GoldenEye, Jamaica


Last week, somewhere between the temperature in NY drastically plunging, my heater breaking, and begrudgingly pulling out my Norma Kamali one-size-fits-all, unisex “sleeping bag coat” for the first time this winter, I thought, “something’s not right here.” It was just too damn cold. And when the going gets tough, the tough…go to Jamaica. Or so it would appear. I kept hearing murmurings of GoldenEye these past few months—a very well-known makeup artist, returning from a fall getaway, saying how he “just happened” to overlap with his old pal Kate Moss. Then, according to Terry Richardson’s Diary, Miss Moss was back enjoying New Year’s Eve festivities with the photographer and Grace Jones. Suddenly everyone was talking about GoldenEye. Luckily, I’d already booked my ticket.

The history of this place pretty much takes the cake in terms of hotel stories. Back in 1942, a young Englishman by the name of Ian Fleming was sent to Jamaica by Britain’s naval intelligence service on a secret mission. He fell in love with the island, bought land, built a house, and spent his life there, writing—wait for it—James Bond. All fourteen of them. GoldenEye was in Fleming’s estate until Bob Marley sought to purchase it in 1976, "But then he got cold feet, said it was too posh," recounts the current owner, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, "So I bought it myself. The original sale document said Bob Marley and we crossed that out and wrote in Chris Blackwell." The music impresario entertained friends for years (Moss has, in fact, been visiting for almost two decades), only recently turning it into a resort—complete with two restaurants, two pools, and a spa. I was invited to explore the property so, naturally, I packed up a Bond-girl worthy Lisa Marie Fernandez zip-front swimsuit*, plenty of Anthelios SPF, and my buddy Nick, and hightailed it down there.

GoldenEye may have been too posh for Marley, but it’s pretty mellow by most standards…think “understated luxury” at its finest. Waterfront cottages dot the beach and several more form an outline around an illuminated, clear turquoise lagoon complete with their own docks and kayaks. Everything is woven through a canopy of lush foliage, over a hillside, so you get the sense of being in the woods—or jungle, rather—while still being “on the water”. One rustic pathway leads to the Field Spa, a petite, private house (rumored to have been Naomi Campbell’s one-time digs) offering a straightforward menu of massages, brightening facials, purifying body treatments, healing water therapies and energy work using flowers and herbs grown at GoldenEye’s private 2,500 acre organic farm. We enjoyed peppermint foot soaks at twilight on the porch, looking out on the lagoon, and a warm ginger and pimento massage. “Make that deep tissue,” we said in unison…because not only did we kayak, we paddle-boarded. A lot. Like Cameron Diaz. And if anyone tells you (as I might have, unwittingly,) that it’s not a workout, they’re dead wrong.

Of course, music is everywhere, and thanks to Shazam and impressively pervasive WiFi, I now have several new Pandora stations to remind me of sunnier times in Jamaica (plenty of reggae; “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations). We also returned with Blackwell’s rum, which is served in just about every carefully hand-crafted drink on the menu, but our favorite GoldenEye treat, we’ll have to go back for: the best ice cream I’ve had in forever—flavors like banana, coconut, and even white chocolate-wasabi, made daily. Just remember to do twenty minutes of “wata sports” for every scoop.

* This particular Lisa Marie Fernandez suit is part of a collaboration with British designer Peter Pilotto and will be available at Barneys NY. The printed dress pictured is Derek Lam, available now.

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  • Georgia

    I honestly love the extras about all your travels! as well as every other aspect of into the gloss. But what products did you bring along with you? x

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Georgia! I honestly didn't bring much... Just 4 tubes of sunscreen, black eyeliner and mascara, Crealine, Nuxe lip balm, shampoo and conditioner. Love being low-maintenance at the beach. XE

      • Georgia

        Thanks for the reply, it made my day. And since it's summer in australia the minimal products you listed definitely apply to the current weather we're experiencing . Cannot wait to see whats next on into the gloss. x

      • Sarah

        LOVE this post... out of curiousity which shampoo/conditioner are you using nowadays??

