'Ultimate' Bond vacation going for B2.5 million
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'Ultimate' Bond vacation going for B2.5 million

High-end travel firm packages locales and experiences linked with spy film franchise

'Ultimate' Bond vacation going for B2.5 million
Star Daniel Craig attends the world premiere of No Time To Die at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sept 28, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

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.

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