Museum and four-star hotel plans unveiled for two Solent forts

HOTEL PLANS No Man's Land fort in the Solent
HOTEL PLANS No Man's Land fort in the Solent
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TWO historic forts in the Solent are set for new life as a four-star hotel and a museum.

No Man’s Land Fort and Horse Sands Fort have both been bought by luxury resort firm Clarenco with a view to creating two very different attractions.

The company has already converted Spitbank Fort into an exclusive island for hire, with group prices starting at £28,800 per weekend.

But now it aims to give less well-off guests a chance to stay in a fort three-times the size of Spitbank.

Proposals are currently being considered to convert No Man’s Land into a 27-bedroom hotel, with a spa and a function room capable of accommodating up to 200 people.

Also planned for the fort are a helicopter pad and harbour to provide extra access for guests with boats.

Horse Sands is currently derelict but Clarenco plans to recreate how it looked during the war and hold tours for guests interested in its history.

General manager of the three forts, Mark Watts, said they could even work together to make a set of luxury attractions.

He said: ‘The guests we’ve had at Spitbank are absolutely fascinated by the history of the islands.

‘We’ve created a five-star hotel and it feels like sometimes all people ask about are the hammocks that used to be there.

‘So we thought we had an amazing opportunity to show people exactly what it used to be like and what it was used for.

‘We haven’t decided whether we’ll do guided tours or use electronic hand-held devices, but we should have people dressed in period costume.’

Like Spitbank Fort, No Man’s Land Fort will be extensively refurbished over the next two years and when finished will be available to individual guests to book rooms, rather than just groups.

Mr Watts said it would be a state-of-the-art facility in a truly unique setting.

‘We’ve learned a lot from Spitbank and we want the new hotel to have a similar feel to it,’ he said. ‘

All three of them get under your skin.

‘They might look masculine from the outside but they are very, very beautiful places.

‘And one great thing is people who stay in No Man’s Land could upgrade to Spitbank, or go and visit the museum on Horse Sands.

‘It will be a complete fort attraction.’

He added that over the next four to six weeks Clarenco will be putting together plans of what the final islands will look like.

The company already owns towers and castles across the country, including Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire, which have been converted into high-end luxury hotels and venues.