10 Hotels Where You Can Live Like James Bond


Spectre, the 24th installment in the James Bond franchise, hit theaters this weekend, which means that bartenders around the world are going to have to deal with an onslaught of requests for shaken martinis. While it's unlikely that you'd ever have the superspy skills or high-tech gadgetry to compete with 007, you can try to match his passport game. To get you started, here are some of the secret agent's favorite hotels around the world, as seen on the silver screen.


In the opening scene of 2012's Skyfall (seen above), Bond takes a dip in a pool that is supposed to be located at a hotel in Shanghai. In reality, he's paddling high above the Thames. And while the real pool offers amazing aerial views of London, the filmmakers had to black out the windows in order to keep up the China illusion. Bond's steamy shower scene with Severine (Bérénice Marlohe) was reportedly shot in room 712 of the hotel, so keep that in mind when making a reservation.


Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Opened in 1954, Miami Beach's historic Fontainebleau is one of the most memorable hotels used throughout the Bond film franchise; it’s shown immediately following the opening credits of Goldfinger (1964), and is also where the titular villain (Auric Goldfinger) passes the time cheating at cards. In the film, Goldfinger's assistant/Bond Girl Jill Masterson is found dead (and covered in gold paint) in one of the hotel’s rooms, but only the aerial shots were actually filmed there; parts of the hotel were recreated at Pinewood Studios in England. Other films that have cast the luxury resort as a character include The Bodyguard (1992) and Scarface (1983).


One&Only Ocean Club

The bulk of Casino Royale (2006) takes place at this Paradise Island resort: Bond walks through the reception area and gardens and plays poker in the Library. The lobby of the club was transformed into a set for the film, and according to the BBC, guests can stay in Bond’s room (Villa 1085), which comes with round-the-clock butler service. Dune, the hotel's oceanfront Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant and bar, pays tribute to its Bond link with a Casino Royale martini (a simple mix of Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Lillet Blanc, and lemon).


By Hochgeladen am 30. Juli 2007 von Petra Kohlstädt [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pierce Brosnan (as Bond) get a bird's-eye view of Hamburg, Germany in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) as he climbs his way to the globe that famously adorns the rooftop of the Hotel Atlantic Kempinksi. The façade of the building, which was built in 1909, also appears throughout the film, as it was Bond's hotel of choice; conveniently, it was Brosnan's hotel while filming, too.


Couples Sans Souci

Jamaica was a recurring destination for Bond during the 1960s and 1970s. What is now the Couples Sans Souci resort was used as a location in three Bond movies: Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), and Live and Let Die (1973). Bond's connection to the famed Caribbean island is hardly coincidental: Ian Fleming penned all of the Bond novels in Jamaica, where he owned 15 acres of land that he dubbed GoldenEye. Today that area is its own hotel (still called GoldenEye) where guests can stay in Fleming's own villa.


The Peninsula Hong Kong

In The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Roger Moore follows Bond Girl Andrea Anders to Hong Kong, where she’s picked up by one of the Peninsula Hong Kong's iconic “Peninsula green” Rolls-Royce Phantoms. Founded in 1928, the five-star Peninsula Hotel group is based in China but now has 10 locations around the world with others under construction. The exterior of The Peninsula Hong Kong appears throughout the movie, and the cast and crew were lucky enough to stay there during filming.


Belmond Hotel Cipriani/Facebook

In Casino Royale (2006), Bond docks his yacht at the private marina of this Venice hotel (the only way guests can arrive), offering an amazing shot of the Venetian island palace’s exterior. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hotel has appeared on a few “Most Expensive” lists, with suites starting around $1200 per night. The cast and crew stayed here during filming (and George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin were spotted here during their wedding weekend).


Hotel New Otani Tokyo

This Tokyo hotel doubles as the headquarters of Osato Chemicals and Engineering, a front for the global crime syndicate SPECTRE, in You Only Live Twice (1967). At the time of filming, the hotel was basically brand new (it opened in 1964), and was designed to house 1000 guests and to give each one of them a view of Mount Fuji. A section of the hotel, called “The Main,” received major renovations against seismic activity and reopened in 2007.


