Goldeneye is a secluded, very private hotel about 30 minutes from Ocho Rios. It is a former residence of Ian Fleming and the hotel fully capitalizes on the James Bond fame - memorabilia is everywhere. We visited over the long weekend in February.
Pros: Despite the hotel being fully booked, you see very few guests. It is designed with privacy in mind, most villas are secluded, and if you don't wish to see anyone, you can almost get your wish. The staff is very friendly. The place has been recently re-opened with a few new villas, and they are very eager to make the right impression. Villas are very well designed, even with fully equipped kitchens (God knows why, there is not a grocery store in the vicinity!).
Cons: 1) There is very little to do (although this can also be a "pro"). Water sports are limited to jet skis, canoes and snorkeling. The surf around the reef is pretty rough, so snorkeling is problematic. No gym (although plenty of expansion space around the hotel, so hopefully they'll figure it out). 2) The place is pretty secluded, so no dining options outside of the hotel's two restaurants. The main kitchen is very competent, but you can eat off of the same menu only so many times... 3) The pools are very poorly designed - they are beautiful to look at, but not a single guest inside during our entire visit. They are very small, shallow and cold (!). Given that the ocean was not that warm either, swimming options were quite limited. 4) Great but not practical design everywhere. E.g. they have an island with beach chairs which can be reached by wading waist-deep for about 10 yards. Good looking place, but completely unused: why go there if you can stay on the beach? It would have been much better if they build a small footbridge and had something other than just the chairs (bar? dinners?) there. Also, what's up with the outdoor shower (there is an indoor tub but no shower). If it's raining or cold, not a very pleasant process. 5) Serving staff is almost too friendly (everyone insists on asking you for your first name every chance they get), but not too competent. A waiter should know the specials half way into the evening's service and not say "Let me go to the kitchen and ask". It shouldn't take an hour to get an extra
bottle of shampoo in the room. And if you have a sign "bathrobes are for sale", you should actually be able to sell them and not direct one to a website which doesn't sell the product either.
Summary: It's a stunning looking place with quite a few shortcomings, considering the price tag. If you plan a short getaway where privacy and relaxation are the main goals, this is a good option. Get a lagoon villa, they offer better privacy and your own access to a huge pool-like lagoon good for swimming. Since there is so little to do, it's a good place to concentrate on each other (if you go as a couple). Hopefully they will get their act together soon to live up to their Conde Nast glowing review!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- GoldenEye was Ian Fleming's Jamaica retreat and where he wrote all 14 of the James Bond novels. Today, accommodations at the original resort include: The Ian Fleming Villa, 11 one and two-bedroom Beach and Lagoon Villas, six Lagoon Cottages, and one Ocean Front Villa. Located on a stunning 52-acre site, GoldenEye is home to secret coves, breathtaking private beaches, tropical forests, and a seawater lagoon. The property is also home to the FieldSpa and two restaurants - Bizot Bar (a beach bistro) and The Gazebo (finer dining). GoldenEye is located 20 minutes east of Ocho Rios. It is a 90-minute drive from Montego Bay Airport and an 8-minute drive from Ian Fleming International Airport (private aviation). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Goldeneye Hotel Oracabessa
- Goldeneye Hotel Ocho Rios
- Goldeneye Resort Ocho Rios
- Goldeneye Resort Jamaica/Oracabessa