The Royal Treatment
Whether It's Basking In The Shimmering 1,000-Tile-Mosaic Pool or gazing down at Ocean Drive from the plush Observatory roof deck, guests at Casa Casuarina, a private invitation-only membership club housed in the former mansion of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace in Miami Beach, FL, are perpetually immersed in opulence.
The property is a former Spanish palace built in the 1930s as an homage to Alcázar de Colón the Santo Domingo home of Christopher Columbus's son, Diego. Though it has changed hands several times since its creation, it has always been a mecca for the rich and famous, a tradition that continues today.
One of the club's most recent amenities is Spa Eleven Casa Casuarina, which opened in March and is helmed by Nicole Oden, the ambitious entrepreneur whose original Spa Eleven has found smashing success in Delray Beach, FL. The second location, however, is a vast departure from the flagship and without match anywhere in the area, according to Oden, who calls a day at the retreat "a completely over-the-top experience."
Massages, manicures, pedicures, and the Casuarina Exotic Fruit Facial ($225, 60 minutes) can be performed in the Rotunda by the pool.
In fact, the spa is not exactly a spa in the traditional sense of the word. While there are two esthetics rooms designed specifically for facial and body services, guests' pampering needs can be met almost anywhere on the property. For example, the Moroccan Room, which features rich brocade fabrics and designs, can accommodate up to four clients at a time, and the Hammam Suite has room for a couples' treatment and is an ideal location for luxe body therapies. Clients can receive services poolside, anywhere on the patio, or they can experience a manicure or pedicure up on the picturesque Observatory roof deck. Guests can also choose to receive treatments en suite, enjoying the privacy and extravagant beauty of one of the Casa's 10 guest suites, which come complete with luxe Anichini linens. Basically, Oden says her clients tell her how long they can be pampered and where they would like to be, and her team then creates an experience beyond anyone's wildest dreams.
Luxe manicures and pedicures are available on the Observatory roof deck
Like membership at Casa Casuarina ($50,000 membership fee plus $3,600 per year), spa treatments are not cheap. But this hasn't posed the slightest challenge for Oden. "Casa Casuarina is a playground for the rich and famous," she explains, adding that she has yet to see a client leave with a bill less than $1,000. And it's not just wealthy members and their guests who enjoy the spa. Aside from its posh Casa clients, who receive a discount on treatments and priority booking, Spa Eleven Casa Casuarina also caters to guests from some of the top hotels on the beach, including the Delano, the Hotel Victor, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Setai, as well as to local clients who have the desire to indulge. Some of Oden's VIP clients from the Delray Beach location have also made the trip south to enjoy the spa. At maximum capacity, which is a frequent occurrence, the spa can accommodate up to 40 guests a day. For special events and parties on the rooftop terrace, however, Oden says she can provide a tasting of services to upwards of 125 clients with the help of part-time staff and therapists from Spa Eleven in Delray Beach.
Lavish body treatments are performed by candlelight in the Hammam Suite
Oden says this universal appeal is due to the fact she and her team are willing to fulfill just about any request her customers might have. From offering them a specially prepared mango mojito or even a gourmet meal in between treatments to featuring less traditional therapies like Watsu, the spa is designed to meet the exact needs of each individual client. Says Oden, "There is no other spa I know of that can do that."
The Casa courtyard is a decadent entryway to the gorgeous Spanish-style mansion.
According to Oden, her clients accept the high price tags because they are treated like royalty. The luxe treatments were created using the custom-branded product line she devised with the help of Mariah Avilez, co-creator of Acqua International (Holister, CA). The products, which are organically based, are formulated to create an exotic, international feel. Oden says that both her guests and her therapists rave about the line, which will soon be available for retail.
Treatments, including massage, are available throughout the Casa Casuarina property, any time of day to accommodate guests' needs.
The treatment menu is equally inspired. "Nicole's vision was to create an international feel with a fashionista twist," says Avilez. "To create the menu, we combined the two and also kept in mind the history and cache that came with the property. Clients who visit a facility like this have traveled around the world, and they understand the glittered lifestyle of Miami. There was a lot to consider."
The most exotic treatments are the Eleven Rituals of Opulence, a selection of spa packages. Each session begins with a glass of Cristal champagne or an exotic fruit elixir and ends with a gift of some of the products used in the session. Couples looking for romantic relaxation may select the candlelit Majestica ($1,600 for two, 4 hours), which includes the Aromantica Sandlewood & Rose Petal Massage, the Rosa Restore Facial, and the Cardamom Hot Oil Treatment for Hair & Body, all accompanied by the offerings of a live guitarist. The most decadent (and expensive) item on the menu is the Illumina Ritual ($1,000, 5 hours), which includes a hammam sauna, a Eucalyptus and Earth Elements Body Ritual, a two-hour Massage à Trois session performed by two therapists, an Aqua Vitale Water Cure, a Radiant Silk Body Glow, and a Muslin Steam Veil. Guests depart with $145 worth of free products that includes the Spa Eleven Aqua Relieve Remedy, a Purifying Facial Cleanser, and Hydrasun 30 SPF oil-free sun protectant. Guests can also partake in à la carte massages, facials, and body treatments. Other extras include hot barber shaves for men, custom-applied spray-tanning services, decadent manicures and pedicures, hair and makeup services, and even eyelash extensions.
Thoughtful amenities, like fresh flowers on the massage tables, are part of the rich charm of Spa Eleven Casa Casuarina.
Each of the 11 rituals or individual treatments, however, can be modified or embellished depending on guests needs—most clients have the luxury of time and the philosophy that money is no object. "This is the dream of spa clients to go to a place where they aren't looking at a clock," she says. "All we basically do is ask how long they can escape with us, and we take care of the rest."
Spa Eleven at Casa Casuarina
As for Oden, this is just the beginning of the Spa Eleven franchise. She has plans to create Spa Eleven properties at major destinations around the country, including New York City and Las Vegas. But no matter how many properties she opens, her mission will remain the same as it is at Casa Casuarina—to provide clients with a royal experience fit for a king or queen.