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James Bond Hotel Room | Purple Travel
Holiday like James Bond
Lesson Learned: Three days is not enough for Istanbul
A Night Less Ordinary: Marmara Antalya Revolving Hotel
A Night Less Ordinary: The ship-shape Jane Hotel
A Night Less Ordinary: Giraffe Manor
A Night less Ordinary: Spitbank Fort
Cocktail Holidays
Purple 10 really weird museums
Get your hands dirty at The Chocolate Hotel

James Bond Hotel Room | Purple Travel

Holiday like James Bond

Bond, James Bond. Shaken not stirred. That bikini. Let’s face it, Ian Fleming’s creation has come to define the best of British, the suave secret agent, able to infiltrate top secret bunkers and is at home in exotic destinations all over the world (and above it!) James and his, ahem, lady friends have solved mysteries and toppled evil organizations from Istanbul to Iceland and Jamaica to Japan.

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Bond classics with, what else, but the top destinations where we can indulge in a martini, and live like Bond (preferably, without Blofeld or Max Zorin turning up!)

James Bond Island

Image via @ Jo@net

Ko Tapu Island, Thailand So closely linked with 007 that it’s actually known as James Bond Island. It was the backdrop for the famous duel between Roger Moore’s Bond and Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. Thailand is of course famous for breathtaking white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and laidback atmosphere, for when you’ve finished your James Bond adventure!

Paris, France Yes, that is James Bond giving chase to Grace Jones’ May Day up the steps of the Eiffel Tower in A View to a Kill. Handily for her, she manages to escape with the aid of a parachute in one of the most memorable Bond scenes. You can’t actually parachute off it though, but you can still learn about Franz Reighfelt’s who’s parachute suit didn’t really happen in 1912.

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic Although set in Montegnegro, Casino Royale’s epic game of cards was actually filmed in the resort a few hours from Prague. It’s even got its own casino, so you can properly recreate the Bond experience. Although the capital is usually the favourite for a visit, exploring a little further afield will give you a fantastic holiday experience.

Corfu, Greece The relaxed Greek Island might not be your first tip for a Bond adventure, but the glorious scenery and fantastic weather were obviously a big lure. Bond adventured in the area around Mouse Island in For Your Eyes Only. Greece is a great place to holiday right now, with plenty of bargains on offer.

Udaipur, India Still a favourite with Bond fans today, the Taj Lake Palace was where 007 ventured, after a quick stop off at the Taj Mahal, in 1983’s Octopussy. The vast country of India really is home to holidays of a lifetime, from the visiting the Taj like James, to the rolling countryside, exotic food, and fantastic beaches, you’ll find something to suit every taste.

Luxor, Egypt In the Spy Who Loved Me, Luxor acted as the Egyptian capital Cairo, with the Karnak Temple and famous Pyramids as a backdrop. However you might have been concentrating more on Bond’s fight with the metal mouthed maniac, Jaws. Of course, Egypt is a tremendous holiday getaway, with beautiful resorts right along the Red Sea Coast.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil A fight on top of a cable car over the amazing city. Moonraker really knew how to showcase Bond’s talents. The busy, bustling city of Rio will offer an unforgettable holiday to a truly exotic destination.

Florida, USA Florida’s Seven Mile Bridge is the centrepiece to one of the big scenes in Licence to Kill. While the rest of the Keys play a part too. There’s even a scene where M demands Bond’s licence, filmed in Ernest Hemingway’s house. You can still tour there today.

Venice, Italy It’s actually been used as a location for a couple of Bond films. The hotel Danieli was especially chosen by Dr Holly Goodhead in Moonraker and you can even order a Vesper Martini at the hotel Bar in honour of Casino Royale. The original romantic getaway, a gondola tour is a must, to impress your other half.

Istanbul, Turkey Ok, we haven’t seen it yet, but Skyfall looks set to be the biggest Bond movie ever. Filmed throughout the gorgeous vibrant streets of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, we’re expecting some amazing high speed chases along with James being his usual charming self. If that’s a bit too chaotic sounding, a walk around the market which sees half a million visitors for day will sort you out.

Lesson Learned: Three days is not enough for Istanbul

It turns out March in Istanbul is the perfect time to visit. Actually, scratch that, I would say anytime is the perfect time to go. No wonder it’s been named the best destination to visit in 2014. Living in Athens, it was an easy trip for me and my friend across the Aegean for three days of exploring in the vast (trust me, it’s huge) sprawling Turkish City.

