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Be Like Bond, James Bond

Do as Agent 007 would and drive an Aston Martin, skydive sans parachute and sip Vesper martinis at London’s Dukes Hotel.

 

It seems James Bond, like Indiana Jones before him, is the ultimate marketer for travel. Orbitz is running a James Bond travel sweepstakes. Web sites from the most luxe to the most barebones budget travel are exhorting readers to get out there and visit every single location site in the new film, Quantum of Solace.

Problem is, the film features places many people would not want to go in a million years—a slum in Port au Prince, Haiti, and a warren of bars in Bolivia. The only hotel in the film that offers the level of luxury we’re used to seeing in Bond films, the Andean Grand, is really a set on a Panamanian office building.

But all that said, the concept of living, loving and luxuriating like James Bond doesn’t rely on movie set locations. There are plenty of places where you can have authentic James Bond-type experiences without having to go too far from home.

Daredevil Sky Diving

One of the Quantum of Solace moments that travelers can recreate with relative safety is the death-defying “Bond doesn’t have his parachute” moment. This was done 50 minutes outside London at a skydiving wind tunnel called Bodyflight Bedford. You get suited up and dropped into the 26-foot tunnel where wind speeds reach 170 mph—strong enough to ruffle the feathers of the most dapper international spies.

A single lesson offers two flights and costs £39 (US $58). Tel. +44-0-845-200-296, www.bodyflight.co.uk.

Drive Like Bond

No, you don’t have to go to London, Siena or the Atacama desert to drive an Aston Martin. You can rent one right in your own neighborhood from Gotham Dream Cars. With services from Boston to Miami and more planned soon, every Bond-lover can get behind the wheel of the perfect Bond car at least once. Its Aston Martin DB9 Volante goes for $1,250 for a 24-hour period, which is cheaper than a night at a suite in some luxury hotels.

Tel. 212-957-4400, www.gothamdreamcars.com.

If you want to encounter the original James Bond cars, then a visit to the National Motor Museum just outside of London is a must. The museum houses almost all the cars, motorcycles and boats featured in the films, but sorry, you can’t get behind the wheel and drive them home.

Admission includes all Beaulieu grounds: adults £15.50 (US $23), youth 13 to 17 £9.25 (US $14) and children 5 to 12 £8.25 (US $12.33). Tel. +44-0-159-061-288, www.beaulieu.co.uk.

Debonair Dress Suits

Last year’s tux in Casino Royale was famously provided by Brioni. Bond’s suits in Quantum of Solace were made by Tom Ford who dresses Daniel Craig in real life. If you want the tailored look of Bond’s last movie, get to Ford’s new Madison Avenue digs in New York City and start shopping. The ground floor has ready-to-wear three-piece suits from $2,900. Private rooms upstairs are where the bespoke stuff happens. Buy a tie or a bottle of cologne and you may just bump into Mr. Bond himself coming down the ebony staircase.

Tel. 212-359-0300, www.tomford.com.

007 Drinks at Dukes

There are lots of places to get a “Vesper,” the martini Bond invents in Casino Royale to honor his lady love. But none except Dukes Hotel in London can boast the honor of having invented them for Ian Fleming on one of his many outings to Dukes’ bar. You can only have two (house rules) since both the Vesper and the original James Bond Fleming “shaken not stirred” vodka martini would put even more hair on Sean Connery’s chest. The clubby old-school feel of the bar has not changed since Fleming’s day.

Through Dec. 31, Dukes is also offering a Bond About Town special, which includes an overnight stay for two, a wet shave at Truefitt & Hill for him, a Miss Moneypenny manicure or pedicure for her, a Martini master class including a Vesper Martini each and a three-course dinner in the dining room at Dukes, plus full English breakfast all starting at £450 (US $673) for a classic double room.

Rates valid only on Friday and Saturday nights. Tel. +44-0-20-7491-4840, www.dukehotel.com.

Spy Lessons

James Bond has his M and as M knows, all good spies need a little history lesson now and then. In Washington, D.C., it’s at the International Spy Museum, where visitors are given a secret identity and a cover story and asked to participate in a panoply of interactive exhibits, all based on real historical fact, not fiction. Lots of fun Q-like gadgets in the shop, too!

Admission: Adults 12 and over, $18; children to 5 to 17, $15; children under 5, free. Tel. 866-779-6873, www.spymuseum.org.

In London, home of James’s MI6, you can take the Spies and Spycatcher’s Walking Tour offered by London Walks. The tour will take you past the real headquarters of MI6 and tell you the true stories behind real-life spies who inspired Ian Fleming to write James Bond. You’ll also learn a thing or two about Fleming himself and his involvement in the British Secret Service (why do you think he knew so much about spies?).

Cost: £7 (US $10.50) for adults over 16, children 15 and under go free when accompanied by an adult. Tel. +44-020-7624-3978, www.walks.com.


Destinations: New York City, London, Washington

Themes: Luxury Travel

Activities: Arts and Entertainment, Sightseeing, Pubs and Bars


User Comments

Since Kina Lillet isn't made anymore, the best you can do is a variation. Wikipedia has more information. A particularly tasty variant :-) called the "Matin" is at :8080/matin.html

Quantum of Solace Tour of the World In the new flick Bond does more globe-trotting than I can ever remember. Scenes take place in: Sienna, Italy, Tuscany, Bregenze, Austria, Bolivia, Port-au-Prince Haiti, and London. How about a Bond tour where you get to re-trace his steps? 22 different tours for 22 movies!

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