James Bond is back! In the 25th film in this franchise, “No Time To Die,” Daniel Craig takes his fifth and final turn as secret agent 007.
As fans flock to theaters (us included), we thought it’s fitting to take stock of the ingredients that make a great Bond film. Evil villain? Check. Brilliant and beautiful women? Check. Fantastical gadgets and fabulous fast cars? Check.
Yet let’s not forget one easily overlooked but shining star in these films: the breathtaking properties where all the action unfolds.
Without fail, Bond films always happen in gorgeous places, from sweeping Italian villas to brutalist bunkers. And while the location of many of these properties is a mystery, with some sleuthing we were able to find seven around the globe. Many, not surprisingly, have since been turned into luxury foreign hotels; but one residence is much closer to home (California no less!).
As Bond says in the film trailer: “The past is not dead.” So cue the theme music, check the Walther PPK, and let’s take a trip down memory lane to tour some show-stopping 007 properties.
‘Diamonds Are Forever’: Elrod House, Palm Springs, CA
Featured in 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” the Elrod House is a spectacularly modern property in Palm Springs, CA, perched on a hillside that overlooks the Coachella Valley. The home—complete with a dome-shaped concrete roof—was designed by renowned modern architect John Lautner for interior designer Arthur Elrod.
The circular living room and half-moon swimming pool of the 1969 home played a memorable part as the backdrop to the notorious fight scene between Sean Connery‘s Bond and two bikini-clad baddies named Bambi and Thumper. (Repeat: This was 1971.) Naturally, the fight ended when Bond threw his female adversaries into the deep end.
No one will fess up to owning the home now, although rumor has it that fashion designer Jeremy Scott now lounges on the deck.
‘Thunderball’: Chateau d’Anet, France
Sure, a major part of 1965’s “Thunderball” takes place on a ship known as the Disco Volante. However, there is also a rather stunning scene set against this magnificent chateau.
Agent 007, once again played by Connery, pursues a bad guy—SPECTRE operative Col. Jacques Bouvar. When Bouvar tries to escape, Bond pursues him by donning a jetpack (of course!) that has him flying over and around this chateau’s extensive grounds.
Today, this estate, which King Henri II built in 1548 for his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, is a major tourist attraction.
‘For Your Eyes Only’: Villa Sylva, Greece
Now a vacation rental in Corfu, Greece, Villa Sylva’s pool and luxurious gardens were seen on the silver screen in 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only.” Roger Moore took up the 007 mantle and fought his way out of the villa (standing in for a Madrid location) using an umbrella outfitted with spikes.
Excellent work, Mr. Bond.
‘License to Kill’: Villa Arabesque, Mexico
The 16th Bond film, “License to Kill,” starred Timothy Dalton at the resort Villa Arabesque. In this film’s Bond-gets-away sequence, 007 jumps over the hotel’s balcony and lands in a pool below.
Located in Acapulco Bay, the hotel retains the exact Moorish-Mediterranean design seen in the film. And when you find yourself at the bar overlooking the water, you know what to order—be it shaken or stirred.
‘Casino Royale’: The Ocean Club, Bahamas
We first met Craig as the new Bond in “Casino Royale” (2006), famously strutting out of this hotel’s clear water in skimpy blue swim trunks. Later, there’s a romantic scene that takes place in one of the Ocean Club’s sea-view villas involving Champagne, beluga caviar, and an enemy’s girlfriend.
Intrigued? Bond’s villa is available for rent.
‘Quantum of Solace’: Villa Le Torre, Italy
Craig’s second turn as Bond in 2008’s “Quantum of Solace” took the spy to six countries. In Italy, Bond approached this villa in a speed boat to visit his old friend René Mathis, portrayed by Giancarlo Giannini. And like most friendly chats, there’s talk of an unsanctioned mission.
If you have some spycraft that needs discussing, you can rent this eight-bedroom villa complete with an in-ground pool, beach views, and concierge service.
Bonus: The home where Ian Fleming once lived
This lavish bungalow above isn’t a Bond film locale, but is a home that the Bond films made famous nonetheless. Why? Because for 18 years, it served as the home of none other than 007 creator Ian Fleming, who wrote three Bond books while in residence.
Fleming actually built this place and eventually sold it, at which point it was turned into (you guessed it) a hotel. In fact, the hotel is named GoldenEye, in honor of the Bond movie.
Plus, tiny spoiler alert: The 25th Bond film begins in Port Antonio, Jamaica, too. But where? We guess you’ll have to see the movie to find out.