Versace’s Legacy: The Casa Casuarina

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So if you were to buy a mansion in the heart of Miami would you want it to come avec or sans blood spot? You’d have to ask Peter Loftin. When the mogul millionaire (retired, duh) purchased the prior residence and murder scene of Gianni Versace in 2000, he not only paid between 30-40 million dollars for the ornate over-the-top Casa Casuarina, but this piece of real estate came complete with the ghoulishly faded DNA of an Italian fashion icon! Score!

Are goosebumps in this season?

It’s the real estate deal that keeps on giving, really. After all, Casa Casuarina has already established itself initially as the home of a top couturier, and everyone knows you’re more famous and fabulous when you’re less available or even better, dead. Just ask Picasso.

Loftin knows better than to tread on the designer heels of Versace—sure he paid millions to replace Versace’s name with his on this gilded lease, but why cut the cash out of a cash-cow elite attraction? People visit Casa Casuarina for the luxurious treatment, sure. But without the creativity and millions of dollars that Versace put into Casa Casuarina, we guarantee all the A-list celebs and wealthy elite would not be pouring in by the masses.

Everywhere you look within Casa Casuarina, there are intentional details specific to Versace—some more noticeable than others. In almost every room, you can spot one of Versace’s signature logos: the Medusa head. Sure the legendary Medusa was so ugly that one look would turn people to stone, but these gorgon busts will only turn heads with their oxymoron-esque beauty.

Another gilded treat awaits in Versace’s personal bathroom. How do you know you’re a successful Italian designer? You get a solid gold crapper. When Donatella Versace auctioned his personal items and furniture at Sotheby’s after her brother’s death, there was one item which was not for sale: the golden throne. Another example of proof positive this family shares a passion for everything stylish—including going to the bathroom.

In Miami, Ocean Avenue is known for everything stylish. Shops and boutique restaurants line the street with one exception: Casa Casuarina, the only residential dwelling. This idyllic location is what makes the Casa stand out as a unique place to entertain guests. From the sands of Miami Beach, Versace would partake in some of the wildest parties Miami had ever witnessed.

But Versace wasn’t one of those snooty celebrities who wanted it all for himself. Versace loved to entertain as well as be entertained and he couldn’t do that without the people he kept closest. Versace’s theme for Casa Casuarina could easily be “the more the merrier.” After all, when your BFF’s were Madonna and Elton John, why wouldn’t you make them feel more at home with their own personally-inspired bedrooms within the Casa? The Madonna-inspired room was specifically designed without a shower. Why? Madge only takes baths, of course.

Loftin shares the same affinity as Versace. “When you have been here long enough, you understand that [Casa Casuarina] needs people. This house has a soul and it tells you to bring people in here.” Loftin makes it a priority to invite and encourage all walks of people to come to the Casa—but like Versace, Loftin’s V.I.P. list obviously includes celebrities. Even after Versace’s death, celebs flock to Casa Casuarina for time away from their hectic schedules and yes, the paparazzi. Even though “paparazzi” has its roots in Italian, they are not welcome here…

Unless it’s one of the glam parties Loftin throws once the sun goes down.

Outside in the impressive individually laid mosaic-tiled courtyard by the pool, the hippest DJs are on site to spin into the wee hours of the morning. But who needs sleep when there’s a party at the Versace mansion? Guests have both ranted and raved about these parties. Casa Casuarina caters to all ages, but after dark, count on the 21-35 set to definitely be in attendance.

So what’s the skinny on Casa Casuarina? How can you too bump elbows with the Miami elite and glisten in the moonlight against the beautiful and bronzed? Well, by forking over the $50,000 for a membership, of course! Chump-change to the elite, but well worth every penny to enjoy a taste of the Versace lifestyle. If you aren’t made of money and your toilet isn’t solid gold, no worries. Tours start at $50, and can increase whether or not you decide to have lunch, dinner, drinks, or all three. Even the tour guides are decked out in genuine Versace garb. If Santa grants your wish to get a reservation, it’ll only set you back $1,400-$10,000 a night depending on which room “suites” your fancy. Better start being nice now and strategically planning the layout for Santa’s cookies and milk this holiday—after all, there’s always time to be naughty at Casa Casuarina

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