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Ok, i’ll throw my hands up and say it was kind of a surprise to realise just how huge the city is. It’s spread across both sides of the Bosphorus. Since we had such a short time, we fancied seeing the obvious ones, this was a taster really, but here’s our highlights:

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A Night Less Ordinary: Marmara Antalya Revolving Hotel

For something really special, why not enjoy a night less ordinary. We scour the world to find the most amazing and unusual hotels all over the world. Whether you’re interested in a night with some giraffes, or you want to pretend to be James Bond for one night only, we’ve got you covered. This week, a revolving hotel room. Enjoy a night less ordinary at the Marmara Hotel, Antalya.

A night less ordinary Marmara Hotel Antalya via Purple Travel

The WOW factor: The Revolving Loft Room. It’s the extra special touch that we thought made the Marmara Antalya worth featuring in our series of great hotels. 24 rooms are built into the revolving roof of the hotel give you a view that changes by the hour. A full revolution soaking in every view takes seven hours, just don’t blame us if you never want to leave! Soak up the atmosphere as you gaze across the sparkling water of the Mediterranean and the breathtaking views of the Bey Mountain range.

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A Night Less Ordinary: The ship-shape Jane Hotel

Our weekly series: A Night Less Ordinary is all about finding the most weird and wonderful hotels all over the world. From a James Bond hotel room, to sleeping underwater expect the unexpected. This week, we take a step back in time for a night on a cabin in the Jane Hotel New York.

What’s the gimmick? Lovingly renovated, the Jane Hotel’s rooms are themed around the cabins on a ship, complete with galley style bunk bed rooms,  brass fittings, warm colours and big mirrors, storage under over beds and buckets of bohemian history. A stay in the Jane Hotel, with its retro-uniformed staff and period design  is filled with character and one that makes the most of the NYC experience.

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A Night Less Ordinary: Giraffe Manor

Our weekly series: A Night Less Ordinary is all about finding the most weird and wonderful hotels all over the world. From a James Bond hotel room, to sleeping underwater expect the unexpected. This week, we have a night less ordinary at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

The WOW factor? The Giraffe Manor which is part of the Tamimi Group lets you get as close to a giraffe as you’re ever likely to get in your life. The Manor is a luxury hotel with its own herd of Rothschild Giraffe who wander around the property, nudging at your breakfast and generally being super cool new friends. The nature trail around the hotel goes through forests and dry lands and as well as giraffes it’s a natural habitat for warthogs, hyenas, different species of birds and every so often a leopard, so you’ll get up close and personal with all kinds of animals.

Giraffe Manor

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A Night less Ordinary: Spitbank Fort

We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From panda-themed hotels to converted silvermines, expect the unexpected. This week, the Spitbank Fort luxury hotel in Portsmouth if our night less ordinary.


What’s the gimmick? Suitable for a James Bond villain, this luxury hotel off the Portsmouth coast is essentially a rentable island. One of four sea forts built in the 1870s, it was once a main line of defense against attacks, but over time was renovated to become one of the most comfortable and luxurious hotel-islands you could imagine.

spitbankWhy stay? There are eight luxury suites to choose from, with any number of amenities depending on your budget, we’re talking swimming pool, sauna, lighthouse with viewing platform.

The WOW Factor? Along with a lot of original features, the Spitfort also offers some great packages like cigar training and cocktail making.

spitbank 2Rooms start at £495 per room per night.

All images via @

Cocktail Holidays

Why not book cocktail holidays for you and your other half, your bunch of girlfriends or a stag or hen party. From Cuba to Paris, in spirit (!) of cocktail holidays, Purple Travel discovers some of the world’ most famous cocktails and where they came from…

cocktail pics

The Mojito, Cuba

Traditionally made using white rum, sugar, lime, carbonated water and mint muddled together, the Mojito is generally believed to be the world’s first cocktail. Thought to have been drunk as early as the 16th century by pirates and sailors, its origins can be traced back to 16th century Cuba, where the drink was called the “El Draque”, in honour of explorer and sailor, Sir Francis Drake.

The legend goes that the drink was first created as a way of disguising the taste of tafia/aguardiente – a primitive form of rum. The modern name for the drink comes from a Cuban sauce called mojo, made from garlic, olive oil and citrus juice; the drink became known as a cocktail with “a little mojo” or, in Spanish, a “Mojito.”

The Singapore Sling, Singapore

The Singapore Sling was first concocted in – you guessed it – Singapore, made from a mixture of gin, cherry brandy and Benedictine, in equal parts, with a dash of bitters and Cointreau, finished off with pineapple, lime juice and grenadine. While the exact year it was created is not clear, most agree that the cocktail was first produced by a Hainanese-Chinese bartender named Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar sometime between 1910 and 1915.

Today, the drink is served on all Singapore Airlines flights. You may have also seen it mentioned in many films and books, including Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which Raoul Duke talks about drinking “Singapore Slings with mescal on the side.” You can also order an original Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar, where icons like Rudyard Kipling and others would once sip this famous, fruity cocktail.

