James Bond’s Casino Royale
On Delancy Street in Nassau, the yellow mansion of the now-closed Buena Vista Hotel served as the exterior for the Madagascan Embassy in the film. On the southwest side of New Providence Island, about 25km from Nassau, is the pretty seaside resort community of Albany, named after the Albany House, a pink colonial mansion once owned by Jean Chalopin, the creator of an animated Bond bastardization, the bumbling hero Inspector Gadget. The building also serves as the home of the villain Dimitrios in Casino Royale.
Albany is a private community, but its hotel is open to the public and guests may dine inside the mansion, at the restaurant Aviva. A few miles away, Coral Harbour Beach is where Bond emerges from the water, reminiscent of Ursula Andress, the first Bond girl, from Dr No.
Although the famously beautiful and romantic canalled city has appeared in From Russia With Love and Moonraker, Bond’s arrival in Casino Royale, sailing on a 54ft yacht along the Grand Canal, is arguably the most stylish, filmed in an epic sweeping shot. The ship travels between the Accademia and Rialto bridges, and there are other Venetian landmarks in the film, like St Mark’s Square. But the most memorable location (spoiler alert) is the collapsing palace where Vesper meets her end, locked in an elevator as the building sinks into the Grand Canal. The building in the film, the 17th-century Palazzo Pisani Moretta, did not really sink (that was recreated in a sound stage), and it is closed to the public except for special events like its annual masquerade ball Il Ballo del Doge, held during Carnevale in March or February.
Lake Como, Italy
One of refreshing aspects of Craig’s reboot is the realism it brought the franchise -- at least in comparison to the cheesy jokes, comic book villains and baffling plans of world domination in earlier films. More in keeping with the plot lines of the Fleming novels, this new cinema Bond is a flawed (if stylish) hero who is severely brutalized, both physically and emotionally. But when it comes time for his convalescence, he still gets a luxury view: the stunning terraced gardens of Villa del Balbianello, an Italian villa on the western shore of Lake Como near the village of Lenno. The spot, open for tours, is so lovely it was also the wedding venue for Anakin Skywalker and Princess Amidala in Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones.
And if you want to really take it to a luxury level fitting the Bond motif, consider renting out one of the rooms in the lakeside Villa La Gaeta, a stunning castellated private home with its own beach near Menaggio on Lake Como. It is here that Casino Royale ends, with Bond tracking down the elusive mastermind Mr White, shooting him in the leg and then introducing himself. “The name is Bond, James Bond.”