I stayed at the $800-a-night Versace Mansion, and I can see why it’s the Kardashians’ go-to hotel in Miami

I stayed at the $800-a-night Versace Mansion, and I can see why it’s the Kardashians’ go-to hotel in Miami

THUMB Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the mansion and the author

The author stays at the Villa Casa Casuarina where Gianni Versace was shot and killed in 1997. Joey Hadden/Insider

  • I booked one night at the former Versace Mansion-turned-hotel in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood.

  • I stayed in the Villa Casa Casuarina’s Aurora Suite for $864, the cheapest option when I booked.

  • My posh suite and a gilded pool made me feel like I was one of the celebrities known to stay here.

  • I thought it was the best hotel experience of my life.

I recently had the best hotel experience of my life in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood, and I thought feeling like one of the hotel’s pampered celebrity guests was worth every penny.

Left: The Versace Mansion is seen in on a partly cloudy day with blue skies Right: the author poses for a photo on the mansion's rooftopLeft: The Versace Mansion is seen in on a partly cloudy day with blue skies Right: the author poses for a photo on the mansion's rooftop

The author stands on top of the former Versace Mansion in South Beach, Miami. Joey Hadden/Insider

For full disclosure, Insider paid for The Villa Casa Casuarina hotel accommodations, according to our reporting standards.

Source: The Villa Casa Casuarina

For $864, I booked a room in October at The Villa Casa Casuarina, a luxury boutique hotel known as the Versace Mansion.

The author sits on the bench in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionThe author sits on the bench in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

The author sits in her bedroom suite. Joey Hadden/Insider

I stayed in the Aurora Suite on the third floor, one of just 10 suites in the entire hotel you can book and one of the most affordable, with rates starting at $750, according to the hotel website.

The door to the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionThe door to the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

The doors to the Aurora Suite are closed. Joey Hadden/Insider

One of the most expensive suites was once the designer’s bedroom. Gianni’s Master Suite starts at $1,500 a night and is billed as “the most coveted room in South Florida,” and is frequented by celebrity clientele.

Kim Kardashian poses in front of a mirror in one of The Villa Casa Casuarina's suites.Kim Kardashian poses in front of a mirror in one of The Villa Casa Casuarina's suites.

Source: The Villa Casa Casuarina

The hotel has a rich history as host to the elite: the Spanish-style home, named Casa Casuarina when it was built in the 1930s, was a hotspot for the original owner’s bohemian friends, according to the hotel’s website.

A view outside the former versace mansionA view outside the former versace mansion

A view of Versace Mansion’s exterior. Joey Hadden/Insider

Fashion designer Gianni Versace transformed the mansion in 1992, creating 12 lavish suites to accommodate his family and friends, which included Princess Diana and Elton John, Vanity Fair reports.

A view outside the former versace mansionA view outside the former versace mansion

A view of Versace Mansion’s exterior. Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Vanity Fair

Several years after Versace’s death, the mansion was transformed into a luxury hotel, and The Villa Casa Casuarina hotel now caters to celebrities like the Kardashians, according to People magazine.

Kim Kardashian stands on a balcony at The Villa Casa Casuarina hotelKim Kardashian stands on a balcony at The Villa Casa Casuarina hotel

Kim Kardashian stands on a balcony at The Villa Casa Casuarina. Radcliffe/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

Source: People

I’m not typically one for fancy things, but my stay at the Versace Mansion brought out a posh side of me I didn’t know existed.

A view outside the former versace mansionA view outside the former versace mansion

A view of the lounging area in front of the hotel. Joey Hadden/Insider

I entered the hotel with a duffel bag and backpack five hours ahead of check-in. I thought I’d feel intimidated in a hotel frequented by A-listers, but the staff made me feel welcome immediately.

A view from the top floor of the former versace mansionA view from the top floor of the former versace mansion

A view of the mansion from the third floor. Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: People

I was hoping to drop off my bags, but my room was ready, and I checked in early. Someone took my bags upstairs and other staff greeted me on the way. They were so attentive, I felt like I was the only person staying there.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show hallways leading inside and outSide by side photos in the versace mansion show hallways leading inside and out

Two corridors are seen leaning out of (left) and into (right) the hotel. Joey Hadden/Insider

Rather than a key card, I was given a golden key with a tiny replica of the hotel’s mission bell attached to a keychain. I had to show my key upon reentering the hotel to indicate I was a guest.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the door and the keySide by side photos in the versace mansion show the door and the key

A view of the hotel room door and key. Joey Hadden/Insider

The first thing you see when you walk past the front desk is the vast lobby and restaurant on the ground floor. The lobby was mostly empty when I walked in.