The Sidecar, Paris

This classic cocktail that dates back around 100 years is a mix of equal parts brandy or Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. The Sidecar is believed to have been first created in Paris sometime during WWI. Harry’s Bar in Paris is the “little bistro” credited as the birthplace of this sweet, yet tangy cocktail, named after the motorcycle sidecar that supposedly carried an American captain to the bar one evening. The captain asked a French bartender for a pre-dinner cocktail that would help ease the chill he had caught outside. The bartender knew brandy would be the best liqueur to take off the chill, but he also refused to serve the traditional after dinner drink alone as a pre-dinner cocktail. The result was the bartender mixed the brandy with Cointreau and added fresh lemon juice to make an appropriate pre-dinner cocktail so the Sidecar was born.

The Pisco Sour, Peru or possibly Chile

The Pisco Sour is made from Pisco (a regional brandy from South America), lemon juice, bitters and egg whites. Many debate whether the origin of this drink is Peruvian or Chilean: In Peru, the creation of the Pisco Sour is attributed to American expatriate Victor “Gringo” Morris at the Morris Bar in Lima; in Chile, it is attributed to the English steward of a sailing ship, which was stopped at the then Peruvian and now Chilean port city of Iquique in 1872.

Whatever the origins of this famous drink, the Pisco Sour has become an iconic cocktail in both countries. In fact, there are even two National Pisco Sour Days (Peru’s in the first Saturday of February and Chile’s is celebrated May 15th) to celebrate this famous cocktail!

White Russian, California

Named for the vodka used in the recipe, rather than the origin, White Russians combine equal parts of cream, vodka and Kahula. In 1961, the Diner’s Club Drink Book, gave a recipe for a “Black Russian” without cream, implying that the same cocktail with cream would therefore be named a White Russian. Today White Russians have inspired a drinking game, in which party-goers try to keep up with The Dude from The Big Lebowski (whose favourtie drink was a White Russian) in their consumption of the cocktail while watching the film itself.

The Manhattan, New York

Known as both “King of Cocktails” and the “Drinking Man’s Cocktail,” The Manhattan is a very potent mix of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, garnished most often with a maraschino cherry.

Regarded as one of the best cocktails ever created, the Manhattan was supposedly first invented at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s. Legend has it that the drink was invented for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill’s mother) in honour of presidential candidate, Samuel J. Tilden. The success of the banquet prompted many people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated, calling it “the Manhattan cocktail.”

The Mai Tai, California

The tropical Mai Tai is made of a mixture of white and gold rum, pineapple juice, orange and/or lime juice and is of American origin despite its Polynesian name. First created by Victor Buergon, better known as “Trader Vic”, it was called Mai Tai as it was invented in the Polynesian-style restaurant in Oakland, California that bore his name.

Buergon created the first Mai Tai in honour of some friends who were visiting from Tahiti in 1944. As he served the new cocktail to his friends, they cried out, “Maitai roa!” (meaning “very good”), and the cocktail was born.

Tom Collins, New York

While many people assume the drink was named after a real person, there is much debate whether Tom Collins ever actually existed and whether he should be credited to this cocktail of gin, lemon and lime juice and soda water. One popular account involves a hoax that took over New York City in 1874.

A friend would tell you that he had just overheard someone named Tom Collins at a bar nearby saying terrible things about you. You would then race to that bar to confront him, only to be told that Tom Collins had just left for a bar a little further away. When you get there, the mysterious Collins would have decamped yet again for another joint across town. You would then chase him all over the city while your friends are in stictches laughing at you. According to Wall Street Journal columnist and cocktail historian Eric Felten, “It doesn’t take much to imagine how Tom Collins came to be a drink. How many times does someone have to barge into a saloon demanding a Tom Collins before the bartender takes the opportunity to offer him a cocktail so-named?”

Bloody Mary, California

Like the mixture itself, the history behind the Bloody Mary is a bit cloudy. One legend says that the original Bloody Mary, which was made using equal parts tomato juice and vodka and used as a hangover cure, was invented by comedian, songwriter and film producer George Jessel. Jessel claimed he created the drink one morning in Palm Beach during the 50s, as a way to recover from a night spent on the booze. He went as far as to appear in Smirnoff vodka ads declaring, “I, George Jessel invented the Bloody Mary.”

However, Eric Felten writes, “Given Jessel’s knack for self-promotion, many doubted his claim.” Many skeptics favoured a legend involving the head bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York named Fernand “Peter” Petriot. Petriot was supposedly serving up Blood Marys under the alias of “Red Snappers” at the hotel’s King Cole Bar from the ‘40s. In reality, the Bloody Mary popular today is in fact a combination of the two men’s creations; Petriot admitted that “George Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over.” While credit for the original drink goes to Jessel, Petriot wasthe one who added salt, pepper, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce to the concoction, creating the modern Bloody Mary.

