While the death of Gianni Versace on the steps of his villa on Miami’s Ocean Drive violently ended an era of high baroque 90s glamour, the late fashion designer’s afterglow still survives 20 years later – as his sister Donatella reminded us last Friday when she led five gold-draped, miraculously ageless muses down the Versace runway in Milan. But besides Cindy, Naomi, Helena, Claudia, and Carla, the most stunning living monument to Versace’s flamboyance and joie de vivre may be his Miami mansion, which has since been converted into a boutique hotel called Villa Casa Casuarina.
The property has had various owners since the Versace family sold it in 2000, but in 2015, the 10-room hotel opened, throwing the high Italianate style made famous by the House of Versace into high relief. Guests today can relive its heyday as a fashion mecca by staying in Versace’s room (the Villa Suite) or dining in the space where he entertained the likes of Madonna and Princess Diana (now home to the in-house Italian restaurant, Gianni’s at the Villa).
With 10 byzantine guest suites and a pool lined with 24-karat gold, the hotel reflects Versace’s vision, which he spent three years and $33 million completing. After spotting the original structure (built in 1930 by the 27-year-old son of a Standard Oil executive) while on vacation in Miami in 1992, Versace snagged it and the adjacent Revere Hotel, combining the two properties into one Versace-branded oasis.
Versace’s memory is emblazoned not only on the property, which is studded with mosaics of the Versace medusa, but in the hotel’s interior. The rooms, which feature super-sized beds and dual-stream showers, retain Versace’s original décor. But to really feel like a supermodel, take advantage of the hotel’s on-demand salon and spa services anywhere in the hotel — including the pool or rooftop. And while not everyone can slip into a metallic Versace gown like Cindy or Naomi, slipping into of the hotel bar’s signature 24K “golden” margaritas must be the next best thing.