Follow in the footsteps of famous writers

Holiday in the former home of a famous writer and lap up a sense of literary history

The world's great writers were often known for their hospitality, but at least one should have avoided the kitchen and stuck to his typewriter. "Ian Fleming's cooking always tasted to me like armpits," is how Noel Coward once put it. The good news is that with many famous writers' former homes available to rent, you can still lap up the sense of history, while enjoying the services of the professional chefs who are now in charge of the kitchens.

For great weather and a laid-back atmosphere, try Goldeneye in Jamaica, where Fleming penned 14 of the James Bond novels. While you lie on one of the private beaches, you can admire the scenery that inspired him. "I wonder which mountain it was that housed Dr No's hideaway? Are those the swamps that were terrorised by his amphibious flame-throwing dragon'?" asks Simon Williams in The Sunday Telegraph.

The resort now has several properties, but the three-bedroom Fleming House, which sleeps up to six people, is where the writer lived. Unfortunately, his writing desk is currently on loan to the Imperial War Museum, but its understudy will help you conjure images of the man at work.

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Although a covering of greenery and an established garden have worked wonders for the look of the resort, the house itself was not renowned for its beauty when first built. In fact, as well as criticising Fleming's cooking, Coward, his neighbour, dubbed it Golden Ear, Nose and Throat. But even he couldn't resist Jamaica's charms; you can compare their taste in architecture by driving ten miles down the coast to the home that Coward built after his frequent visits to Goldeneye.

Blue Harbour has "fantastic views, lush surrounds and a pool fed by the sea", says Jane Dunford in The Observer. You'll be following in the footsteps of Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn, among others. One room still contains Coward's own furnishings and four-poster bed.

If you prefer your spy stories with a more literary bent, visit The Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi. The hotel was home to several writers in the 1950s, but its most famous guest was Graham Greene, who wrote

The Quiet American

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while staying there. It's the best hotel in Hanoi, says Dom Joly in The Sunday Times. Built in 1901, it retains its old-fashioned charm, with its wood panelling, green shutters and a beautiful courtyard.

For a treat for the children, head to Naulakha in Vermont, USA. This is the four-bedroom dream home that Rudyard Kipling built with his wife in 1892. He worked on both the The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous from the house, while revelling in his bath tub. "I luxuriously parboiled myself in a hot bath knowing I was beholden to no man therefore should not be charged for it on any bill," he once said. Unfortunately, you will have to pay but in return you can sleep in his bed, eat at his table and soak in his bath. The house has been painstakingly restored and has its own private museum.

Authors' homes: where to stay

Blue Harbour

The house costs from $3,500 a week for 12 people on full board. Call 00 575 586 1244, or visit for more details.

Sofitel Metropole

A double room will cost from £126 a night. Visit, or call 00 84 4 826 6919 for reservations.


From $275 a night, with a three-night minimum stay. Contact 01628-825925, or visit to book.