The 52-acre GoldenEye retreat in Jamaica can lay claim to a bunch of impressive accolades. For starters, it has a stellar literary connection as the former home of James Bond author Ian Fleming and the setting where all 14 of his 007 books were penned. The five-star estate’s new owner is another legend in his own right – Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and widely credited with forging the careers of many artists including Bob Marley and U2. Blackwell is a former resident of Jamaica and his genuine passion for the island and the local community is evident in his sensitive two-year renovation of GoldenEye.
The infinity pools, custom-made furnishings, wellness treatments and fine dining are all there and yes, you might feel inspired to belt out Diamonds Are Forever as you gaze over the private lagoon, but you’ll find plenty of heart and soul here too. Blackwell has a non-for-profit foundation to help support the local islanders and at GoldenEye, the majority of the food consumed on the estate is farmed or caught locally, materials used are sustainable wherever possible and guests are encouraged to visit Blackwell’s working farm and spend time with community organisations.
The birthplace of Bond this may be, but there’s no ostentatious showing off here. Instead, much like the chilled reggae sounds that Blackwell is known for, the vibe is all about relaxing in pared-back surroundings and enjoying an authentic island experience with the cheeky addition of an A-lister or two. Sting wrote ‘Every Breath You Take’ here, Jay-Z waxed lyrical about GoldenEye on his official blog and other well-known guests include Grace Jones, Scarlett Johansson, Bono and Johnny Depp. Remember to play it cool if your fellow holidaymakers make you feel like you inadvertently crashed a Grammy Awards party.
Wondering what there is to do aside from Instagram the views and Check In on Facebook? The short answer is, there’s a boat load of stuff to keep you occupied. If you tire of swimming in the turquoise blue private lagoon, complimentary activities at GoldenEye include snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, bird watching, and garden walks. Not to mention the many excursions available outside the estate. The on-site FieldSpa has open-air treatment rooms and the expert therapists utilise healing herbs that are grown at GoldenEye’s own 2,500 acre family farm. You can even paddle-board yourself right up to the entrance of the spa if you fancy, it’s just that kinda place.
Set just steps from the sea, Bizot Bar serves breakfast and lunch options that include authentic Jamaican specialties and good-old international grub. Named after French counter-culture connoisseur, Jean-Francois Bizot, Bizot Bar broadcasts the chilled sounds of Radio Nova all the way from France.
For a sexier scene, built in a hip tree house style, the atmospheric Gazebo lounge and restaurant serves up international dishes and cocktails overlooking both Low Cay beach and the lagoon. Dishes here range from grilled lobster tail to seasoned rack of lamb, complemented with an international wine list. If you’re in the mood for privacy, torch-lit beach BBQs and romantic in-room dining are both options.
Accommodation is spread across 20 cottages and villas. Each one has a private outdoor space, is roomy, decked out with luxe custom furnishings and the jazzy extras that make GoldenEye stand out include a minibar or Smeg fridge stocked with beverages and tasty snacks unique to Jamaica, deep, claw-foot tubs and hand-dyed batik robes in the bathroom, 400-thread count handmade bed linens and a Logitech Squeezebox sound system stocked with a catalogue of Island Records music. The latter should come as no surprise, music runs through the veins of GoldenEye and can be found (if you’re looking) pretty much everywhere.
Book a stay at GoldenEye with Secret Escapes for up to 36% off, kick back by the velvety white beach, pour yourself a Blackwell rum and coke and don’t worry about a thing, ’cause, well, you know how the song goes…