As we anticipate the upcoming release of the 25th Bond movie No Time to Die in April 2020, we've searched every corner of the globe to find secret agent settings worth seeing for yourself, beyond the silver screen...
It could be said that when Ian Fleming purchased fifteen acres of land in Jamaica in 1946, James Bond was born. Originally inspired by the island during an intelligence mission in World War ll, Fleming quickly made this tropical paradise his home, marrying his sweetheart and settling down at GoldenEye, where he spent days penning his thrillers undisturbed in his secluded sanctuary. His passion for the island is evident in several 007 films; Dr. No features scenes filmed in Kingston and St. Mary, while Live and Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun also transport thrill seekers to the gorgeously green landscapes of Jamaica.
Although decades may have passed since the first film's release, there's still plenty to excite Bond buffs here. While relishing your luxury holiday in Jamaica, visit 'James Bond beach' in Ocho Rios, home to the two-storey Moonraker Bar owned by celebrated music producer Chris Blackwell, or explore the natural beauty of Dunn's River Falls, where Sean Connery's waterfall scenes were filmed; we highly recommend venturing up the fall's limestone steps on a guided hike, ending your tour with a soothing soak in naturally formed pools surrounded by untouched tropical flora. But there's more to Jamaica than 007: the jerk-infused food and reggae music are legendary, so sample the street food and join the lively local parties - we promise you won't regret it!
Where to stay: Fleming wrote all fourteen books in the James Bond series in his bedroom at GoldenEye, now one of Jamaica's most historic luxury boltholes. Comprised of private villas, cottages and beach huts, this heavenly hideaway promises to inspire everyone who arrives to write their own story. From glass-bottom boat tours and scuba-diving in the reef, to treetop dining fuelled by exotic rum cocktails, you'll soon see why Fleming chose to call this home.
Glamorous, adventurous, naturally spellbinding... is it any surprise four 007 movies feature the Bahamas? This 700-island archipelago's sandy shores featured in Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me, with underwater scenes filmed in the Bahama's ethereal Exuma Cays, where daring divers can now explore the commemoratively named Thunderball Grotto. Capital city Nassau has also played a big part in the spy series; you can take a secret agent scuba-diving tour starting at Clifton Pier in the city's harbour, or explore the island's oldest thoroughfare Bay Street, where Thunderball's carnivalesque Junkanoo scenes were filmed. Aside from movie memoirs, this Caribbean paradise has plenty to thrill every traveller - whether you're looking to unwind on a pink-sand beach or take on lady luck in the casino, you'll find it amongst these small, yet sublime islands. The beautifully blue hued waters surrounding the Bahamas also make sailing a popular pastime; explore pretty cays and isolated islands at you own leisure, undisturbed in your pursuit for peace and privacy.
Swimming Pool at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort Bahamas
Bentley Chauffeur at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort Bahamas
Dune Restaurant at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort Bahamas,
Where to stay: Bond's Bahamian bolthole in Casino Royale, The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort Bahamas, has been a playground for celebrities and discerning travellers since the 1960s. This exclusive estate includes private butler-serviced rooms, suites and villas, an award-winning spa and Tom Weiskopf-designed championship golf course for the ultimate indulgence. Head to the Lobby Bar and request a Vesper Martini - shaken, not stirred - you'll soon feel like Daniel Craig himself.
Roger Moore's gondola chase through Venice in 1979's Moonraker, villain Karl Stromberg's underwater mansion off Sardinia in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Casino Royale's phenomenal finale in Lake Como; it's safe to say Italy has played a major role in bringing Bond to life. Quantum of Solace's opening sequence also sees 007 racing along the narrow roads in a high-speed chase, showcasing some of the world's most spectacular supercars in one of Italy's most imposing settings - heavenly Lake Garda. Whether you're dreaming of a romantic city break, an epicurean sojourn or leisurely stay beside the lakes, rest assured Italy will have what you're looking for, and more. If you can't settle upon one of the country's fabled regions, travel Bond style with an action-packed road trip through emerald green countryside, multicoloured fishing villages and bustling cities, stopping to soak up everything from Rome's timeless Colosseum and the inspiring Vatican city, to Tuscany's age-old vineyards and wineries along the way.
Where to stay: Having made an appearance in Moonraker, Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice is steeped in history, comprising three elegant palaces dating back to the 14th century. Regally decorated with Murano glass chandeliers and lavishly lacquered furnishings, it's unsurprising this grand residence caught the eye of Bond girl, Dr Holly Goodhead. Ideally located moments from St. Mark's Square, it's superbly located for sightseeing, too!
