The tropical environs of Jamaica proved a mighty muse to Ian Fleming. As a commander during World War Two, he was assigned to patrol the island for U-Boats and fell so hard for the place he vowed to return post-war. When he did in the ’50s, he built a bungalow on a lush swathe of land and dubbed it GoldenEye after one of his wartime operations.
All of this is laid out in the book GoldenEye: Where Bond Was Born, which describes in detail Fleming’s relationship with Jamaica. It was here that he conceived of the man who made him famous, James Bond. His series of 007 novels was banged out on his trusty typewriter while on an annual two month sabbatical from his day job at the Sunday Times. The book Dr. No is set in Ochos Rios, where GoldenEye is located, and its film adaptation was shot in the area.
Today, the writer’s five-bedroom villa is dutifully preserved, his writing desk as he left it, and ready to be occupied for a price. It’s part of record exec Chris Blackwell’s luxe GoldenEye resort. Added to the property and slightly more affordable are 22 additional units, including villas bordering either the beach or lagoon, and six lagoon-side cottages.
To give a sense of the exclusiveness of the resort, one just needs to look to the trees lining the gravel driveway, all generously donated by illustrious guests such as Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Bill Clinton. Its extravagance befits a discerning special agent (circa the Daniel Craig era) who favors La Perla bathing trunks, Church’s oxfords, and bespoke Tom Ford suits. Both villas and cottages feature private gardens with outdoor showers, handmade linens, and Logitech sound systems.
Perhaps, while taking a dip in one of two pools (fresh and salt water), lying on the white sand beach, or launching a kayak from your private dock, creative lightning will strike as it did for Fleming and you’ll write the next great American novel. You can also attempt to stay upright while paddleboarding, perfect your crow pose in a sunset yoga class, or catch your dinner with the help of a local fisherman. Or if you prefer a more sedentary itinerary, just kick back, soak up the sun, catch female guests attempting to recreate Ursula Andress’s sexy, dangerous entrance, and save your strength for the Bizot Bar, where you’ll need to resist the urge to order a martini.
Speaking of Bizot, in addition to being the place to sip on Bond-approved cocktails, the beachside restaurant also serves casual Jamaican fare. If you prefer your food fancy, there is the Gazebo, where you can dine al fresco on a terrace overlooking the lagoon and catch the sunset, while eating lobster and jerk chicken. Not a bad way to end the day.
It’s certain that Fleming’s GoldenEye was more rustic than this deluxe iteration, but Blackwell’s GoldenEye is a suitable Bond lair and offers a licence to chill (sorry, couldn’t resist).