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You know my name. You know how I live. You know I like it shaken, not stirred, along with the finest things in life. I’ve travelled the world and lived the greatest life, because the world is not enough and you only live twice. This is how I live, without restraint, without limits, without spectres. Nobody does it better. So here, for your eyes only, is another way to live.
1. IceQ, Sölden, Austria
As seen in: Spectre (2015)
In a pivotal scene in the latest James Bond film – pivotal because this is where Bond meets the girl (because there is always a girl, Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann) – the master spy heads to the peak of a snowy mountain in search of a doctor. But there is far more than a green digestive enzyme served here. Delicious food and dapper drinks, to be exact. This is IceQ, a gourmet restaurant at the peak of the Sölden ski area in the Austrian Alps. Designed by OMO Obermoser Architekten in Austria, with a spectacular glass front made by GIG, the rigid, reflective wonder offers some piste, quiet, sustenance and après-ski after a rigorous run down slopes of powder snow.
2. ESO Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert, Chile
As seen in: Quantum of Solace (2008)
In the climatic end sequence of Daniel Craig’s second Bond outing, the suave spy and the girl (Olga Kurylenko as Camille Montes) confront a megalomaniac eco-terrorist in an outworldly hotel in an outworldly environment. The building ends up completely destroyed, but it is still there in real life. And ‘outworldly’ is an appropriate word to use, given that it is actually the ESO (European Southern Observatory) Paranal Observatory that scans the skies and galaxies beyond in the name of science. Set in the hostile, Mars-like environment of the Atacama, there is actually a hotel here – the ESO Hotel – but only resident scientists and engineers are allowed to stay. Visitors are received by appointment only, and can only spend the day there. Unless your name is Bond.
3. Hotel New Otani, Tokyo, Japan
As seen in: You Only Live Twice (1967)
Opened in 1964 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics, the Hotel New Otani Tokyo served as the exterior of Osato Chemicals and its 400-year-old gardens as the scene for ninja training in Bond’s first caper in the East. He later heads off to discover a fake volcano with the girl (Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki), but you can still walk in the footsteps of a great at the hotel, one of the gosanke (three great hotels) of Tokyo. Of greats, to be exact; Hotel New Otaki Tokyo is choice of most heads of states visiting the Japanese capital, hosting innumerable international conferences as well over the year.
4. Jökulsárlón, Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
As seen in: A View To A Kill (1985), Die Another Day (2002)
Described as a ‘ghostly procession of luminous blue icebergs’, the Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland. It has appeared in not one, but two James Bonds – A View to A Kill as a proxy for Siberia during the pre-title snowboarding sequence and in Die Another Day as Iceland itself, including the nerve-wrecking car-chase sequence across the surface of the frozen lagoon. Driving an Aston Martin over Jökulsárlón probably isn’t allowed unless you’re Barbara Brocolli or the girl (Halle Berry as Jinx), but you can explore the lagoon by boat or snowmobiles, courtesy of Iceland Luxury Tours
5. Grandhotel Pupp, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
As seen in: Casino Royale (2006)
A return to a more intimate, personal tale after the swashbuckling, outrageous stunts of the Brosnan Bond era, a key scene of Casino Royale takes place at a gambling table. Updated from Bond’s favourite game – baccarat – to the more modern Texas hold ‘em poker, it is a literal face-off between Bond and the villain, Le Chiffre, as the girl (Eva Green as Vesper Lynd) watches. The setting for this high-stakes game is ostensibly in Montenegro, but in reality is Grandhotel Pupp, a luxury hotel in the Czech Republic spa town of Karlovy Vary, a neo-Baroque masterpiece. And yes, you can play a hand of poker, or baccarat, at the adjoining Pupp Casino Club.
6. Taj Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India
As seen in: Octopussy (1983)
Floating serenely like a white Atlantis on Lake Pichola is the headquarters of Octopussy, the titular girl (Maud Adams) of the sixth Roger Moore Bond. Home to the Octopus Cult, the palace usually plays host to glitterati visiting Udaipur in Rajasthan in real life. Built as the winter palace of Maharan Jagat Singh II of the royal dynasty of Mewar on the island of Jag Niwas, the palace was left to decay and crumble before being restored by His Highness Bhagwat Singh and American artist Didi Contractor into an opulent luxury hotel in 1961. As modern as it is, the royal lineage is still retained – the Royal Butlers of the Taj Lake Palace are descendents of the original palace retainers.
7. The Bahamas
As seen in: Thunderball (1965), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Licence to Kill (1989), Casino Royale (2006)
James Bond is intimately connected to the Caribbean; Ian Fleming conceived and wrote of his enduring character at the estate of Goldeneye in Oracabessa, Jamaica and Bond himself has capered many a time through the West Indies, most notably in the Bahamas. A sneak peak in Timothy Dalton’s Licence to Kill and then full-fledged features as the setting for most of Thunderball and the underwater scenes (including that diving car) in The Spy Who Loved Me. And most recently, The One and Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, where Daniel Craig does what Bond does best and seduces the girl (Caterina Murino as Solange) in the property’s Ocean Club sea-view villa.