No Man's Fort
Why We Love This Hotel
- This Victorian fort is "one of the most unusual hotels on the ocean" (Daily Mail)
- It is in the middle of the Solent, a mile from the Portsmouth coast
- Facilities include a restaurant & bar, a spa, hot tubs, a fire pit & a rooftop driving range
- Nautical-style rooms have iron ceilings & portholes for windows
No Man's Fort is a unique property that is "part cruise-ship, part castle, part playground, part island", says House & Garden. The circular Victorian fortress opened as a hotel in 2015 after a multimillion-pound renovation, and is now a "luxury impregnable haven" (Daily Mail).
The fort is a mile from the coast in the middle of the Solent, the strait that separates Portsmouth from the Isle of Wight. Mainland attractions include Portsmouth Historic Dockyard -- home to the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860 -- and Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower, which is just across the harbour in Gosport. The Isle of Wight is a little over a mile away.
Built on granite foundations between 1867 and 1880, the 4-storey fort was one of four built to guard the Royal Navy against an attack by Napoleon III, and later housed anti-aircraft guns during the Second World War. It is thought to be the first fort in England to be lit with electricity and to use hydraulic power for targeting, and was made a Scheduled Monument in 1967. It featured in the 1971 "The Sea Devils" episode of "Dr Who".
The property has a restaurant, a bar, a spa with hot tubs, a fire pit, a rooftop driving range (that uses biodegradable golf balls) and a laser-battle arena. Fishing excursions can be arranged.
The 22 nautical-themed rooms have iron ceilings and the windows are set in former gun ports. Room types include Classic Rooms, Executive Rooms, Junior Suites and a Superior Suite. The best of the bunch is the 2-bedroom Lighthouse Suite, which offers views over the shipping channel.