Review of the Golden Eye Luxury Resort in Jamaica, Oracabessa
Our experience at the Golden Eye Resort in Jamaica. A resort like no other filled with a history of celebrities of the Ian Flemming days and music from Ragaee greats like Bob Marley. An ultra-cool luxury resort in Jamaica.
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Staying at The Golden Eye Resort in Jamaica

Golden Eye Resort Jamaica

Staying at The Golden Eye Resort in Jamaica

We stayed at The Golden Eye Resort in Oracabessa, Jamaica for three nights in a wonderful little beach hut.

You know you have discovered something special when you drive through the unpretentious gates of the GoldenEye Resort, tucked off a small road in Oracabessa approx a 2 hours drive from Montego Bay on Jamaica’s northern coast. The enterance is practically unmarked, and if you don’t know the exact location, chances are you would drive right by it.
Sandals and Heels Golden Eye Review
A substantial drive through the back end of the resort brought us to the parking area surrounded by tropical bushes and trees. The Resorts manager was there to greet us with a welcoming smile. We said farewell to our driver Mikey, a gentle man with a warm laugh who ever so graciously played Bob Marley for my daughter for the entire two hours. She was getting ready for Jamaica! Through the bushes and down a stone pathway we entered the ever so cool reception area.

reception area goldenye resort

Check-in took about a minute, they were expecting us and our personal concierge was ready to show us the grounds and escort us to our Beach hut including a nice cocktail on the way at the Shabeen bar which is located right beside the pool and beach huts. There really is anything better than a refreshing gin tonic after reaching a new destination.


Rooms

There is no denying that the goldenEye has a cool vibe – you can feel it all around you. It has an unpretentious and easy going luxury ambiance coupled with a historical past -and we love that! The rich story behind the GoldenEye is felt in small details around the resort from pictures of Hollywood legends and James Bond manuscripts to the Blackwell Rum which is served at the Bizot bar.

When researching where to stay in Jamaica, you will find that there are so many all-inclusive hotels on offer that finding a boutique hotel is rather difficult. Do not be tempted -they will never have the same charm! Guests end up seeing very little of the island because they are in a gated community. Everything is provided except an authentic experience. A long time ago, I was at one of these huge hotels in the Dominican Republic. A 5 star hotel with everything you could wish for – the only problem was, I could have been in any country because I saw nothing from the Dominican and I certainly didn’t need to travel so far to experience a hotel that could have been anywhere in the world. Never again!

Just a bit of history – real quick … I promise!

In 1946, Ian Flemming, author, and creator of the James Bond novels bought 15 acres of this tropical land, designed and built his house with the intention to have a place to write after the blasted war was over. He named it – GoldenEye. Each winter Flemming lived at the GoldenEye for two months and wrote his first James Bond novel, Casino Royal, the first of 13 Bond novels. In 1961 the first James Bond novel was filmed starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress with one of the iconic locations just a short 20 min boat ride from the GoldenEye at Laughing Waters beach. The iconic scene where Ursula Andress emerges from the ocean with her conch shell in hand. The world is introduced to the first Bond girl! It was a thrill that made movie history.
Noël Coward a playwright and close friend of Ian Flemming fell in love with Jamaica after visiting the GoldenEye and decides to build a house nearby. During the glamorous 50’s Jamaica became the place to be for the jet set crowds of Hollywood. Frequent visitors to the GoldenEye and Coward’s home where Hollywood stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Eric Burton, Truman Capote, Errol Flynn among many others that eventually drove Noël Coward to build another home to escape his glamorous guests which he called Firefly located further up the hill. A good friend and Muse of Flemmings was Blanche Blackwell who also owned a house nearby. One can only imagine the glamorous cocktail parties and sunbathing – probably a little à la Hemmingway a few islands over in Havana. Today the property has celebrities such as Grace Jones, Jay-Z, Katherine Zeta-Jones and Kate Moss as regulars.
In 1964 Ian Flemming passed away. When the estate went on the market, Blanche Blackwell asked her son Chris to look into the property which she had so many fond memories of. Chris Blackwell, founder, and producer of Island Records, bought the GoldenEye in 1976. Blackwell is said to be the single most influential person to turn the world onto Reggae. He has produced Music legends such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Grace Jones, U2 and so many others. He never lived on the GoldenEye in the early years but is said to spend six months out of the year there now. Chris Blackwell is now 81 and owns several unique resorts in Jamaica. He runs Island Outpost which he set up to operate unique properties. Another Island Outpost hotel we visited after the Golden Eye is Strawberry Hills which is located in the Blue Mountains approx. a 2 hours drive from towards Kingston.

Restaurants:

There are two restaurants at the resort, the laid back Bizot bar where you can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and the Gazebo, a fine dining option. The Fine Dining, is perhaps a bit over exaggerated. The food is ok – but nothing to swoon over. On the other hand, the laybacked Bizot bar will serve you a wonderful breakfast (which is included) and the a la carte menu with a simple but tasty selection of dishes and lots of Island music all day long.




So what did we do all day?
We went canoeing and paddle boarding by the lagoon which took us to Button Beach where you can enjoy a drink or a small snack. I paddled over to the Field Spa which is a lovely blue cottage right on the lagoon itself. We took a dip in the pool, read our books, went snorkeling at Snorkelers cove and just enjoyed being there.

 

A quick excursion to Mystic Mountain (a one hour drive from the resort, and in my opinion not worth it – though my daughter (13) loved it!) The view from the open seated cable car was worth it! We went so high, I was afraid to move!
We loved our stay and we most definitely want to come back – this time with the entire family and perhaps go for a Lagoon Cottage the next time (images below). The property now has 52 acres – with approx 120 guests at the resort at one time, so still plenty of room to enjoy your privacy or not. I would most definitely recommend this resort in lieu of a huge all inclusive if you want to experience a bit of Jamaica on your holiday.





One Love!

Visit the GoldenEye here
Blog post/images by Simona Isler Sandalsandheels.com

3 Comments
  • Danielle Spindle

    May 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm Reply

    This place looks like a dream! I will definitely consider it for future vacations. I like staying in non-resort type places, and this seems amazing! Like you said, if you stay in a 5 star resort with everything there for you, you could be anywhere. Glad you had such a great time!

  • Amanda Johnson

    May 24, 2018 at 3:24 am Reply

    Wow! It sounds like you really found a gem in Jamaica. I agree with you on the all inclusive as – I had a similar experience in DR and was so disappointed. LOVED reading about the history of the GoldenEye. I’m a sucker for movie history 🙂

  • zvodret iluret

    October 15, 2018 at 7:28 am Reply

    Would love to perpetually get updated great website! .

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