall.
A work of art
When the sun goes down, and the outdoor lights come on, the backyard pool looks even more impressive. With the remarkable backdrop illuminated in the night, it’s hard not to marvel at the architectural skill as you swim a few laps.
What’s even more impressive is the mosaic right in front of the pool that was amazingly crafted using just stones. No matter what time of day it is, this part of Casa Casuarina always stands out, and it’s reason enough to want to visit the mansion.
Preserving a landmark
More than two decades have passed since Gianni Versace was the homeowner here, yet once again, remarkably little has changed in the backyard. In fact, this vintage photo of the mansion basically looks identical to the other ones we’ve seen.
Great care has obviously been taken to preserve the backyard in this condition, and rightfully so. It’s a beautiful part of the property, from the mosaic and wall paintings to the pool’s magnificent backdrop. It was already perfect in the first place, so there was nothing to change.
Filled with flowers
The Master Bedroom wasn’t the only one that had a painted ceiling. Over in one of the guest rooms, an incredibly intricate piece was done covering the whole upper section of the room. Flowered vines were woven across a lattice pattern, adding some light and color to the sleeping quarters.
The floral theme was an inspiration for the rest of the room’s design, from the color scheme of the sheets to the little flower pots on the bedside tables. Versace clearly wasn’t interested in any of his rooms looking too similar, and this space makes a nice contrast to the one he spent most of his time in during the ‘90s. Of course, back then his bedroom wasn’t offering things like DVD players, free wi-fi, and an iPod docking station. The mansion hasn’t definitely seen some nice upgrades since becoming a hotel.
A place to chill
For most of the bedrooms in Casa Casuarina, there are accompanying living spaces where guests are free to chill out in private. These generally come with a chair to relax on – like this funky leopard-patterned number here – as well as other seating options.
The atmosphere in these rooms is usually quite something, especially with all the incredible details that went into their design. From the pictures on the ceiling to the patterns in the windows, this is truly a sight to behold. You just need $1,200 to see it yourself.
Flora and fauna
Of course, not every room in the Versace mansion is quite as expensive as this. You can stay in some at a much more affordable price, such as the Aviary Suite which goes for $749 per night. All of the same amenities and services are provided, there’s just not as much to them.
Of course, who would be disappointed with a room like this? Again, Versace had flowers on the brain when this room was designed, although he was apparently thinking about fauna as well as flora – birds, in particular.
Relaxing out the back
The benefits of living in Miami Beach is that the weather was often good enough to go for a swim. You never had to wait around too much for a bit of sunshine, making Versace’s backyard the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon.
Whether he was cooling off in the pool under the shade of the trees, or just chilling out on one of the many sun loungers, this place offered Gianni the ultimate in relaxation. We hope the hotel guests still get a lot of use from it.
Over in the courtyard
The pool isn’t the only impressive part of the mansion’s exterior, especially when you see what the courtyard has to offer. Surrounded by several floors of balconies and walkways, this central space provides a great place to sit back and enjoy some peace and quiet.
With the water falling from the fountain as your soundtrack, you can close your eyes and let the sun soak up all your concerns. Just be aware that you might not be the only one out there judging by all of those sofas.
How it used to be
This courtyard has certainly seen a bit of change over the years; more so than most other parts of the mansion. Obviously, all the sofas that are there now were brought in when Casa Casuarina became a hotel so the guests had somewhere to sit.
Before, Versace didn’t have to worry about providing for so many people, so he just had these two modest tables set up instead. The fountain also wasn’t around back then, with the feature apparently being brought in later to add some culture to the proceedings.
Dining in the sunshine
Today, diners can also have their meals outside by the pool. Considering that Miami Beach is renowned for its glorious weather, dining in the sunshine is usually an option that people prefer.
Motorized fans ensure that no-one gets too warm while enjoying their dinner, allowing them to experience the very best that Gianni’s has to offer. We wonder what Versace would have to say if he knew his backyard was now being used for this.
Sitting down for dinner
While Casa Casuarina now acts primarily as a hotel, it also offers a dining service for both guests and visitors to the area. The restaurant provides diners the opportunity to eat world-class meals in the house once owned by Gianni Versace, something which understandably appeals to a lot of people.
The establishment is actually named after the man himself, and it provides a blend of Italian Mediterranean food that promises to send your taste buds wild. It’s fine dining served in one of the world’s most elegant locations.
Catering for everyone
As if all this stuff wasn’t enough, Casa Casuarina also offers its services for special events like business lunches and weddings. Could you imagine spending your reception in a place like this? The restaurant can cater for hundreds of guests, providing their exceptional dining experience in an assortment of beautifully decorated rooms.
The mansion certainly presents an incredible backdrop for some memorable wedding photos, just as long as you don’t accidentally fall in the mosaic pool. Then again, there are plenty of rooms in the house where you could dry off.
How it used to look
As you can see, the introduction of this massive bed is perhaps the most significant change this room has seen in recent years. Gianni preferred something a little more modest when he was still around, opting for a simple double that didn’t swallow up the room. Something that appears to have gone missing following the redecorations is the massive portrait Versace used to have hanging by his bedside.
The painting was taken down and moved out of the room, although thankfully the art that was on the walls wasn’t touched. Gianni loved having scenes like this painted around his mansion, so it’s no wonder that there’s one present in the place where he rested his eyes. The cloudy blue sky on the ceiling is a nice touch and probably gave the designer something pleasant to gaze up at before he fell asleep.
Splashes of color
For something that’s slightly on the pricier side, you can stay in one of the rooms from the Exceptional Suite. Here, a night costs around $999, but you’re paying to stay in luxury. This room keeps things nice and open with its color scheme and minimal decoration, helped by the stained-glass windows all around the room.
You get a great view of the pool from here, although why would you watch it from your window when you could be getting in it? That’s the real question.
His legacy lives on
The fashion industry was dealt a blow after Gianni’s tragic passing, and it was a while before it fully recovered. Of course, this tragedy hit his family hardest of all.
The rest of the Versace family were forced to pick up the pieces and keep the man’s legacy alive, something that’s thankfully been achieved through his sister, Donatella. Although it’s now been over 20 years since we lost the man, his talented eye still lives on in his brand, and in his glorious former home in Miami.