There are few moments in film as memorable as Ursula Andress emerging guilelessly from the sea in Dr No. Her combination of raw beauty, innocence and unpredictability immediately attracts James Bond, and male members of the audience have been dreaming of that Jamaican beach ever since. Fleming fell in love with the island as a Naval Intelligence officer in the Second World War. After the war ended, he bought a beachfront property there, which he named Goldeneye after one of his top-secret wartime missions.
Subsequently purchased by Chris Blackwell, Jamaican entrepreneur and founder of Island Records, the Fleming villa at Goldeneye remains almost as it was in the author’s time. In the simple three-building bungalow complex with unglazed windows, Fleming’s writing desk still sits in his bedroom by a huge window overlooking the Caribbean sea, and pictures painted by Noël Coward, his friend and neighbour, hang on the walls.
Happily, the villa is not a museum, but the jewel in the crown of Goldeneye (above), a luxury but low-key retreat of 21 properties. There’s a beach bar, a restaurant, a water-sports centre and spa-all a barefoot stroll away along the beach. Completely refurbished and reopened in December 2010, the villas are all available to rent or buy (the Fleming house is rented out, but isn’t for sale), and are built beautifully. The large, open-plan houses sit either on the beach or facing the tranquil lagoon, are furnished with locally made pieces and come with outdoor rainforest showers, hammocks, private decks, and state-of-the-art TV and music systems.
Prices start at $1.25 million through Goldeneye (00 1 876 622 9007; www.goldeneye.com).
Jason Callender, the vice-president of The Albany development on the south-western tip of New Providence in the Bahamas, was in the right place at the right time when the Casino Royale team approached him and asked whether it would be possible for them to use its beach as the
backdrop to the now-iconic scene when Daniel Craig, echoing Ursula Andress in 1962, emerges from the sea in his teensy blue swimming trunks. ‘They’d looked at a number of other locations, but this was the only place with the perfect property-Albany House-right on the perfect beach, with the clearest blue water they could find anywhere,’ he explains.
Afterwards, work on The Albany began in earnest and now, although there are private residences (left)and a marina as well as formal and informal restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, a beach bar, a spa and fitness centre and a kids’ club, the setting remains as idyllic as the day the film was shot.
Beach-walk lots at The Albany start at $1.5 million, and marina residences are priced from $3 million through Savills (020-7016 3740) and Knight Frank (020-7629 8171)
Mamma Mia! and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the 2001 film starring Nicholas Cage, made filmgoers fall hard for the ravishing scenery of Kefalonia. Katerina Katopis from the Porto Heli development on the shores of the Peloponnese remembers tourism increasing directly as a result of the film, and even more so after the release of Mamma Mia! in 2008.
‘I have many friends with hotels-they all reported an increase in visitors after both films, and business is still going strong,’ she says. ‘Personally, I can see how exposure to these different environments can inspire people to travel, and, in addition, the way the media reacts is also a factor.
The release of Mamma Mia! inspired many international publications to feature Skopelos and the other Northern Sporades islands, for instance.’ Porto Heli boasts an Aman hotel, a Chedi hotel and a development of just 11 exclusive seafront villas.
For details, telephone 00 30 210 3614255 or visit www.portohelicollection.com.
The beauty of Lake Como has always drawn the well-heeled to its shores-Villa Erba, which featured in Ocean’s Twelve as the lakeside residence of Vincent Cassell, was once the holiday home of Luchino Visconti’s family.
George Clooney has also owned a palatial villa on the water for 10 years, and although exposure through films helps the destination’s reputation, it’s Mr Clooney’s presence that has had the most notable effect. One of the most common searches on Google for Lake Como is now apparently ‘George Clooney Lake Como house’.
Eugenio Greco from Hamptons International, Italy says: ‘The kudos of well-known films has helped keep property prices stable during the downturn. New-build apartments can be purchased for €250,000-ideal for those looking for a star-studded location at a fraction of the price.’
The property next door to Mr Clooney’s villa is now for sale. Five-bedroom Villa Laglio (above) is priced at €2.7 million on a 35-year lease through Savills (020-7016 3740; www.savills.com).
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Pirates of the Caribbean
One of the most profitable film franchises in recent history has resulted in a huge swell of interest in a lesser-known corner of the Caribbean. St Vincent and the Grenadines was the setting for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films, which have now grossed more than $3.7 billion, showcasing the breathtaking natural beauty of the islands to a whole new audience.
The harbour of ‘Port Royal’ was built at Wallilabou Bay on St Vincent, the small-town set was at Chateaubelair and Petite Tabac became the deserted isle where Capt Jack Sparrow is abandoned. Bequia is one of the larger Grenadine islands, where Knight Frank has a newly constructed private villa (right) with three acres of gardens and views out over Hope Bay, a secluded and exclusive part of the island on the market for $7.5 million (020-7629 8171).
With direct beach access, the property has a great lodge that’s ideal for entertaining, a master lodge, family lodge and two guest lodges. ‘People fall in love with the scenery in the Grenadines, and it’s no surprise the “Pirates” films have brought them even more attention. The landscape is dramatic, but it’s peaceful out here,’ explains Christian de Meillac from Knight Frank. ‘We like to think that the films add to the overall appeal of the area.’
The Luberon, France
A Good Year
A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle’s 1989 bestseller, inspired some readers to follow his lead and move to the area, but it was nearly 20 years later, in 2006, when Ridley Scott’s A Good Year (top), starring Russell Crowe, was released, that the Luberon was introduced to a global audience. Christine Conrad from Valancogne & Partners says it opened up the area to American buyers. ‘Of course, we have always had a very strong expatriate English population,’ she explains, ‘but I’ve had people coming in wanting to know where some of the scenes were filmed.’
Those who buy in the Luberon love all the elements that were such integral parts of A Good Year: the dramatic landscapes, the local markets and the vineyards. Just five minutes from Bonnieux, this magnificent, 18th-century bastide (above) offers more than 200sq m of living space.
It’s available for €2.2 million through Valancogne & Partners (00 33 4 32 52 05 10).