 The Martini, California

The first Martini was poured sometime between 1862 and 1871 and was called a Martinez, a name to honour the town of Martinez, California, where it was supposedly first dreamed up by bartender Julio Richelieu, proprietor of the eponymous Julio Richelieu Saloon. Today, Martini has become more of a class of drinks than one drink in particular – with variations like Appletinis, Vodka martinis and others becoming popular over the years.

Although the origins of the first Martinez date back to the 1860s, the modern Martini first rose in popularity starting in 1900s during the prohibition period. The Martini then became the drink of choice (or no choice as the case was at the time!) in speakeasies across the country due to the quick accessibility of gin. The modern Vodka Martini, which James Bond enjoys shaken, not stirred, was not created until much later.

Purple 10 really weird museums

A spy museum, all you’ve ever wanted to know about toilets and real life samples from Big Foot, we’ve got 10 really weird museums from around the world for your pleasure.

museum mosaic 1

  1. Want to become a spy? Actually, can we just ask, who doesn’t? Well, now you can, for a day anyway, at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, USA. We’re talking gadgets, code breaking and generally being a bit James Bond as you learn about the history of secret agents and get to grips with a life of espionage.
  2. Iceland’s Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, is as the name suggests all about biology and takes it very seriously too. It is home to a collection of more than 215 penis specimens from various mammals found in the wild all over the island including a walrus, a rogue polar bear, a whale. There are also four examples from humans, but we didn’t ask where they came from.
  3. We always hear of the priceless art found in countless cities throughout the world, but what about the bad stuff? The Museum of Bad Art in Boston claims to be the only one of its kind in the world. Featuring art that’s ‘too bad to be ignored’ it features plenty of paintings of dodgy blue people, symbols that don’t mean much and some weird uses of nudity.
  4. For all you’ve ever wanted to know about the humble toilet, you could do worse than the International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi. The curators tell us: ‘the toilet is a part of the history of human hygiene which is a critical chapter in the growth of civilisation.’
  5. Athens is well known for its museums filled with thousands of years of artefacts that document the birthplace of science and democracy. We like the Tactual Museum, where you’re actively encouraged to touch everything. There are all kinds of replicas, statues and frescoes that you can get up close and personal with.
  6. The Hair Museum of Avanos in Cappadocia, Turkey is a fairly simple idea, but definitely one of the most bizarre things you’ll see. In a room under an unassuming pottery shop, you’ll find caves covered with a collection of over 16,000 locks of hair from women from all over the world. It’s free to enter, and women can leave a lock of their own if they want.
  7. For the latest information and conjecture on the likes of Big Foot, the Montauk Monster, or the Abominable Snowman, then the Cryptozoology Museum, in Portland, USA is a good place to start. It claims to have ‘actual samples’ of hair and unique pieces of evidence from mythical creatures from all over the world.
  8. Your green fingers will start tingling when you hear about the British Lawnmower Museum. As you would expect, it’s dedicated to all things grass cutting and is home to specialised gardening machines, vintage lawnmowers and all manner of parts and conservation materials from all over the world. A truly British experience.
  9. If you’ve got a weak stomach, it might be best to skip the Paris Sewer Museum. You’re guided through the tunnels and pummelled by historical and factual information about the famous underground areas that have featured in French literature including Les Miserables and Phantom Of The Opera.
  10. Love chips? So do we and so do the Belgians apparently, if the Friet Museum is anything to go by. The ground floor offers a 10,000 year potted history of the humble spud and it’s development into the tasty chip we know and love today.

You should read… Amazing Days Out: Pig Museum Stuttgart

Get your hands dirty at The Chocolate Hotel

Every week we take a look at weird hotels around the world for A Night Less Ordinary. How about a James Bond themed room? Or maybe you’d prefer a movable hotel in Brazil? Either way, stay tuned to A Night Less Ordinary for the very coolest and whackiest hotels from all over the world. This week we look at a Chocolate hotel.

Hot on the heels of a promotional hotel made entirely of cake comes The Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth. From chocolate weekends, cocoa themed Valentines celebrations or melted choco-flavoured anniversaries this place has it covered.

Chocolate Hotel Pic

Images via @ DesignTaxi

Although the rooms can’t actually be eaten like the cake hotel, this is the next best thing, with 13 confectionery themed rooms, chocolate cookery classes, chocolate slumber parties and chocolate cocktails in the hotel’s bar. There are chocolate fountains in every room, chocolate workshops where you can learn to make all kinds of chocolatey treats and even a chocolate shoe workshop. A night in the Chocolate Boutique Hotel will set you back between £65 and £170 per night.

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