This was largely helped by the crew having access to the infamous Versace Mansion, the designer’s beloved home on Miami’s celebrated Ocean Drive - also the scene of his murder 20 years ago on its front steps.
Since then, the mansion has become the third most photographed residence in the USA, (behind The White House and Graceland), but visitors have been largely kept to beyond the gates… until the last few years, when the villa was opened as Casa Casuarina boutique hotel.
Now, it is possible (at a price) to stay in the 1930s Mediterranean style villa – or, if the holiday budget does not quite stretch to the £350 ++ room rate (low season), another option is to dine in Gianni’s.
This fine-dining restaurant open to guests and the public is THE place for a celebratory or ‘Instagrammable’ dinner, with its opulent backdrop of dining-room murals or the 24-carat gold-tiled swimming pool for al fresco candlelit suppers.
The menu features modern Mediterranean cuisine, with home-made pasta and, given the restaurant’s location, heavily leans towards seafood, with the odd ‘bling’ dish such as black truffle risotto and caviar, all served on black dishes - a nod to the designer’s preferred colour scheme along with the black and gold menus.
However, the food is not really the point to dining at Gianni’s… it is truly an experience – from enjoying an aperitif in the Riad-inspired courtyard to making your ‘red carpet’ entrance down the steps leading to the garden. We were thoroughly entertained by the models (professional? Wannabes? Who knows?) posing by the pool, as much as the jazz trio. This is certainly THE place to be seen – and a good excuse to dig out your Versace frock or shirt!
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