Clarenco has purchased two sea forts in the Solent to add to the existing Spitbank Fort which reopens this month as a 16-bedroom exclusive-use venue after a £3m restoration.
The acquisition of No Man's Land Fort and Horse Sand Fort - together with Spitbank Fort - will together form Solent Forts, a new arm of Clarenco, which operates a mix of hotels and venues in historic and unusual properties. All three forts are located between Portsmouth Harbour and Seaview on the Isle of Wight. Guests will reach the forts by Clarenco's own flotilla of boats from the Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport.
The 35,000sq ft No Man's Land Fort, which was converted into a hotel in the 1990s, but fell into disuse in 2004, is to be restored with the development of 30 bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, games rooms, and several meeting and dining spaces. Planning has also been approved for a helipad and marina/harbour area.
Meanwhile, Horse Sand Fort is to be transformed into a time capsule museum showcasing the artefacts and history of the three forts.
Clarenco's owner, Mike Clare, is the sole private investor behind Solent Forts. "Having recently invested over £3m transforming Spitbank Fort into an exclusive venue, we felt we couldn't miss the exciting and rare opportunity to add both No Man's Land and Horse Sand Fort to our diverse portfolio of amazing retreats," he said.
"The three forts will complement each other perfectly and offer something magical and unique that other venues can only dream of. Solent Forts will create employment in the local area, generate an increase in tourism and will really put the Solent and the surrounding areas on the UK tourism map. "
Clarenco, which recently rebranded from Amazing Retreats, now has a portfolio of nine properties across the UK, including Ackergill Tower in Wick, which will open as a 28-bedroom luxury hotel on 1 May. Until now, the property - set within a 15th-century castle overlooking Sinclair's Bay, has been used as an exclusive-use venue.
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs