An aging concrete gun fort off the Hampshire coast has undergone a dramatic transformation into a (surprisingly elegant) private island retreat.
The southerly British seaside is known for many things; a mild climate, quaint resort towns, and stretches of beach packed with sun-deprived northerners. In recent years, it’s also been able to add the attractions of some very unusual private islands to that list, according to a recent article on Gizmag, an online technology magazine.
In 2009, high-profile entrepreneur Mike Clare made headlines when he bought Spitbank Fort, a historic battlement in the Solent channel, with the intention of running it as a deluxe island retreat.
He made even bigger headlines when his company, Clareco, bought up the two neighboring forts – No Man’s Land and Horse Sand– in 2012.
Known as “Palmerston’s Follies”, the three landmark forts were originally commissioned by the Prime Minister of the same name as a defense against incursions by the French. The “folly” was that the expensive projects, feats of engineering in the mid-19th century, were never used for that purpose.
With his trio of unique “islands”, Clare now holds some of the most unusual real estate in Hampshire. The southern coastal region of England has long been a popular spot for holidays, with abundant seaside resorts and a rich maritime history, making them ideally located for tourism.
Horse Sand Fort, the largest of the three, is being transformed into a museum, while No Man’s Land, with its helipads and dramatic atrium, is currently being refurbished into a hotel and event venue. Spitbank Fort is already up and running, having accepted its first guests in July of 2012.
The austere concrete exterior of Spitbank – built to withstand a cannon barrage with 6-meter thick walls – belies the comfort and relaxed sophistication of its interior. With renovations that cost an estimated £3 million, Clareco spared no expense on the fort’s makeover, all while striving to maintain the historic island’s charms.
Created to hold a small army, Spitbank had no shortage of space to work with. The fort now holds nine deluxe guests suites, three bars and three restaurants, along with other amenities like a wine cellar and library. Where the top deck once sported intimidating gun posts, a plunge pool, sun loungers and champagne bar now provide a gentler environment.
There are a variety of ways to see Spitbank in person –one of the restaurants offers a traditional Sunday brunch, and numerous concerts and events are held in its vast interior.
For a truly exclusive experience, the fort can also be through Vladi Private Islands – package details are available on request for any of the nine suites, or the whole fort can be rented starting at £15,000 per night.
Visit to learn more about Spitbank Fort: Vladi Private Islands
Read the article on Gizmag: Link