South Beach. The words conjure up images of glittering sand, endless beaches, and a voracious nightlife that will keep you partying into the first light of dawn. It may be hard to believe that what started as a piece of farm land where coconuts were to be cultivated is now one of the most sought after destinations in the world, but that is what South Beach has become. The South Beach section of Miami Beach is packed with hundreds of night clubs, restaurants, unique shops and fabulous hotels. The streets team with beautiful people, often times wearing very little! Earning the name "America's Riviera," it has become somewhat of a little melting pot with the influx of European tourists bringing about a laid back influence thereby making the female monokini, otherwise known as topless sun bathing, perfectly acceptable even on the public beach.
In the late 80's and early 90's South Beach went through a period of change when celebrities and wealthy business moguls put this sunny city on their radar, with the help of the popular television show Miami Vice. Celebrities who own or have owned homes in South Beach in recent years, include Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Sean P. Diddy Combs and Rosie O'Donnell. Many of the large, New York city based modeling agencies have also moved their headquarters to this steamy location.
Needless to say, where there are wealthy people there are beautiful homes. One of the more popular areas of South Beach for the rich and famous is Star Island. This is a man made island with a gated entrance, making it a favorite to celebrities and others who feel the need for privacy and can afford this over the top exclusive neighborhood. Another very high end area nearby is Indian Creek, a village with a very small population and fourteen single family homes. Below is a list of some of the most expensive and luxurious homes in the South Beach area. Without a doubt those who call this city of fashion, nightlife and never-ending sunshine home, should definitely consider themselves lucky.
5 Sean P. Diddy Combs House: $14.5 Million
This exquisite piece of real estate is owned by the famous rapper turned brilliant clothing designer and business entrepreneur, Sean Combs. He purchased this home on the exclusive Star Island in 2003. Originally owned by the famous music mogul, Tommy Mottola, this home has over 19,500 square feet of living space making it a home worthy of a talent such as Combs.
Combs was thrilled with his purchase saying, "It is paradise, heaven, a dream come true for me." Sitting on over three acres, this "paradise" includes nine bedrooms and twelve bathrooms. Overlooking the beautiful bay is a gorgeous swimming pool and private boat dock. Other over the top features of this stunning property include tennis courts, a guest house, a putting green and a very long, private driveway.
4 Thomas Kramer Home: $35 Million
This prime piece of South Beach property is owned by Thomas Kramer, a German real estate investor and venture capitalist who has been credited with turning South Beach from a run down "bad part of town," to the A-list destination it has become. It is estimated that 5 Star Island, including all the property and assets included within, is worth over 1 billion dollars. Built in 1997, this sprawling estate has over 30,000 square feet of living space. It is described as "a masterpiece of design and function." Inside this work of art you will find thirteen bedrooms with twelve full baths and four half baths, and that is just the beginning.
Upon further exploration you will find a 10,000 bottle wine cellar, a gourmet style kitchen, home theater and a fully equipped gym. Be sure not to crash into one of the museum quality antiques or avant-garde art work you will find displayed throughout the home. The entry ceiling is covered with a hand painted canvas that took years to complete. Outside you will find two private boat docks, a two story boat house and a floating helicopter pad. Other features you will find that come in handy are outdoor air conditioning, fogging mist for blocking people who may try to look in from the ocean during your private events and an ocean view sauna. For those who may want to stay in a house like this but perhaps not own one, 5 Star Island can be rented for a mere $150,000 per month.
3 40 Star Island: $40 Million
This is another over the top mansion located on the private hide away of Star Island. This old world charmer was actually built in 1925. With over 9,800 square feet of living space, it is both opulent while at the same time welcoming with its old Florida history. This seven bedroom, six bath home is rich with architectural details that would be next to impossible to recreate today. Floors are made up of aged authentic stone. The home is accented with marble, and rich, fine old woods can be seen throughout the entire house. The beautiful dining room has elegant french doors detailed with stained glass leading out to the beautiful courtyard and majestic fountains. Outside is an amazing 330 feet of waterfront, with a private boat dock. Of course a home such as this in the middle of paradise would not be complete without a resort style pool and a large gazebo area reminiscent of the Gatsby era. There are also two guest houses on the property, allowing for total privacy for guests.
2 2. Versace Mansion: $41.5 Million
Casa Casuarina more commonly known as the "Versace Mansion," is considered "The crown jewel of luxury real estate," according to luxury home real estate agent, Jill Eber. Built in 1930 by philanthropist Alden Freeman, this ornate and spectacular home was purchased by Gianni Versace in 1992. It has been reported that he invested $33 million dollars on expansions in the south wing and the pool and garden area also adding his own distinct artistic vision. Each bedroom is designed with its own theme, such as the Safari Suite, the Medallion Suite and The Venus Suite which features two private balconies. Even the location of this home sets it apart from all the rest as it is one of the few homes that actually sits on Ocean Drive, making all that South Beach has to offer just a short walk away.
This Mediterranean inspired house has over 23,000 square feet with ten bedrooms and eleven bathrooms. The ornate architectural accents include hand painted walls and breath taking ceiling frescos. Outside you will find even more opulent features with the famous "Thousand Mosaic Pool," a 54 foot pool lined with 24 karat gold and a manicured courtyard complete with contemporary art. There is also a mosaic garden. The current owner has reopened the home as a luxury hotel with rooms starting at $800 dollars per night. Most will remember the horrific crime where Gianni Versace was shot down on the front steps of his home by a serial killer. Certainly, this breath taking home has seen many happier times in recent years.
1 3 Indian Creek Drive: $47 Million
Billed as South Florida's "Most expensive property," this home was purchased for cash by an unnamed foreign buyer in 2012. Nestled in the high end luxury neighborhood of Indian Creek, this home is truly awe inspiring. It was built to resemble a resort and actually appears to be floating on water. It is constructed with a series of pavilions that connect through gorgeous stone walk ways and walls of manicured gardens. Inside are ten bedrooms and fourteen bathrooms.
Most of the living spaces are enclosed by glass walls with waterfront views available from almost every room in the house. The zen inspired home evokes peace with its indoor reflecting pools and gorgeous limestone walls. A full spa pavilion and water lined glass fronted gym are included on this property. The master bedroom suite is 3,000 square feet and the gourmet kitchen is done with authentic teak cabinets. There is also a separate catering kitchen, a movie theater and a most unique feature, a living plant wall. Outside is a 100 foot resort style pool and cabana. For those who like to entertain in lavish style there are six wet bars and a rooftop "sky" bar.