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Goldeneye (Ian Fleming Home) - Ocho Rios, Jamaica


Goldeneye is a small and very stylish villa resort hidden away in leisurely, lawned and forested grounds in Oracabessa to east of Ocho Rios on the north coast of Jamaica. The centrepiece is Ian Fleming's old house, which has three bedrooms and a living room, a games/screening room, a small private beach and a private pool. Built in the Fifties it has been modernised with an Oriental touch, including bamboo furniture and mats and carvings (though you can still see the desk at which Fleming wrote many of the James Bond novels).

Besides Ian Fleming's villa there are three villas with a varied number of bedrooms, built in earthy tropical style. There is also a cliffside dining room and bar with access to the sea and Low Cay beach next door. As an Island Outpost, Goldeneye is stylish and hip, and has a delightful, tranquil air. It sees many stars – musicians, models and film moguls – witnessed by the trees they have planted in the gardens.

Don't get left behind! See the world in a different light. Exploring the reefs, bird watching, kayaking, refreshing yourself under a waterfall, or discovering through locals about history, culture and tradition provides you with a rich and rewarding experience which is forever imbedded in your memories.

The gardens themselves are large. Interestingly they are a former donkey race track, but they are now planted with trees, which include cannonball trees, banyans, African tulip trees and mangos among many others. In fact there is a tradition of planting trees here.

It was started as early as 1956, by the former British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and his wife (he was here to recuperate after the Suez crisis). They planted a santa maria tree. Since then Grace Jones and Kate Moss have planted star apples, Johnny Depp a guava and Willie Nelson a cinnamon tree. Oh, and of course, as the original home of James Bond, it is fitting that Bond actors should plant one too. In 1998 Pierce Brosnan planted a julie mango.

It is also fun to muse on the name Goldeneye. The name of the town next door, Oracabessa, translates as Golden Head, but Goldeneye – later the name for a Bond film, though not actually of any of Fleming's Bond books – was also the name of an operation in the Second World War which was developed by Fleming. The small villa resort is one of the Island Outposts and it is owned by the man behind the company, Chris Blackwell, who also created Island Records. His family knew Ian Fleming and so he used to visit as a young man. One of his early jobs was to work as a location scout for the James Bond films that came to the island. He was responsible for the beach (just west of Ocho Rios), where Ursula Andress emerged from the waves at the start of Dr No, the first James Bond film.

Goldeneye is a small and extremely original hotel. It has the distinctive Island Outpost feel, the best of traditional Jamaican style given an offbeat twist through the funky colour scheme and the advantage of an interesting location, Ian Fleming's House. It sees many people from the media and music business, so there is often an interesting crowd. Goldeneye is extremely low key, but also extremely fashionable.

Beach & Swimming

There are a couple of small beaches cut into the cliffs just beneath the villas at Goldeneye. Platforms have also been built out on the rockface, where you will find loungers and some thatched gazebos for shade. The water is usually calm (the coast is protected by an offshore reef) and so the swimming is good.

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