A view of of the former versace mansionA view of of the former versace mansion

A view inside the mansion. Joey Hadden/Insider

I noticed that restaurant guests weren’t able to explore the whole mansion – only the first floor. I didn’t see anyone else aside from staff on the higher floors.

An aerial view of the ground floor of the former Versace MansionAn aerial view of the ground floor of the former Versace Mansion

A view of the lobby from the third floor. Joey Hadden/Insider

As soon as I walked inside, I was in awe of the size and decor of my room. After staying in cramped spaces for four nights prior, I was so grateful to have all this space to myself, that I started jumping around in excitement, using my socks to gracefully slide across the wood floors.

The author stands in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionThe author stands in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

The author is amazed by her hotel room. Joey Hadden/Insider

Read More: I took a 30-hour train from New York to Miami, and the motion sickness and terrible sleep were too much for me

A four-poster king-size bed topped with swans was the centerpiece. The bed was soft, but firm – the perfect combination, in my opinion. I knew I would get a good night’s sleep the moment I sat on it.

A wide shot of the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion shows the golden bed with lamps on either sideA wide shot of the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion shows the golden bed with lamps on either side

A view of the bedroom side of the suite. Joey Hadden/Insider

I don’t think I’ve ever had a king bed to myself before this experience. When fully stretched out, I felt like it went on forever as I drifted off to sleep later that night.

The author stretches out on the bed in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionThe author stretches out on the bed in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

The author stretches out on the bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

There were several lavish, golden throw pillows matching the room on the bed, which I tossed on the floor at bedtime …

A close up of the golden pillows on the bed of the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA close up of the golden pillows on the bed of the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

The bed was full of pillows. Joey Hadden/Insider

… because behind them were the most comfortable pillows I’ve ever laid my head on. I could have done without the throw pillows altogether.

A close up of the pillows behind the throw pillows in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA close up of the pillows behind the throw pillows in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

There were at least 10 pillows on the bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

Their cases felt crisp and cool on my face. I still think about them when I get in my own bed each night.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the author enjoying the pillowsSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the author enjoying the pillows

The author gets lost in the fluff. Joey Hadden/Insider

I was surprised to find that there were no lights on the ceiling like most hotels.

A view of the ceiling in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA view of the ceiling in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

A view of the ceiling. Joey Hadden/Insider

Instead, the main source of lighting came from lamps on the nightstands …

A night stand with a cord phone, a lamp, and an alarm clock in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA night stand with a cord phone, a lamp, and an alarm clock in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

A nightstand on one side of the bed held a phone and a remote. Joey Hadden/Insider

… and from the natural light pouring through stained glass windows.

A view of a chair in front of an open floor leading to the bathroom in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA view of a chair in front of an open floor leading to the bathroom in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

A view of the rest of the room from the bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

The Aurora Suite had window seating with a view overlooking the pool and a glass table in front of it. It was a great spot to do work or order room service.

A view of a bench and glass table in front of stained-glass windows in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA view of a bench and glass table in front of stained-glass windows in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

A view of the seating area by the windows. Joey Hadden/Insider

To the right of the sitting area was a closet with two thick, cozy robes, and a door leading to the bathroom. The weight of the robe made me feel like I was being cuddled as I walked around my suite.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the robes and the author wearing oneSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the robes and the author wearing one

The author uses one of the provided robes. Joey Hadden/Insider

The shower was my favorite part of the whole suite. With decorative tiling, shower heads on either side, and an additional handheld shower head, I think this was the best shower I’ve ever stepped into.

A view of the shower from the outside in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA view of the shower from the outside in the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

A view of the whole shower. Joey Hadden/Insider

I couldn’t get enough of it. In less than 24 hours, I took three showers, and I still think of it while I’m waiting for the water to heat up in my New York apartment. There were also luxury Italian soaps and lotions that left my skin feeling clean and soft.

A close up of toiletries in the bathroom of the Aurora Suite in the former Versace MansionA close up of toiletries in the bathroom of the Aurora Suite in the former Versace Mansion

Luxury toiletries were included in the author’s suite. Joey Hadden/Insider

Looking up at the ceiling, it was wild to think this was once a home for one person. Living amongst so much detailed artwork inspired me to consider making my own. I wonder if that’s how Versace felt.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the bathroom ceilingSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the bathroom ceiling

Painted patterns on the bathroom ceiling. Joey Hadden/Insider

Back in the main room, I found a mounted TV and coffee machine in front of the bed. At home, I don’t have a TV in my bedroom. Watching shows until I fall asleep is a luxury I only allow myself on vacation.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the coffee set-upSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the coffee set-up

A view of the coffee amenities and TV. Joey Hadden/Insider

On the other side was a large mirror tall enough to see your whole outfit including your shoes. It seemed fitting for a former fashion designer’s home.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the right side of the bed, which has a large mirrorSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the right side of the bed, which has a large mirror

The author stands on one side of the bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

Walking up and down the stairs of the hotel without running into a single person, I felt like I was in an art museum with exclusive access to stunning tile patterns and dazzling stained glass windows.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show decorative stairwellsSide by side photos in the versace mansion show decorative stairwells

Walls of tiles and stained glass are seen up and down the stairs. Joey Hadden/Insider

Around lunchtime, I headed downstairs and noticed Gianni’s, the hotel restaurant, was filling up with customers. Restaurant patrons had a view of the glistening hotel pool but couldn’t swim in it.

