MI6 visits the home of Ian Fleming with best selling James Bond author Lee Pfeiffer...

Goldeneye - Literary (3)
31st August 2006

A View To A Thrill: A Visit To The Birthplace Of James Bond
By Lee Pfeiffer

Tenants at Goldeneye can chose to have their meals served within the house (the place has a very large kitchen where the staff can prepare the food on-site). The more popular alternative is to take your meals at the nearby gazebo overlooking a canal on one side and the ocean on the other. Here guests can mingle with others who are staying on the grounds in separate cottages. Although each of the houses is only a short walking distance from the other, the property has been designed to insure as much privacy as one would like. None of the houses are visible from the other. However, if there is one “Bonding” experience that brings people together socially, it’s the realization of how privileged one is to be at Goldeneye.

Above: A warm welcome awaits the guests of Goldeneye

During my stay, there were only two other couples on the premises (not surprisingly, both were honeymooning). Having found we all shared the same warped sense of humor, we dined together frequently. The small gazebo, where Fleming often entertained friends, boasts a fully stocked bar along with a charismatic bartender who specializes in providing his own unique invention: the Goldeneye frozen cocktail. I confess to forgetting the precise ingredients, possibly as a side effect of ingesting a few too many of these irresistible concoctions. The fact that a stay at Goldeneye includes unlimited liquor does not encourage temperance. Three meals a day are served to guests and although the chef has suggested entrees, upon request virtually anything can be prepared. Not surprisingly, the menu favors local delicacies with an emphasis on fish and jerk chicken. In keeping with the surroundings, the dishes are prepared with elegant flourishes and served by the most hospitable and friendly staff imaginable.

Above: Goldeneye's lounge

The property has many other charming aspects, not the least of which is a private island that sits across the canal. One can literally swim to the other side in about two minutes, but why bother when there is a glass bottom boat at your disposal to transport you? The small craft deposited us on a stunning beachfront where the largest crowd we encountered was one of the honeymooning couples. The island provides the amenities of beach chairs and floats and the crystal clear, tranquil waters act like a siren beckoning you into the water. When one has enough sun, the operator of the glass bottom boat will be happy to take you out to sea and give you a tour of the surrounding properties. (Chris Blackwell, who saved the property from a state of disrepair by purchasing it in 1977 also owns much of the surrounding acreage and is planning a major resort to be built adjacent to the Goldeneye property.) A walk around the lush, tropical grounds allows one to see the other villas on premises where one can choose to vacation. One of the most picturesque is the Royal Palm, known by the locals as model Naomi Campbell’s home away from home. This modest but charming cottage sits right on a lagoon and one can step from the front porch into a boat to paddle to various points on the island. The resort boasts three other equally charming chateaus of varying sizes, each named after a Bond heroine. Each of these houses has a unique personality and attributes.

Above: The interior of Goldeneye

When night falls, Goldeneye takes on a very special charm. The house is happily devoid of a TV, though one could retire to the screening room and watch programs on the giant screen. Pity those who do, however, because they will miss the intimacy of the evening atmosphere. A breeze once known by locals as “The Undertaker’s Wind” envelopes the coast, blowing soothingly and reliably through the open jalousies of the spacious windows. At such a moment, there is nothing more satisfying than to simply sit and listen to the sounds of the night. The crickets and other tropical mainstays serenade the inhabitants of the house, allowing you to fully appreciate how magnificent this place really is.

An evening skinny dip in the swimming pool is a rite of passage for seemingly every inhabitant, as is a soothing nightcap just before bed. As evening settles in, there are few pleasures as soothing as reposing in the Fleming bedroom and being casually lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of the evening. One’s initial instinct is to fight the onslaught of sleep- after all every conscious moment is a precious one in such an environment. However, inevitably you succumb to the pure sense of relaxation and drift off under the watchful eye of Commander Fleming, whose photo provides a constant reminder of the sense of literary history this house has seen.

Ian Fleming passed away in 1964 at age 56- his early death undoubtedly hastened by the larger-than-life habits he prided himself on keeping. Among them: smoking and drinking liberally and any numbers of affairs with the types of women who would feel at home in a Bond novel. He once professed that he would not waste the remainder of his days trying to prolong them. “I will use my time”, he vowed. It was a promise he kept.

Although Fleming is inextricably linked with British culture and the post-war London literary scene, it was undeniably in Jamaica that he felt most at home. Here, he gave birth to a legend named James Bond and in doing so gained an unsought legacy as a legend himself. In a world in which class, dignity and style are in short supply, one would think that Fleming would take great satisfaction in the fact that on the north shore of Jamaica, those traits are still alive and well. They exist- indeed they thrive- in a place of elegance where time has seemingly stood still. A place known as Goldeneye.

Above: Lee Pfeiffer stands by Fleming's desk


Island Outpost - Goldeneye

Goldeneye is nestled among tropical forests and lush gardens on a seaside bluff overlooking the Caribbean where you can put a little distance between yourself and the rest of the world. Our lifestyle is pure Jamaican in rhythm and tempo, "easy". We offer you a window to local culture and a different way of living.

Goldeneye is also historic. This is where Ian Fleming crafted all his James Bond novels. What Fleming loved most about Goldeneye was the out of doors, nature, the sounds and colors, the peace and drama of living by the sea. He delighted in "the blazing sunshine, natural beauty and the most healthy life I could live."

Courtsey of Lee Pfeiffer and Island Outpost

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