Ian Fleming, James Bond creator and author, was an occasional guest at The Dorchester. Over the years our Bond connections have continued. To accompany the newly released No Time to Die film, we take a look the famous international spy.
The beginning of Bond
Ian Fleming was born in Mayfair and he became an occasional guest and diner at The Dorchester in the 1940s. While he was working in Naval Intelligence, Fleming used to play bridge with friends at the hotel. When the James Bond books became popular, the stories were transformed into hugely successful films. Maybe James Bond’s name was also inspired by nearby Bond Street.
The first film
Screenwriter Terence Young and his assistant Johanna Harwood were tasked with completing the film script for Dr. No, which they worked on during an extended stay with us at The Dorchester in 1961. As the first actor to play James Bond, Sean Connery starred in Dr. No and went on to play the lead role in the next four James Bond films. After having a break from the film franchise, in 1970 Connery was invited to The Dorchester where he was persuaded to return to the role for Diamonds Are Forever.
In 1967, a spoof version of Casino Royale was released starring David Niven and Peter Sellers. For the film’s theme tune, Hal David wrote the lyrics to Burt Bacharach’s musical arrangement for ‘The Look of Love’ in his room at The Dorchester. The song was sung by Dusty Springfield and received an Academy Awards nomination for ‘Best Original Song’.
New leading man
After Sean Connery’s highly successful run as James Bond, it was formally announced at The Dorchester that George Lazenby would be the next actor to star in the sought-after role. This news was shared during a press conference hosted at the hotel on October 7, 1968.
Making his mark as the third actor to portray James Bond, Roger Moore starred in seven of the films. The ‘new Bond’ announcement again took place at The Dorchester, this time at The Penthouse and Pavilion in 1972. Later in 2001, the Variety Club hosted a tribute lunch for the actor, which also took place at The Dorchester.
Ian Fleming took inspiration for the character of ‘M’ from Rear Admiral John Godfrey, who was his boss in Naval Intelligence and attended weekly strategic meetings at The Dorchester during World War II. For a record-breaking eight films, ‘M’ was played by actress Judi Dench, who has a long history at The Dorchester dating back to 1965, when she was presented with a BAFTA at the hotel.
The sixth Bond
Continuing our strong Bond connections, Daniel Craig and the other leading members of the cast came to The Dorchester for the Quantum of Solace and Skyfall press conferences, ahead of their world premieres.
In 2013 the James Bond novel, Solo, was launched. This time the story was written by William Boyd and features Bond waking up at The Dorchester on his 45th birthday and having breakfast at the hotel. In the first chapter, he’s described as dining on “four eggs, scrambled, and half a dozen rashers of unsmoked back bacon, well done, on the side.” This wonderful mention in the book also made us the perfect place to host the book launch.
For the full ‘Bond experience’, stay in one of our suave suites at The Dorchester and indulge in a shaken not stirred Martini at our bar. For more stories, you can also book our exclusive Bond tour.