Ever since notorious spy extraordinaire James Bond made his cinematic debut in 1962 with the premiere of “Dr. No,” viewers have been captivated by his world of daring missions, devious villains, beautiful women, and Vesper martinis (shaken, not stirred, of course). Now, to celebrate 60 years of 007, the creators of the long-beloved franchise have tapped their first-ever travel partner, Black Tomato, to collaborate on private Bond-inspired travel experiences, beginning with a multi-country European itinerary.
“It’s an honor that Black Tomato was hand-picked to bring the spirit of 007’s travels to life, and a personal thrill to make these epic adventures a reality,” says Black Tomato founder Tom Marchant. “Bond films have been a significant part of my life, from formative years to present day, and over time, I came to deeply appreciate how the destinations themselves play an important role in solidifying 007 as such an icon, and it’s been a career highlight to bring these travels to life for the first time ever.”
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Marchant tells Men’s Journal that he and his team at Black Tomato have long admired the touch points that are synonymous with Bond: elegant and discerning, daring and effortlessly cool. “In turn, we feel a great responsibility to create truly remarkable, out-of-this-world travel experiences that reflect his inimitable charisma.”
The Assignment: Europe
In order to plan “The Assignment: Europe,” the debut Bond travel experience, Black Tomato worked in close collaboration with EON Productions, chatting with their most long-standing location scouts who worked on the actual productions. The result is a 12-day trip that pays homage to 007’s inimitable style—bringing daring travelers around several European locations by car, boat, and seaplane.
“As a brand, we share a passion for storytelling, adventure, and a drive to deliver excellence in experience to our clients, where only the very best will do. ‘The Assignment: Europe’ represents the union of the carefully crafted and curated world of Bond with the rich travel narrative present throughout films from inception 60 years ago to present day.”
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Wheels Down in London
While some details about the trip are still under tight wraps, we know that it will start in Bond’s hometown of London, with artfully curated experiences spanning arts, culture, and adventure with uncompromising luxury throughout.
“The Bond franchise is synonymous with elegance and vigor,” says Marchant. “Exciting yet elegant, clever but approachable, Bond has exacting tastes, from the cocktails he drinks to the cars he drives to the company he keeps, and the Bond brand has similarly high standards. It’s not just heart-pumping escapades that make Bond universally loved, it’s a consummate elegance and cool, no matter the situation.”
Speaking of cocktails, one of London’s top Bond-themed experiences is the Martini Masterclass, led by Erik Lorincz, who was tapped for Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time To Die to ensure Bond’s signature martinis were on point.
To make this a truly authentic experience, Lorincz reviewed all the original James Bond texts to recreate the original martini recipes featured in the films. He even tracked down vintage cocktail ingredients to use in the class, like ultra-rare, discontinued Kina Lillet, a now-defunct liqueur that was listed as one of the main ingredients in the original Vesper Martini.
If you’re traveling like Bond, you’ve gotta look the part. To suit up, join a sartorial tour of London’s St. James district with a personal stylist and Black Tomato guide. Each of the stores you’ll drop into—including N. Peal, Lock & Co, Turnbull & Asser, Crockett & Jones, and Floris—have collaborated on the Bond films. Each stop has special collections and signature items that appeared on-film to check out, including the shirt worn by 007 in Dr. No, ties inspired by Tomorrow Never Dies, and shoes custom-made for Bond in Skyfall. Should you be so inclined to buy a bespoke suit, this is the time and place.
Besides Londontown, one guaranteed travel location is none other than Lake Como, with experiences inspired by the 1989 film Licence To Kill. From the private jetty of a luxury hotel, guests will buckle in for a private masterclass in the 007 skill of waterskiing along the Moltrasio shoreline, before jumping aboard a private seaplane with a world championship-winning glider pilot to fly over some of Italy’s most picturesque towns, such as Bellagio and Varenna.
Other Bond-inspired highlights include flying over villainous Mr. White’s lakeside home Villa La Gaeta, and a stroll through the gardens of Villa del Balbianello, both shooting locations from the 2006 film Casino Royale. The agenda concludes at Monaco’s famed Casino de Monte-Carlo, where guests will have exclusive access to the casino’s private rooms for an evening of gambling.
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“This partnership is more than just going to the locations where these films were shot—it’s about creating an adventure that’s inspired by and pays homage to Bond’s signature style and excellence,” Marchant adds. “Travelers can expect uncompromising luxury and unheard of levels of access throughout, from the exclusive VIP rooms of the Casino de Monte Carlo to the stables of Europe’s most prestigious equestrian center in Chantilly.”
Some details of this spy-worthy itinerary won’t be announced until next March, but if this sounds right up your alley, keep in mind that only 60 limited-edition private trips will be made available.