LONDON: What would a dream vacation for a James Bond superfan look like? Skiing down the mountain location of the iconic chase scene in Spectre? Sipping ice-cold martinis (shaken, not stirred, obviously) in London?
How about a private training session with Daniel Craig’s stunt double, or seeing the sights of Monaco’s Cote d’Azur on a yacht with actor Carole Ashby (Octopussy, A View to a Kill)? Driving an Aston Martin with a Bond special-effects supervisor?
That cinematic dream vacation can be purchased thanks a new partnership between the luxury travel firm Black Tomato and the 007 production company Eon.
Only 60 spots are available. Five-night trips begin at £15,000 per person. Or for £60,000 ($74,000 or 2.54 million baht) you can take a 12-night journey called "The Assignment" — a glamorous jet around Bond locations in Europe, including London, Paris, Monaco, Lake Como, Venice and the Austrian Alps. Around 30% of spaces have been sold already, according to Black Tomato.
The trip is the culmination of a years-long effort in close collaboration with Eon, involving everyone from actors, stunt people, producers, location coordinators and Bond archivists, Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant said.
Black Tomato obsessed over every detail, down to what Bond eats (Beluga caviar, stone crab, steak Diane) and drinks (martinis, but also a lot of Bollinger champagne) to create bespoke dinners.
The company also set up access to filming locations — private entry to the ski area made famous in Spectre — and arranged for interactions with actors, such as a game of poker with Andreas Daniel who played the dealer in that high-stakes game in Casino Royale.
Marchant has a track record of bringing beloved literary and cinematic franchises to life through travel; Eon approached him for this project, he says, because of his company’s success recreating the journeys of Agatha Christie.
“What we’re doing is bringing proximity to 007 in a way that hasn’t been done before,” Marchant says.
The first trips start in London and can include a chase down the Thames in the original Superhawk 34 from The World is Not Enough. Customers can be chauffeured in a Jaguar with location manger Ali James, who can point out filming locations and share her stories from sets, capped off with a martini from Duke’s Bar in Mayfair.
At a launch party for the experiences at the Corinthia London, I got a small taste of that adventure for myself. I sat in a tricked-out Aston Martin, complete with spygear-like ejector buttons, before speaking to Chris Corbould, the special-effects supervisor on eight Bond films.
He demonstrated how he sank a Venetian building in Casino Royale. It involved scale miniature models, huge tanks of water and rigs in Pinewood studios. He says Eva Green was a pro in her watery death scene and had nothing but effusive praise for Daniel Craig.
Corbould can join on Aston Martin driving experiences to talk blockbuster special effects or on a helicopter tour above the Alpine resorts filmed in Spectre. Less adventurous guests can meet him for lunch at the restaurant ice Q that served as trhe clinic of Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) in the film.
It’s the closest fans can get to the secret agent without heading to a film set or joining up to His Majesty’s Secret Service — thankfully without a cast of Bond villains hot on their heels.