United States of America
Bond buffs may remember Goldfinger as one of the James Bond's most iconic films, which begins with a picture-perfect skyline view - a slice of paradise that is Miami Beach. A country of contrasts, several of the USA's states and notable cities have starred in the spy series throughout their creation, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans, the latter being one of the main filming locations in Live and Let Die's gripping storyline surrounding bad guy, Mr. Big and leading lady, Solitaire. From rainforest to desert, cities to countryside, the diverse United States of America will leave discerning travellers overwhelmed with options; riding the rollercoasters at Florida's Walt Disney World Resort®, luxuriating along California's eight-hundred-mile-long coastline, staying up late in the 'City That Never Sleeps', dancing the night away in San Diego's famous Gaslamp Quarter or betting your luck in Las Vegas' seemingly endless, larger-than-life casinos, how will you make your luxury holiday in the USA movie-worthy?
Where to stay: Starring in the aforementioned opening sequence of Goldfinger, Fontainebleau Miami Beach has become one of the USA's landmark hotels, previously hosting icons such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley before Bond's arrival. A dozen dining options - including Michelin-starred concept Hakkasan and Michael Mina's renowned StripSteak - paired with eleven pool settings, a collection of designer boutiques and a legendary night club, guarantee you the most stylish stay in Miami.
Who could forget Daniel Craig's daring motorcycle chase through narrow market lanes in the early moments of Skyfall? This high-speed scene filmed in Istanbul features the historic rooftops of Grand Bazaar and the imposing Hagia Sophia, the city's iconic 1,500-year-old mosque, while fleeting shots and suspense-building sequences filmed in lesser-known Adana and the coastal city of Fethiye further showcase the undeniable, centuries-old beauty of this otherworldly destination. Bursting with ancient cities, fascinating ruins and striking temples, including the Ancient City of Ephesus built in 10th century BC, there are enough Turkish delights to intrigue you for weeks. When you've spied all the sights, unwind on a powder-soft beach, fringed by the temptingly turquoise Aegean Sea, or mingle with the friendly locals as you savour platters of meze and sweet, sticky baklava at one of Turkey's many traditional taverns, before braving the bustling bazaars to purchase some authentic souvenirs.
Where to stay: Living up to the 007 level of glamour, Fethiye's Hillside Beach Club cleverly combines secluded and seductive, adults-only sections with family-friendly zones, creating a welcoming luxury setting for everyone. Designed in harmony with nature, homely rooms effortlessly blend with the hillside, while three restaurants serve everything from traditional Turkish meze to incredible Italian gastronomy. With a lucky location just outside the port city, it's simple to traverse the city streets of 'downtown', or weave your way through the multicoloured markets, too.
One of the first mainstream movies to illustrate Thai destinations like Bangkok and Phuket, The Man With the Golden Gun takes fans to the exotic Far East. In fact, Roger Moore's second movie and the ninth spy saga in the series made Phang Nga Bay's tiny, yet towering Ko Tapu so famous, it's now popularly known as 'James Bond' island. The region was relatively untouched by tourism prior to the movie's release, but since the area's natural beauty has stepped into the spotlight, could you be blamed for being tempted by Thailand? Many visitors opt to explore Ao Phang Nga National Park on a boat tour, weaving amongst the limestone karsts, but kayaking takes you even closer to the dramatic scenery. Back on land, Thailand's never-ending cultural treasures range from traditional cooking classes with local chefs, to village tours and animal encounters; you won't want to miss the real-life movie magic of this inspiring destination.
James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay
Boat in Phang Nga Bay
Beachfront Pool Villa at TreeHouse Villas
Where to stay: Overlooking iconic Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Noi's TreeHouse Villas afford easy access to explore 007's favourite location in Asia. The striking surroundings play host to a wealth of activities, from Batik painting lessons to cultural cycling tours, while the villas themselves are chic and stylish, made from upcycled materials framing the stunning sea view. Best of all, the resort is adults-only, perfect for a week or two of undisturbed 'bond'-ing.
It's not all sunshine on Bond's many secret missions! The snowy Alps have long been popular in the spy series, featured in titles including On Her Majesty's Secret Service and GoldenEye. One of the series' most famous stunt scenes, performed in For Your Eyes Only, was filmed on the steep ski slopes of Cortina d'Ampezzo, and who could forget Bond in his famous bright yellow snowsuit, escaping assassins in St Moritz in The Spy Who Loved Me? 2015's Spectre also introduced Austria's ski resort of Sölden, where the mountaintop ice Q restaurant was transformed into Hoffler Klinik, where James Bond meets Madeleine Swann. For travellers as daring as 007 himself, ski resorts spread across Europe, Canada and the USA will bring you a similar adrenaline rush to the secret agent lifestyle, while après-ski bars and nightclubs are the perfect place for a post-ski martini - shaken, not stirred.
Where to stay: Imagine yourself in Spectre's snow scenes at boutique bolthole, Kristiania Lech. Brainchild of Olympic Silver and Gold medallist skier Othmar Schneider, this small yet stunning Alpine paradise in Austria has easy access to slopes for every skill level, from groomed, beginner pistes to more advanced runs and trails. After an exhilarating day at high altitude, head down to the hotel's wine cellar for a private tasting with sommelière Sabine, before retiring for a good night's sleep before ready to embrace another adrenaline-fuelled day.