Goldeneye (estate)

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For other uses, see Goldeneye (disambiguation).

Goldeneye is the original name of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming's estate on Oracabessa bay on the northern coastline of Jamaica. He purchased land (15 acres (61,000 m2)) adjacent to the renowned Golden Clouds estate in 1946 and built his home on the edge of a cliff overlooking a private beach.

GoldeneyeEstate.jpg

Constructed from Fleming's sketch, the modest three bedroom structure was fitted with wooden jalousie windows and a swimming pool.[1] Fleming's visitors at Goldeneye included actors, musicians and filmmakers.[2] The property now operates as Goldeneye Hotel and Resort, an upmarket retreat consisting of Fleming's main house and several cottages.

The estate is located in the Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary, established in 2011 to protect the area's marine ecosystem.[3] It is adjacent to James Bond Beach.

History[edit]

The land is on the site of a former donkey racetrack. The home was built on a cliff overlooking a private beach based on a sketch by the author and stressed such simple features as glassless windows.

In spite of its obvious proximity to Golden Cloud, Fleming claimed a number of origins for the name Goldeneye, including Carson McCullers's 1941 novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye and Operation Goldeneye, a Second World War era contingency plan Fleming had developed in case of a Nazi invasion of Gibraltar through Spain.[4]

Fleming joined The Sunday Times in 1946, for which he oversaw the paper's worldwide network of correspondents. He negotiated a contract whereby he could spend January and February of each year at Goldeneye. On 17 February 1952 James Bond appeared in the first Bond novel, Casino Royale.[5] For the next twelve years, Fleming wrote all his Bond stories there.[6]

A number of the Bond movies, including Dr. No and Live and Let Die, were filmed near the estate.[7] In 1956 British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and his wife Clarissa spent a month at Goldeneye after Eden's health collapsed in the wake of the Suez Crisis. The attendant publicity helped to boost Fleming's writing career.

In 1976, twelve years after Ian Fleming's death, the property was sold to reggae musician Bob Marley. A year later he sold the estate to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.[8] In 1995 GoldenEye became the title of the seventeenth James Bond film, the first to star Pierce Brosnan. Blackwell gradually added 25 acres (100,000 m2) in small parcels to the original estate to reach a current total of 40 acres (160,000 m2). As it grew, he also added various cottages and huts around an inner lagoon sandwiched between James Bond Beach and Low Cay Beach. In the late 1980s, he formed the Island Outpost Company and opened the property as a small hotel.

Hotel and Resort[edit]

Goldeneye Hotel
Goldeneye resort logo.jpg
Goldeneye (estate) is located in Jamaica
Goldeneye (estate)
Location within Jamaica
General information
Location Oracabessa
Coordinates 18°24′37″N 76°56′37″W / 18.410406°N 76.9436502°W / 18.410406; -76.9436502Coordinates: 18°24′37″N 76°56′37″W / 18.410406°N 76.9436502°W / 18.410406; -76.9436502
Owner Chris Blackwell
Management Island Outpost
Website
www.goldeneye.com

Rather than a traditional hotel, Goldeneye resort is a compound of tropical buildings, gardens and private beaches. It closed in 2007 for major additions and renovations, and reopened in December 2010.

Guests[edit]

Fleming's Goldeneye became the social epicenter of Jamaica's north coast along with nearby Firefly owned by Noël Coward, and Bolt House, owned by Chris Blackwell's mother, Blanche, who was a long time friend of Fleming. The property was equally popular with a coterie of Hollywood stars and British literary greats as it was British aristocrats and international heads of state. Errol Flynn, Lucian Freud, Truman Capote, Patrick Leigh Fermor, the Duchess of Devonshire, Princess Margaret, and Prime Minister Anthony Eden were all visitors. Eden even made the property the temporary Headquarters for the British government during the Suez Crisis of 1956.

The Goldeneye of the Blackwell era has also attracted celebrities, both as his friends and resort guests. Among them Bono, Naomi Campbell, Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Harrison Ford, and Richard Branson.

Garden[edit]

A tradition, which was started by Sir Anthony Eden when he and his wife, Clarissa, planted a Santa Maria tree before departing from Goldeneye, is still ongoing. Today, there are hundreds of mango, lime, orange and ackee trees in the garden. Each was planted by a guest, has a small plaque saying who planted it and when. A $1000 donation required goes to the Oracabessa Foundation.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Description of house
  2. ^ [2] Fleming's celebrity guests
  3. ^ "Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary". Oracabessa Foundation. 
  4. ^ "The man behind Bond". BBC News. 1999-11-19. 
  5. ^ [Fleming, Jamaica (1946 - 1964) | http://www.ianfleming.com/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=219]
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Matthew J. (1993-11-30). "James Bond created at Jamaica retreat". The Miami Herald. p. 5A. 
  7. ^ "Jamaican retreat getting a facelift". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-02-14. 
  8. ^ "Jamaica's Goldeneye to target residential tourists". USA Today. 2007-02-06. 

External links[edit]