How to travel like James Bond
The name’s Bond. James Bond.
The world’s greatest superspy might utter this iconic line every time he pushes someone out of an aeroplane, but 007 is more often handing over his details when checking into any one of the bazillion hotels that have ended up with his semen all over the sheets.
With the DVD release of the Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall now upon us, TheVine figured we’d tip our hats to the franchise’s location scouts, digging through the archives to find six of the greatest Bond hotels. All of them you can stay at – if you’re the kind of person who owns a gold-plated jet, that is.
Otherwise, you might want to sit down for this one.
Taj Lake Palace – Octopussy (1983)
Bond paid: $3,000+ (kinda)
Craig gets the ladies, Connery the whips and Brosnan the gadgets (and Dalton the awful movies). But there’s no doubt Roger Moore – the laziest Bond – remains the class of the field at nabbing quality digs for the night. One of Sir Roger’s nuggets was the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India, which doubled as Maud Adams’ lair in Octopussy. And why not: situated on a four-acre plot in the middle of Lake Pichola, the hotel has almost 270 years of history behind it. Looking for a twin single? I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place: the Taj’s chambers seem to come only in degrees of grandeur. There are the Luxury Rooms, which can be had from a pretty-reasonable-actually $250 per night, right through to The El Presidente Deluxe Commander Suite (or something), which comes in at an eye-watering $3,400. But man, is it worth it. The guest areas look exquisite, the lake spectacular, and you even have a personal butler who’ll accommodate your every desire – like swim (yeah, swim) to the mainland to fetch you some peanut butter. Perfect.
Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg – Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
An der Alster 72-79
Bond paid: $4,000+
Tomorrow Never Dies: a case of great locations, shame about the film. Thankfully, all those locations still exist, and one of them is conveniently located in the European hub of Hamburg. So the Atlantic Kempinski is easy to get to. And it’s also easy to fall in love with, given its gorgeous views across Lake Alster. But it may not be so easy to stay there, depending on how poor you are: rooms start at a reasonable $210 per night, but that’s for a Superior Double – i.e. a shoebox with a view of the toilet. If you want something looking out at the lake, ensure the budget stretches to a pretty cool $470 a night. Of course, for a not-cool-at-all $4,365 you could book the Atlantic Suite, where Pierce Brosnan blew a guy’s brains out and nuzzled a dead lady. Memories. Regardless, with those sorts of rates I wish they’d spend more on their craptacular copy, the hotel’s website ham-fistedly spruiking a private cinema, luxury spa, and two restaurants – all of which admittedly look fantastic. And the place is newly renovated, so you no longer have to live like it’s 1997.
Fountainebleu Miami Beach – Goldfinger (1964)
4441 Collins Avenue
Bond paid: $5,000+
You really want to visit Miami? Bond loved the place so much he didn’t actually go there, Sean Connery filming his scenes back at Pinewood Studios in England. Still the Fountainebleu is an architectural classic and comes packed with history – not all of it legit (the Black Tuna Gang – not their choice of nomenclature, but the FBI’s – once used a suite as the base for a marijuana smuggling operation. Legends). Rates at the Fountainebleu start at a not totally unreasonable $380 per night for a guest room looking at the ocean. But if you’re Bond – or Goldfinger – you want to upgrade and save/destroy the world from one of the hotel’s selection of suites. None of which can be booked online, mind – only over the phone – and that international calling code is really, really long. So we didn’t bother. Still, Elite Traveler Magazine tells us the La Mer Presidential Suite will set you back a whopping $5,000. Good thing I just sold my Daewoo.
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