Gianni's restaurant outside the former versace mansionGianni's restaurant outside the former versace mansion

A view of Gianni’s patio by the pool. Joey Hadden/Insider

But I could. As I walked past all the tables, I was awestruck to find the most beautiful pool waiting for me, and it was completely empty.

A view of the pool outside the former versace mansionA view of the pool outside the former versace mansion

A wide view of the Thousand Mosaic Pool. Joey Hadden/Insider

Called the Thousand Mosaic Pool, it’s made up of thousands of 24k gold tiles, according to the hotel’s website.

A view of the pool outside the former versace mansionA view of the pool outside the former versace mansion

A view looking down at the tiles on the pool’s floor. Joey Hadden/Insider

At first, it felt strange stepping into a pool that looked like a piece of art, and in front of so many people dining. But I couldn’t miss out on the experience and felt like the fanciest person on earth doing so.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the author and the poolSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the author and the pool

The author takes a selfie before hopping into the pool. Joey Hadden/Insider

The pool was shaded and the water felt cool. As I dipped underwater, I thought that I could spend years swimming in this pool every day and still not notice every detail. It was mesmerizing.

A view of the pool outside the former versace mansionA view of the pool outside the former versace mansion

A view of the whole pool from one side. Joey Hadden/Insider

After a dip (and my second shower), I headed up to the rooftop deck, which felt like my own private terrace.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show views of the rooftop deckSide by side photos in the versace mansion show views of the rooftop deck

Views of the rooftop deck at the former Versace Mansion. Joey Hadden/Insider

Being on the roof reminded me just how close I was to the ocean. The beach was right across the street and I could smell the ocean and feel its breeze.

A view from the roof of the former Versace MansionA view from the roof of the former Versace Mansion

A view of the beach from the hotel’s rooftop. Joey Hadden/Insider

The rooftop also offered views of colorful South Beach. At night and with no one else around me, it felt like the whole mansion was just for me.

Side by side photos in the versace mansion show the rooftop views during the day and at nightSide by side photos in the versace mansion show the rooftop views during the day and at night

Views of South Beach during the day and at night. Joey Hadden/Insider

I didn’t just feel like a Kardashian up there – I felt like a Versace. To me, that regal feeling was priceless.

The author stands in front of the ocean on top of the versace mansionThe author stands in front of the ocean on top of the versace mansion

The author stands on the rooftop deck while feeling like a million bucks. Joey Hadden/Insider

Above the deck, stairs led to an observatory. Versace reconstructed the observatory when he moved in, adding a new copper dome, according to the company’s website. It was magical.

A view of the observatory in the former Versace MansionA view of the observatory in the former Versace Mansion

A view of the observatory during the day. Joey Hadden/Insider

The observatory was a calming, peaceful space that felt worlds apart from the famous South Beach party scene below.

A view of the observatory in the former versace mansion at nightA view of the observatory in the former versace mansion at night

A view of the observatory at night. Joey Hadden/Insider

I realized that, if I wanted to get away from the hubbub below, the observatory was the best place to do it. I could clearly hear the ongoing nightlife in my suite until 1 a.m., but I didn’t mind. It’s just part of the Miami experience, I thought.

A view outside the former versace mansion at nightA view outside the former versace mansion at night

A view of the mansion just before the author turned in for the night. Joey Hadden/Insider

The Villa Casa Casuarina didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about the noise level.

That night I slept like a baby and woke up to a complimentary breakfast of bacon, buttery pastries, and orange juice.

The author's breakfast at the versace mansion with bread, bacon, and orange juice on a glass tableThe author's breakfast at the versace mansion with bread, bacon, and orange juice on a glass table

The author’s complimentary breakfast. Joey Hadden/Insider

Though I ate my breakfast in a T-shirt and basketball shorts, I still felt glamorous and was grateful that I got the chance to stay somewhere so special. It turns out that perhaps I am one for fancy things.

The author holds orange juice in the air in front of her breakfast in the former versace mansionThe author holds orange juice in the air in front of her breakfast in the former versace mansion

The author gets ready to sip some orange juice. Joey Hadden/Insider

Read the original article on Insider

General