UK military history buffs, rejoice. There’s finally a hotel that you can nerd out at.
Back in the 19th century, Lord Palmerston demanded the construction of three Solent forts in order to protect Britannia’s naval base in case Napoleon the III and his navy decided to attack them. Fast forward several hundreds years later, and the same naval forts that were built to keep out pesty Napoleon have now been turned into the ultimate boutique hotel experience.
You know, without the giant turrets and guns.
CEO of Clarenco LLP Mike Claire took on the ambitious task of transforming these defense forts into exclusive hotel retreats near Portsmouth, England. The company, known for its iconic portfolio of rather unusual venues across the UK, have successfully transformed one fort and are working on two more to add to the venue. So far the 7,000 square-foot Spitbank Fort has been transformed into an 8-bedroom luxury hotel, and next up will be the much larger No Man’s Land Fort, which will be transformed into a 27-bedroom hotel and spa.
Spitbank Fort and its amenities speak for why this might be one of the most imaginative hotel transformations ever. Guests are picked up by a skipper at the Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport, and even get to enjoy breakfast on the roof of the fort next to its lighthouse. There is a cooly decorated billiards and poker room, a naval-inspired bar, and chef Nikolaus Boyle heads up the kitchen at The Officer’s Mess restaurant.
This is one of those places in the world where the pictures probably barely do it justice.
Nicole Theodore is an editorial assistant for Playboy. Follow her on Twitter.