It has been two decades since the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. July 15 will mark the 20th anniversary of the fatal shooting that occurred on the front steps to his South Beach estate. The opulent Versace Mansion, named The Villa Casa Casuarina, is reportedly the third most-photographed house in America, after the White House and Graceland. It is also now one of the most luxurious hotels and event spaces on Ocean Drive. Let’s count the possibilities.
Poolside: Your guests could slip into a wildly printed Versace bathing suit to soak in his beautiful mosaic pool, comprised of thousands of 24-karat gold tiles. Watching over the pool is Poseidon, the God of the Sea.
“We can accommodate as much as 150 for a sit-down dinner without covering our pool,” Debbie Lynch, director of catering and sales at The Villa Casa Casuarina, says. Up to 300 guests can be accommodated reception-style, but there would not be room for everyone to be seated. For an additional charge of $12,000-$18,000, the stunning mosaic pool can be covered to provide more space for seating.
Dining Room: Guests can be treated to exquisite cuisine catered on-site by Executive Chef Thomas Stewart at the on-site restaurant Gianni’s. Meeting professionals can even request for their guests to be served on Versace’s very own dishes. “We do have access to the Rosenthal China,” Lynch says. “However, it’s normally an up-sale.”
En Suite: Pack your best silk pajamas for a slumber party at Casa Casuarina. The hotel offers 10 guest rooms for overnight stays. Versace’s sister Donatella’s room is called the Signature suite and his brother Santo’s old digs have been transformed into the Venus room. “We have original furniture,” Lynch says. “Bedding and textiles are replicas and so are our fixtures.”
Run-of-House: The boutique hotel also features a newly renovated gym, spa and rooftop lounge. The Miami estate is available for a complete buy-out. Good news. You can keep the party going until the wee hours of the morning. The noise ordinance curfew isn’t until 1 a.m. The venue has been used for many high-profile events, including an official Super Bowl soiree in 2007.
Since the designer’s murder, his former residence has changed hands multiple times. It is currently run by Victor Hotels. This is not the only celebrity home that has been converted into a hotel and event space. According to GQ India, Pablo Escobar’s estate Casa Malca in Tulum is now a 36 room five-star resort featuring a secret underground pool and steam room and private art collection. Frank Sinatra’s iconic Twin Palms Estate in Palm Springs is a premiere destination for meetings and events in the desert. Groups of up to 150 can party amongst Ol’ Blue Eyes’ original furnishings in this 4,500 sq. ft. property.
Fans wishing to re-live the headline-making Gianni Versace murder can tune in to the 20/20 special, Dying to Be Famous: The Versace Murders on ABC. The mini-series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will air on FX in 2018. It is produced by Ryan Murphy and stars Ricky Martin, Darren Criss and Penelope Cruz. Scenes were reportedly filmed on location at the mansion, although Lynch was not at liberty to confirm or deny these reports.