  • supertimai

    you are so pretty! and all this look soooo good!

  • Heloise

    You have such a pretty smile ! I also love the extra posts about your travels !

  • Rosa

    Can't wait for the summer now!

  • Renee | Beauty Fool

    I too love your posts on your travels... and your photos are always to die for!

    x Renee

  • Anonymous

    Looks amazing, but... just checked the website, and for that price, I would bloody hope it's amazing. Yeow! One night there = one month's rent (and I have a nice apartment)!

  • Sammers

    You look so fit and pretty! Love the warm weather get away...can't wait for my own!

  • erin

    great photos... that living room needs me in it!

  • lacoquettedelamode

    Gorgeous pictures! Jamaica is stunning :)

    XX Kathryn

  • Ang

    Good for you for taking a break: music, travel, time off, and friends are what inspires you to get going on to inspire others. Love the blog!

  • Serdane-elie

    I think that those pictures of " holidays " are great !! In your place, it would be so difficult to wear some make up or taking care of my skin with this sun and this so good climate !!

  • Adelyn Emmerich

    omg Jamaica sounds amazing right now! I'm researching locations for my honeymoon and I am most definitely looking into this place! Thanks for the scoop!

  • Cari

    your body look AMAZING! are you still doing yoga?

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Cari! No yoga...I get too bored. Pilates/strength training class, when I'm not hitting the snooze button.. xE

  • Kate

    Where did you get that fabulous tank top in the 7th picture?

  • Jennifer

    I'm obsessed with any stories on Golden Eye! Have always wanted to visit.. Hope there will be more travel posts in the future! xx

  • Laura

    I wish I'd be invited to explore such a resort...great pics.

  • Casallina

    Ahhhh so jealous... what an awesome gateaway. And I love all the cool history surrounding the place. Thanks for sharing!

  • em

    Dear Emily, thank you, thank you, thank you! Ever since I have been following "Into the gloss " I have discovered some really good products. For me, reading "The Face" works so much better than reading about beauty products in a magazine.

  • David

    Beautiful photos! :D


  • murt

    haha - yes I'd like to know too!


    Jamaica is always good for a quick jaunt from NYC. I have yet to try Golden Eye out but look forward to stopping over there soon enough!

  • Beautyincrisis Ili

    OMG do u think there is any possible way I can escape there through my pc screen?? Amazing place!!!

  • Amanda

    Screw the list of products, I want to know how you get those toned legs??! Wait --- is there a product I can buy to get them!!!?

  • Anonymous

    lol omg i cant believe this, i live in jamaica and this is the first time i'm hearing about GoldenEye!

  • Grace

    Such beautiful pics! Love what you are doing on this blog~! :)

  • Sharzad Kiadeh

    That sounds like pure heaven right about now! Jamaica is officially on my list of countries to visit! XO

  • The Edit

    Love a good travel post! Looks amazing, added it to my 'to see' list!
    xxx the edit xxx

  • The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

    I love how it's beautifully simple but luxurious. Just my style! Hope you had a lovely time, and are back just in time for the dreadful weather:)

    The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

  • Erica

    So glad you loved it! My Mother is from Jamaica, and I have many fond memories of Golden Eye. In fact I'll be visiting this Summer. I also love your pics!

  • frances

    Great pictures and story!!

  • Sara

    I love your swinsuit! Where did you get it? :) Thanks for at wonderful and inspiring blog.

  • Tahianasaude

    did you take the pictures or are they from the hotel's website? because i just seen a post on the brazilian vogue website and they are using the exact same pictures form your post... and no mention to your blog...

  • Monique Webster BeautyNotebook

    I cant believe Im jamaican been to Port Antonio and actually attended a wedding at Gold Eye but Ive never stayed there . Hmmm I think Id love to be married there and have a nice relaxing stay .