No Man's Land an Abandoned Sea Fort, Soon Accepting Bookings

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 24 2013 12:30 PM

No Man's Land, an Abandoned Sea Fort, Soon Accepting Bookings

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On maps it registers as a tiny, nameless speck in the Solent strait between mainland U.K. and the Isle of Wight, but No Man's Land Fort has a dramatic history that belies its cartographic insignificance. 

Built in the late 1800s to protect the English coast against a French invasion, No Man's Land could accommodate 80 soldiers and 49 cannons. Shortly after construction, however, it became apparent that the French had no interest in attacking England. The fort sat idle for decades until the Ministry of Defence decommissioned it during the 1950s. They tried to sell the artificial island in 1963, but no buyers came forward. 

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Three decades later the abandoned fort was transformed into a luxury hotel, complete with two helipads, 21 bedrooms, a roof garden, restaurant, and a heated pool. Despite its creature comforts and promise of privacy, the remote hotel never took off. 

In 2004, developer Harmesh Pooni bought No Man’s Land for £6 million with the intention of renting it out for special occasions. Unfortunately, the contaminated water in the hotel pool caused an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, ruining his business prospects. Faced with financial troubles and the possibility of losing the island, Pooni took an extreme approach: he covered the helipads with upturned tables, grabbed his keys, and barricaded himself inside the fortress. After a protracted standoff with administrators he was finally evicted in early 2009.

Undeterred by the previous owners' misfortunes, luxury hospitality company Clarenco purchased the fort in April 2012. If all goes according to plan, it will soon reopen as an exclusive private events venue.

Curious Artificial Islands:


View No Man's Land Sea Fort in a larger map
 
Correction, July 26: The original photo accompanying this article depicted Horse Sands Fort, not No Man's land. The photo has been replaced.