His luxurious Mediterranean-style mansion was iconic in its own right when the fashion mogul lived there, but ever since Gianni Versace was killed right on its front steps in 1997, the place has taken on an entirely new life. The legendary home will be recreated and heavily featured in FX's American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, debuting Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. EST, and the show may or may not touch on what happened to Versace's mansion after his murder. It's definitely a development worthy of the star power and celebrity that Versace possessed.
Now, according to People magazine, the Miami home is known as the Villa Casa Casuarina, and functions as a celebrity-beloved hotel. Not only does American Crime Story (executive producer: Nina Jacobson) showcase the former home in all its glory, but the current hotel manager told People that production actually came to the hotel itself and filmed "essential, central" scenes to the plot — where better to cultivate some serious inspiration than the real floors where Versace actually walked? According to the same People piece, the place funnels in and out just as many A-listers as it did when the likes of Madonna and Elton John were ringing the doorbell to visit Versace himself.
The magazine reports that Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber, Drake, Sylvester Stalone and Lionel Richie are just a few of the big names that visit the hotel to take advantage of the beautiful, sprawling mosaic pool and the mysterious rumored secret passageways that weave through the rooms.
“We actually have preserved what Versace created here and just augmented it with some modern touches for the convenience of our hotel guests and restaurant patrons,” Chauncey Copeland, hotel manager, told the Washington Post. The outlet also reported that Versace spent a mind-boggling $33 million to restore the mansion when the three-story building, formerly an apartment complex, came into his possession in 1992. Some of the specific amenities he added were, according to USA Today, a south wing, a garage, the incredible gold-tiled swimming pool, and multiple gardens. In the end, the designer ultimately renovated the place into a 23,000-square-foot oasis with 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, according to the same USA Today report. Following his death, the designer's family sold the home, and it was then purchased at auction by the Victor Hotels group in 2013, the newspaper also states.
It's not only celebrities who continue to enjoy the home, either. Plenty of unknowns pay visits to the Villa Casa Casuarina in hopes of gleaning some essence of Versace's genius and inspiration to use for themselves. “It’s just the history [that makes the hotel appealing], and Versace was an artist, and I kind of consider myself a little bit of an artist. Maybe I can grasp a little bit of that, in a different fashion,” guest Joey Cargill, of Manila, the Philippines, told The Washington Post in the same piece.
Potential guests do have to have some serious bucks in their wallets, though — a look at the hotel's availability calendar shows that even short stays are not cheap. Weekday stays are the least expensive option, but even one night on a random Tuesday will run you a minimum of $899. In a way, though this sadly eliminates much of the population's chance to stay a night in the home where Versace famously lived, it seems representative of the designer's style. It's always been over-the-top and out of reach — odd and remarkable yet exquisite and beautiful, and obviously reserved for a certain class of people that almost seem like mythical beings. It's part of the intrigue that endures decades after his death, and it's part of why so many people will likely tune in to this season of American Crime Story in hopes of getting a better glimpse of the designer's magic.