Want a bit of Bond history?
We’re not talking Sir Sean Connery‘s autograph or a Bond DVD box set. We’re talking a $1 million Beach Cottage – or maybe just a $700 grand Cove Hut – at Goldeneye, Ian Fleming‘s private Jamaican hideaway where he wrote all his 007 spy thrillers.
Goldeneye – owned by legendary music industry empresario Chris Blackwell and his Island Outpost resort corporation – will evolve over the next two years from a small, reclusive resort property into a large exclusive resort village taking up a significant chunk of Jamaica’s north shore.
Countless music, fashion and film stars are already frequent guests of Blackwell’s lush, laid-back Goldeneye resort. Johnny Depp is a regular. Scarlett Johansson and beau Josh Hartnett were just there. Naomi Campell even owns one of the Goldeneye villas – the Royal Palm – that you can rent. Other visitors include Bono, Steve Winwood, Bob Marley, Sting (he wrote “Every Breath You Take” there), Harrison Ford, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss. Two cinema Bonds – Sir Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan – have also idled there. Connery, according to Roger Brown, Island Outpost developer, has even expressed an interest in the new Goldeye Resort property. No sign, so far, of the new 007 Daniel Craig whose “Casino Royale” is due out in November.
But Blackwell was in LA this week looking for a few select Hollywood high rollers who might like to be residents of his revamped Goldeneye. At a party Monday in a Santa Monica home, an elite group including Angelica Huston, former Mamas and Papas singer Michelle Phillips, music industry honcho Peter Asher, Malcolm McLaren (c’mon, you remember the Sex Pistols) and record producer Richard Perry sampled Jamaican fare and fruity rum drinks while looking at plans for the new Goldeneye, scheduled for completion in Winter 2007.
As well as private homes of all sizes, the plans include a thalassotherapy spa, clubhouse, tennis courts, fitness centers, pools, restaurants and doctors offices. There will also be 30 ocean-front rental apartments, named for Bond characters like Q, Miss Moneypenny, Goldfinger, Pussy Galore, etc. “But the suites will be tastefully done,” points out Brown. “Not like Disneyland.” Darn. We were kinda hoping for a naked gold-painted blonde sprawled on the king bed.
And, as the promo pamphlets point out, you could even retire there. But the price? Okay, it ain’t cheap. The tropical decored two-story Lagoon Villa (5230 sq ft) starts, we repeat, starts at $3 million. But chill, mon. The promo packet proposes music to play while reviewing the purchase documents included in the colorful tie-dyed gift bags given to each party guest.
Just a few ditties by Steve Winwood, Muddy Waters, Bill Withers, Neil Young, Prince, Traffic, Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac and The Wailers should make signing that hefty deposit check much easier.
A little Goldeneye history came to light throughout the evening…
Photo Credits: Goldeneye, Ian Fleming’s Jamaican hideaway, is about to spawn an exclusive resort village. Courtesy of Island Outpost.
British-born Blackwell grew up in Jamaica and as a young man sold real estate, rented motor scooters and eventually founded Island Records, launching the careers of Bob Marley, Spooky Tooth, Roxy Music, U2, Tom Waits, the Cranberries and countless other music legends.
Although he sold Island Records to Polygram in ’89, Blackwell still had that rock star aura about him as he mingled with his party guests.
Seems it was Ian Fleming who suggested that Blackwell be the location scout for “Dr. No,” the first Bond film shot there in 1961. Twelve years after Fleming died, the music empresario talked one of his artists – Bob Marley – into buying the estate.
Marley actually signed the deed but then got cold feet – too "posh" for his taste – so Blackwell crossed out Marley’s name on the deed and bought it for himself, turning it into a small resort with the main Fleming house and four villas.
Celebs aren’t new fare for Goldeneye. Historically Fleming’s pad was a hideaway for the rich and famous such as authors Evelyn Waugh and Truman Capote, painter Lucien Freud, actors Katharine Hepburn, Errol Flynn, Sir Lawrence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud.
And for just a few mill, you can add your name to 007’s list.
Photo Credits: Ian Fleming’s framed signed photo sitting on his desk at the Goldeneye Resort in Jamaica. Courtesy of Island Resorts