Gianni Versace’s luxury mansion, which became known as a scene of a crime in which he was fatally shot in 1997 by Andrew Cunanan, has now been converted into a luxury South Beach hotel. The mansion, hotel sits on Ocean Drive one of the main strips on Miami Beach, and has long served as a popular tourist destination with out of towners stopping in front of the gated property to pose for pictures.
The renowned Italian designer Gianni Versace acquired the mansion in 1992 and spent over 30 million dollars renovating it to his specific requirements, some of the designers decorative touches include a 54-foot pool lined in 24-karat gold. The mansion left the hands of the Versace estate in 2000 was purchased in 2009 for $19 million by Peter Loftin. Loftin, a telecom entrepreneur leased out the SOBE mansion to a well-known restaurateur for several years, to finally place it on the market in May 2012, in which it sat for over a year. September 2013 the property finally garnered enough interest to have it enter into a vicious bidding war to be acquired for $41.5 million in 2013 by VM South Beach, LLC investor group. The second highest bidder, bidding $41 million was billionaire Donald Trump. The VM South Beach, LLC group consist of New York’s Nakash family who are the owners of clothing company Jordache Enterprises, Inc. and the Gindhi family who also own the Victor Hotel in South Beach, next door to the Versace mansion.
The luxury hotel boasts a new name Casa Casuarina but has managed to maintain its original over-the-top decor. Despite the name change most people still refer to the mansion, turned luxury hotel, as the Versace estate. The 23,000 square foot property consists of 10 bedrooms and eleven bathrooms with additional rooms for entertainment. Amenities available to guests are private in room spa services. The opening date for the South Beach hotel is scheduled for some time this March 2014. The hotel will operate in tandem to the Hotel Victor, by same owners.
Prior to this acquisition the mansion was a party space/hotel known as, The Villa by Barton G, that was owned and operated by elite party planner Barton G. Barton G hosted parties for Hollywood celebrities such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, the Kardashian’s, Paris Hilton and other A-liters. The property was once open 24-hours a day seven days a week.
Rooms range in size from over 400 feet to over 1400 square feet, each room with its own theme. The courtyard was designed to resemble an Italian villa and the rooms have unobstructed views of the ocean. Added bonuses on the premise are a mosaic garden and an intimate restaurant on premises.
The house was originally built in 1930 and was modeled after a colonial palace where the family of Christopher Columbus once lived. Although the property sold at an astounding $83.5 million dollars less than the original asking price of $125 million both broker and seller are happy with the outcome as the property sat on the market for over a year and is one of the most iconic pieces of real estate. The mansion is touted as one of the most photographed houses in the United States coming second to the White House.
Anyone interested in staying in this mansion now luxury hotel in South Beach should be prepared to dish out anywhere from $795 to $2,200 per night.
“By Debra Pittman”