You don’t need a license to kill, or Sean Connery’s secret agent sex appeal, but a self-indulgent, fearless Bond (James Bond-like) attitude will come in handy for a vacation adventure that has you retracing his steps in Thunderball (1965) and Never Say Never Again (1983). In Nassau, the capital of the Bahama Islands, Bond-inspired escapades range from daring deep-sea dives to cavorting in his chic penthouse, and can be experienced vicariously through the British Colonial Hilton’s three-night “Live and Let Dive” package.
Both Thunderball and Never Say Never Again were shot at the swank, canary yellow, 77-year-old business hotel that is conveniently nestled in downtown Nassau. Upon arrival, Bond travelers are greeted with a martini, stirred not shaken. They can stay in a deluxe room (three nights, two people, $960) or be whisked away to the palatial one-bedroom, 007 suite (three nights, $1290). The suite pays homage to 007 in décor, and is filled with memorabilia: signature bathrobes, posters, books, soundtrack CDs, and a great selection of Bond movie videos, like Goldfinger. Unlike the British double agent, guests can enjoy uninterrupted games of golf and tennis nearby and indulge in the luxurious Azure Spa & Beauty Salon, which offers intimate massages for couples, body wraps, and other luxurious treatments.
The Bond package includes a dive with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas (P.O. Box CB 13137, Nassau, Bahamas; 242-362-4171; www.stuartcove.com), a state-of-the-art dive center. Trained instructors (who coached the Bond stunt doubles) cater to experienced and novice scuba divers who can take the popular tour under 40-foot-deep waters to see the 120-foot freighter that was a set in Never Say Never Again. It sits near the Valkin Bomber airplane that was used in Thunderball. The center’s unique Discover Scuba Diving program can help guests become certified divers in as few as two days.
Stuart Cove also offers underwater rides on the Bond-like Scenic Underwater Bubble ($95). It’s a yellow, 007-ish vehicle, likened to a cross between a stationary bicycle and a seahorse with a clear oxygen-sustaining bubble. In calm waters, near a reef off New Providence Island, instructors teach novice aquanauts how to mount the SUB and then guide them into 15 feet of clear ocean to motor past coral reefs and brightly colored tropical fish. The trips are videotaped — of course, not for commercial release. You’ll have to negotiate your own script. No scuba or snorkeling experience is required.
For more information, call 242-322-3301, or 800-HILTONS, or visit www.nas sau.hilton.com.