Live like Versace, for just £80m

Home has gold-plated pool – and a murky history

Gianni Versace's luxurious Miami Beach mansion stands as a monument to the late Italian designer's love of flamboyance and kitsch. Once famed for features such as a gold-lined pool, the outrageously opulent property has now been put on the market with an equally spectacular $125m (£80.7m) price tag.

But any prospective buyer should be aware that the 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom art deco palace has a history as colourful as Versace himself. Known as Casa Casuarina, it was built in 1930 by the architect Alden Freeman and modelled on the Alcazar de Colon in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic – a residence erected in 1510 by the son of Christopher Columbus.

It was bought by the couturier in 1992 for $2.9m and transformed with a staggering $33m makeover. The result was an interior that many have ridiculed as an extremely costly homage to bad taste.

It includes walls and ceilings adorned with museum-style frescos, a golden-tiled kitchen, a 54ft-long mosaic-tiled pool lined with 24-carat gold, and a huge Medusa mosaic in the courtyard. But aside from its overblown, lurid interior, the house also gained notoriety as the scene of Versace's shocking murder. The designer was attempting to get into the locked gates of the mansion in July 1997, when he was gunned down by Andrew Cunanan with two close-range shots to the head and neck. In the aftermath of the crime, Versace's sister Donatella arranged for the villa – which was once her brother's pride and joy – to be put up for sale. It was then purchased by the telecommunications billionaire Peter Loftin in 2000 for a reported $19m.

After living in the property for a couple of years, Mr Loftin decided to convert it into an exclusive members-only club and boutique hotel with rooms costing around $2,500 a night. But, this being the old Versace place, the unexpected was almost bound to intervene.

According to the New York Post, Mr Loftin was forced to close the shutters on Casa Casuarina in 2009 after one of his major investors, Scott Rothstein, was arrested on charges of running a $1bn Ponzi scheme. The sprawling residence reopened after a makeover by the restaurateur Barton G Weiss, and was relaunched as a hotel, under the name "The Villa by Barton G".

The next chapter in the story of the Versace mansion is that it is up for sale once again. Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, of the estate agent Coldwell Banker, are representing Mr Loftin in the sale. And Ms Eber doesn't think it will be hard to sell.

She told the Wall Street Journal: "Miami is now seeing prices like it's never seen before, with an influx of international buyers, so it's the perfect time to sell this trophy property."

So, as ever in such enclaves, the world economy may be subsiding like an old balloon, but the super-rich carry on regardless.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Helpdesk Team Leader / Manager

    £45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...

    General Cover Teacher

    £100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

    IT Systems Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    General Cover Teacher

    £100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game