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Our little black book of enchanting places

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IAN FLEMING'S JAMAICA by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By The Travelwrap Company

I love the Caribbean, but choosing which island to visit is always a dilemma. Chic St Barths? Cosmopolitan Barbados? Beautiful Grenada? But this autumn there will be no contest: I will be heading for Jamaica, armed with a copy of a fascinating new book about Ian Fleming by Matthew Parker. And with GoldenEye Where Bond Was Born tucked into my beach bag, I will follow the trail of the famous spy writer across the island to his former home on the north coast.

You could say it was the creator of James Bond who put Jamaica on the tourist map. Fleming built GoldenEye, his modest villa in Orcabessa Bay, just after the Second World War. It was here that he wrote all of the James Bond novels and short stories, infusing them with the warm, exotic spirit of the island. With its ridiculously white sand scattered with palm trees and clear, blue waters, it’s easy to see why Fleming thought this quiet corner of Jamaica was Paradise on Earth. And why it attracted a whole bevy of artistocrats, writers and international jetsetters, including Noël Coward who built a sanctuary of his own not far from GoldenEye.

Fleming died in 1964 and his beloved GoldenEye was eventually extended and transformed into a luxury resort by Chris Blackwell. The spirit of its glamorous owner lives on: Fleming fans can stay in suite 007, or perhaps write postcards seated at the writer’s desk in Fleming Villa. Need I add that a martini, shaken not stirred, is the cocktail of choice here.

To coincide with the publication of the Parker’s book on August 14, GoldenEye has put together a number of Fleming-themed packages. I like the sound of the one based in Fleming Villa which includes swimming from Fleming’s private coral beach, dinner in his favourite spot, The Sunken Garden, a chat with Ramsey Dacosta who used to be Ian Fleming’s gardener (he now works in guest relations), as well as speedboat rides and lessons in how to make the perfect cocktail.

The first Bond movie, Dr No, was shot in and around Orcabessa in 1962. Perhaps I’ll even stage my own Honey Rider/Ursula Andress moment – from my outdoor bath.

GoldenEye Where Bond Was Born by Matthew Parker is published on Thursday by Hutchinson, price £20. More information on GoldenEye resort and the Fleming packages at www.GoldenEye.com

 

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