London, 007 Style
BY Matthew Link
November 13 2008 1:00 AM ET
Bond has firmly
swashbuckled into the 21st century in the form of hunky
Daniel Craig (the best-built Bond to date, it must be said),
who is bursting onto screens in the brand-new
Quantum of Solace this Friday. The randy
and decidedly metrosexual 007 (who loves labels and
looking like he just strolled off a catwalk) has long
been an inspiration for gay men the world over. Although
he's better known as a global jet-setter,
James’s hometown of London holds many of the
keys to his persona -- it's where he dressed, ate, slept,
and had his hair done. Here’s your chance to
swagger in his footsteps and imagine your travels are
on Her Majesty’s Secret Service expense account
One of the best
hotels in London and one that happens to have a strong
Bond tie-in is Duke’s (St. James’s Place,
+44-20-7491-4840, www.dukeshotel.com), a
five-star boutique hotel that has a long history of
putting up noble visitors to Buckingham Palace nearby.
With 90 rooms and an Old World English feel, it’s
tucked away on a quiet alleyway in the exclusive
Mayfair district. Bond creator Ian Fleming, a frequent
visitor to Duke’s (he was a member of the
gentlemen’s Carlton Club nearby), is said to
have invented his shaken, not stirred vodka martini in
the hotel’s exclusive bar (dress code required, of
Craig would probably be checking into the sleek and hip
Mayfair Hotel (Stratton Street, +44-20-7629-7777, www.radissonedwardian.com/londonuk_mayfair).
This ultrasophisticated property is decorated with Buddha
motifs, and its luxury spa is a rare treat in London.
The shiny, seen-and-be-seen windowed bar is
unbelievable, with gourmet food and specialty drink
parings. Cher even stayed here for a couple weeks --
how’s that for a gay stamp of approval?
This lavish Ritz
(150 Piccadilly, +44-20-7493-8181, www.theritzhotel.co.uk)
is the quintessential Bondian hotel. Bond set up
temporary residence here in the novels Diamonds Are
Forever and The Man With the Golden Gun, and he
preferred the suites overlooking Green Park. Ian
Fleming frequently dined at the hotel’s posh
restaurant, one of his favorites. The Ritz has undergone
nearly $93 million in renovations, restoring the
architecture and even the fabrics to their original
luxurious Louis XVI style. Make like James and enjoy
the Champagne Afternoon Tea service at 7:30 nightly (formal
jacket and tie required).
Seeing the Sites
The Imperial War
Museum (Lambeth Road, +44-20-7416-5000, www.iwm.org.uk) is an
ubermasculine venue with guns, planes, and tanks, but don
your tux for a stroll through the current “For
Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond”
exhibit, chronicling the birth of 007, Fleming’s war
years, and cool items like paperback covers and
official movie props, including an underwater
mobile from Thunderball and Halle Berry’s
tangerine bikini from Die Another Day.
Bond (in the form
of Pierce Brosnan) engages in a no-holds-barred fencing
match in Die Another Day, nearly destroying the
club Blades in the process. (You probably remember the scene
mostly for the wooden cameo appearance by a
leather-clad Madonna.) It was actually shot at a
historic gentlemen’s club, the sumptuous Reform Club
(104 Pall Mall, +44-20-7930-9374, www.reformclub.com),
founded in 1836. You needn’t even know a member
to gaze on the grand interiors -- the club offers free
tour appointments to visitors on weekday mornings.
Where else would
007 attend an auction but New Bond Street? That’s the
address of Sotheby’s Auction House (34-35 New Bond
St., +44-20-7293-5000, www.sothebys.com), where
Bond scrutinizes suspicious bidding over a
Fabergé egg by Russian spies in the short story
The Property of a Lady -- a scene re-created
for the film Octopussy with Roger Moore.
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