Six of the best: James Bond's preferred hotels

HOTEL CIPRIANI

VENICE, ITALY

You are guaranteed to make an entrance at the Hotel Cipriani, even if you don't arrive in your own yacht, as Daniel Craig does in Casino Royale. One of the most charming things about this hotel is its island location, which means the only way to arrive - or leave - is by boat. A non-stop shuttle boat to St Mark's Square, just five minutes away, lets you enjoy the best views in town on the trip over. However, you may find yourself venturing into town less often than you had planned, choosing instead to unwind in the Cipriani's glorious gardens, which even contain a swimming pool - the only one in Venice. Rooms from $US748 ($800).

See hotelcipriani.com.

CALA DI VOLPE

SARDINIA, ITALY

Don't let the tux fool you: James Bond loves a bit of bling. Those yachts, those women, the occasional excursion into space - it's all about livin' large. True, luxury, however, is understated - which is what you'll find at Sardinia's Cala di Volpe, which featured as the hideaway in The Spy Who Loved Me. This spectacularly located property is more of a village than a hotel, with a shopping street, a covered wooden bridge and even its own port. The room rates may be eyewateringly high, but the decor is understated, with whitewashed walls and vibrant floor tiles - all the better to set off that million-dollar view. Rooms from about $850.

See caladivolpe.com.

GRAND HOTEL EUROPE

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ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

In Pierce Brosnan's first Bond film, GoldenEye, the St Petersburg scenes are not what they seem. That tank chase through the streets? Filmed in the Britain. That arrival at the Grand Hotel Europe? Ditto. All we can say is, Brosnan missed out. The real Grand Hotel Europe offers old-school Russian glamour, from its neo-Baroque interior to its art nouveau interiors, all antiques and stained glass. Throw in a central location off Nevsky Prospekt, a short stroll to the Hermitage, and the city's only genuine caviar bar, and you have the city's most unforgettable experience. To really make the most of it, check into one of the rooms overlooking the spectacular Church on the Spilled Blood. Rooms from $US271.

See grandhoteleurope.com.

LAKE PALACE

UDAIPUR, INDIA

Octopussy never really qualified as one of the top-tier Bond films, but it does contain a memorable scene in which Roger Moore swims up to the floating palace which is Octopussy's lair, and finds a bevy of beautiful women awaiting him. Those scenes were filmed at the Taj Lake Palace, one of India's most spectacular hotels. Originally an 18th century royal pleasure palace complete with pavilions and courtyards, the rooms are still rich in mosaics, stained glass, piles of silk pillows and even, in one room, a swing. The staff can arrange activities such as horseback riding and visits to nearby cities but really, wouldn't you rather stay in? Rooms from $762.

See tajhotels.com.

ATLANTIC KEMPINSKI

HAMBURG, GERMANY

The typical Bond film requires a fair bit of suspension of disbelief - from those car chase scenes to 007's strike rate with women - but perhaps the hardest thing to believe is the warm greeting Bond gets whenever he checks into a hotel. The staff are always delighted to see him, which seems unlikely, given the wear and tear he tends to inflict upon his lodgings. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce Brosnan's behaviour is about as far removed from the perfect hotel guest as you can imagine. In the luxurious Atlantic Hotel, he's responsible for one seduction and two deaths, after which he climbs from the glamorous Atlantic Suite onto its roof. Hope he left one hell of a tip. Rooms from €229 ($340).

See kempinski.com.

CIRAGAN PALACE

ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Old Istanbul takes a bit of a battering in the opening scenes of Skyfall, as Daniel Craig rides a motorcycle through Eminonu Square and over the roof of the Grand Bazaar. So perhaps we should be glad the Ciragan Palace doesn't feature in the film itself - lord knows what they would have done to this elegant former Ottoman palace. The Ciragan Palace qualifies as a Bond hotel because it was the lodgings for cast and crew, including Craig, during filming. It also makes a terrific backdrop for a secret agent: those palms and pools, those stunning river views, that heated infinity pool - not to mention the opulent rooms, complete with pillow menus. Rooms from €570.

See lhw.com.

The writer was a guest of of the Cipriana, the Grand Hotel Europe and the Lake Palace.

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