Stoke Park/Facebook

This Buckinghamshire estate is a popular filming location in England, having appeared in both Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and, more famously, Goldfinger (1964), where Bond faces off with the gold magnate and his henchman, Oddjob, on the golf course. The country club has also appeared in Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), Layer Cake (2004), RocknRolla (2008), and other films.


Taj Lake Palace Hotel/Facebook

The lavish 18th-century Indian hotel, often referred to as a “floating palace,” was used as the location of the jewel-smuggling mastermind’s lair in Octopussy (1983). It is consistently named one of India’s “Most Romantic Hotels,” and it’s not hard to see why.

5 Film Transitions Worth Knowing

You see them every day, on TV shows, the news, and in movies, but how well do you know the most oft-used film transitions? Here are the big five:


The dissolve is an editing technique where one clip seems to fade—or dissolve—into the next. As the first clip is fading out, getting lighter and lighter, the second clip starts fading in, becoming more and more prominent. The process usually happens so subtly and so quickly, the viewer isn't even aware of the transition. The above video offers a great overview of the cut, with examples.


This transition is the opposite of the dissolve in that it draws attention to itself. The best example of the wipe is what's known as the Iris Wipe, which you usually find in silent films, like Buster Keaton's or the Merrie Melodies cartoons—the circle getting smaller and smaller. Other wipe shapes include stars, diamonds, and the old turning clock.

The Star Wars films are chock-full of attention-grabbing wipes. Here are two good examples from The Empire Strikes Back. The first shows the clock wipe; the second, the diagonal wipe (pay no attention to the broken blocks at the start of the second clip—that's a technical glitch, not part of the film).


As the name implies, in the basic cutaway, the filmmaker is moving from the action to something else, and then coming back to the action. Cutaways are used to edit out boring shots (like people driving to their destination—why not see what the character is seeing or even thinking sometimes?) or add action to a sequence by changing the pace of the footage. My favorite use of the cutaway is in Family Guy, where the technique is used to insert throwaway gags. Here's a great example:


The L Cut, also called a split edit, is a very cool technique whose name dates back to the old analog film days.

The audio track on a strip of celluloid film runs along the side, near the sprocket holes. In the L Cut transition, the editor traditionally cut the picture frames out of the strip, but left the narrow audio track intact, thus creating an L-shape out of the film. A different camera angle, or scene was then spliced into the spot where the old picture was, so the audio from the old footage was now cut over the new footage.

Of course, with digital editing, one doesn't need to physically cut anything anymore, but the transition is still widely used, and the name has remained the same.

Split edits like these are especially effective in portraying conversations. Imagine how a simple conversation between two people might look if all we ever got was a ping-pong edit back and forth between the two people talking. The L cut allows the viewer to read the emotion on the listener's face, as the dialogue continues over, as we see in this clip from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:


The fade in and fade out usually signal the beginning or end of a scene, especially if the filmmaker is fading to/from black. This is the most common, of course, but fading to white has become trendy, too. The opening title sequence from the HBO series Six Feet Under featured many fades to black and a couple brief fades to white. The very last bit in the sequence fades slowly to white, and is my all-time favorite example of the transition:

science fiction
Why So Many Aliens in Pop Culture Look Familiar

Aliens have been depicted countless times in cinema, from Georges Méliès's A Trip to the Moon (1902) to James Cameron's Avatar (2009). But despite the advancements in special-effects technology over the past century, most aliens we see on screen still share a lot of similarities—mainly, they look, move, and interact with the world like humans do. Vox explains how the classic alien look came to be in their new video below.

When you picture an alien, you may imagine a being with reptilian skin or big, black eyes, but the basic components of a human body—two arms, two legs, and a head with a face—are likely all there. In reality, finding an intelligent creature that evolved all those same features on a planet millions of light-years away would be an extraordinary coincidence. If alien life does exist, it may not look like anything we've ever seen on Earth.

But when it comes to science fiction, accuracy isn't always the goal. Creating an alien character humans can relate to may take priority. Or, the alien's design may need to work as a suit that can be worn by human performers. The result is a version of extraterrestrial life that looks alien— but not too alien—to movie audiences.

So if aliens probably won't have four limbs, two eyes, and a mouth, what would they look like if we ever met them person? These experts have some theories.

[h/t Vox]


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