Iconic Casa Casuarina on Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami, Florida, has always been surrounded with an air of mystery and exclusive mystique. The 75 year old Spanish colonial mansion stands out on the pastel-streaked, deco-ridden, beachside thoroughfare as an architectural gem. From 1992 to 1997 the 15-bedroom, 16-bathroom home was made famous by the renovations and residence of Gianni Versace and then infamous by his brutal shooting death on its steps.
Since then, North Carolina telecommunications tycoon, Peter Loftin, has groomed the mansion to become the clubhouse of an ultra-exclusive member’s club and a special event site for the stars. But, this month Loftin makes a democratic move as he opens the doors of the villa to the general public for the first time ever.
If you have always wanted to get behind the gates of the county’s second most photographed home but didn’t want to part with the membership fees, now is your chance. From August 18 to September 30, three guided tours for a maximum of 20 people will traipse through the opulent mansion. The tours will leave at 9, 11 and 2 each day and are priced at $50 per person on a first come, first served basis. Loftin says that he makes this gesture is in the spirit of Miami Spice, the city-wide culinary event in which exclusive restaurants throw open their doors with a more modestly priced prix-fixe menu than diners would find on an average evening.
Inside the mansion, visitors will see the private Medusa dining room, the mosaic pool garden and terrace, the Moroccan Room and the Baroque and La Mer suites, decorated by detailed renaissance style mosaics and frescos all designed by Gianni Versace. Also, visitors will enjoy cocktails at the exclusive Tiffany bar and enjoy a first look at the new breakfast and lunch al fresco restaurant, Casa Cucina.