LAID-BACK LUXURY AND LEGENDARY GLAMOUR ON JAMAICA’S NORTH COAST
has been the lowkey hub of cool since James Bond author Ian Fleming first built the lush estate in the town of Oracabessa on Jamaica’s North coast in the 1950s. For decades, this hideaway played host to the glitterati and literati – writers, musicians and heads of state. Now owned by Jamaica-raised Chris Blackwell, the visionary entrepreneur and founder of Island Records, GoldenEye opened to guests in November 2010. Through careful preservation and a discerning approach to completing the retreat, Blackwell has ensured that the relaxed allure of Ian Fleming’s GoldenEye endures. Set along the pristine coast, among lush tropical gardens and around the calm waters of the property’s lagoon and secluded beaches, the 52-acre estate now encompasses 45 units – 9 Beach Villas, two Lagoon Villas, six Lagoon Cottages, 26 Beach Huts, one Ocean Front Villa and The Fleming Villa. Guests can book Fleming’s own private two-bedroom villa -- with three guest villas - where his writing desk still stands just as he left it.
On arrival at GoldenEye, guests are driven along a winding gravel driveway, planted on either side with groves of indigenous trees donated by past guests like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Jude Law, Willie Nelson and Martha Stewart. Those staying at the Fleming Villa will continue along the driveway to the right, past the decades-old stand of intertwined fig trees to where the iconic home sits at the cliff ’s edge. The Fleming Villa accommodates groups of up to 10 guests, with the original three-bedroom home, which features an open-plan living and dining area, plus two new poolside cottages. Fleming’s private swimming pool, media room and bar, and sunken garden round out GoldenEye’s top villa, along with direct access to the private Fleming Beach below.
Guests staying in a Lagoon Cottage or one of the Lagoon or Beach Villas make a left on arrival and pass through the open-air Fleming Room – a library and games lounge – before crossing the bridge over the hotel’s private lagoon to the beach and lagoon villas and cottages. Ann Hodges, Jamaica’s leading architect, and renowned interior designer Barbara Hulanicki were called upon to design and decorate the new accommodations to perfectly blend with the property’s existing footprint. The Lagoon Cottages appear to float on the lagoon and offer lagoon access from private docks while Lagoon Villas feature outdoor patios that lead to the lagoon’s edge. The barefoot-chic Beach Villas are situated on Low Cay Beach and open directly onto the white sand. All villas feature a living room and fully-equipped kitchen with Italian upmarket Smeg appliances. Both villas and cottages have entirely private gardens with outdoor showers.
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