A British naval commander, inspired by his own experiences during World War II, moved to Jamaica in 1946 where he created one of the most popular fictional characters in the world. His name is Fleming, Ian Fleming, and today you can visit his old home, the Fleming Villa at the GoldenEye Hotel and Resort. There, where all the James Bond novels came to be, you may feel like Agent 007, or at least his creator, would feel.
Fleming, a journalist after the war, bought land in Oracabessa Bay, St. Mary, Jamaica and placed his house in a cliff overlooking a private beach. There he took a three-month vacation every year, time he spent mainly writing the stories that brought him worldwide acclaim. He named his property in honor of Operation Goldeneye, an initiative he led to monitor and sabotage Nazis should they become allied with Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
The official announcement of No Time to Die, the 25th Bond film, makes this a perfect opportunity to visit the character’s tropical birthplace.
Fleming Villa, GoldenEye and the Bond Connection
GoldenEye Hotel and Resort consists of private villas, custom cottages and beach huts distributed around an adjacent beach and lagoon. Their details – wooden floors, high ceilings, large furniture, outdoor showers – intermingle with the natural elements of the surrounding landscape. For example, the lagoon cottages are directly on the turquoise water, perfect for those eager to take a dip.
The territory surrounding Fleming Villa and GoldenEye is heavenly. Local tourism authorities reinforce the connection of the area with its former distinguished resident. Some scenes from the James Bond movies were filmed nearby, like Dr. No and Live and Let Die. GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s first film as the British secret agent of Fleming, takes his title from here. The local international airport was named in honor of Fleming. The nearby Laughing Waters beach was renamed James Bond Beach and includes a Moonraker bar and a marine sanctuary.
Stars that Orbited GoldenEye
The appeal of Bond’s adventures, and Fleming himself, always attracted the curious and the famous to his little Jamaican paradise. Celebrities that frequented Fleming Villa were actor Errol Flynn, author Truman Capote, Sigmund Freud’s grandson, Queen Elizabeth II’s sister and playwright Noël Coward, who acquired his own nearby village called Firefly.
After Fleming’s death, reggae legend Bob Marley bought the property in 1976. Marley sold it a year later to the owner of his record label, Chris Blackwell. As Fleming Villa lacked room for the number of people who wanted to visit, Blackwell expanded its buildings and its territory. Blackwell’s guest list has nothing to envy Fleming’s. The list includes billionaires (Richard Branson), Hollywood stars (Pierce Brosnan, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Michael Caine), supermodels (Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell), as well as musicians. Both Sting of The Police and Bono of U2 composed successes during their stays: Every Breath You Take and GoldenEye, respectively.
There is a tradition among visitors to GoldenEye. British Prime Minister Anthony Eden lived a month with his wife at Fleming’s house and planted a Santa Maria tree in the garden before he left. Many other visitors have repeated this gesture over the years. Currently, those who wish to participate are required to donate one thousand dollars to the Oracabessa Foundation, responsible for sustainable development in the area.
The Main Attraction
GoldenEye Hotel and Resort offers its guests swimming pools, bars, restaurants, a spa, glass bottom boats, as well as various activities such as fishing, diving, sailing, sailing, water sports and tennis.
Regardless, the main attraction will always be Fleming Villa, the original residence designed by the writer, which still houses several of his personal photographs and memoirs. The structure contains three bedrooms plus two stand-alone one-bedroom cottages, all of which include a private garden bathroom. Adjacent to the residence are a private beach, swimming pool with water bar and media lounge, all surrounded by a tropical garden.
A total of 10 people can stay there the same time and they will be treated as royalty during their stay by an assigned butler, who can most likely make a good vodka martini.
(007 logo: EON Productions.)