Spitbank Fort – not the most appealing of names, but one incredible piece of British history, and one that has entered our list of ‘must visit’ hotels. David, our Director of Events, recently went and has provided us with an insight into this fascinating place.
First a bit of background
Spitbank Fort is a Napoleonic sea fort built as a result of the 1859 Royal Commission. The fort is one of four located in the Solent, near Portsmouth, England. It is a circular structure fixed into the sea bed on spits of sand (hence the name), and is located about ½ mile from Portsmouth Harbour. The fort was de-activated at the end of the war and decommissioned in 1956 when coastal artillery was abolished but was only sold by the Ministry of Defence in 1982.
Since then the fort has been privately owned and has gone through many guises before finally being bought by Clarenco (who own all three of the forts) and who have transformed the fort into a unique luxury venue like no other, as confirmed by David after his recent visit there. Despite its transformation, the venue still carries a lot of its history; it even provides ‘spit water’ from the well located 140 ft. below the fort. I know you’re dying to try that!
Enough of the history – what’s it like now?
So the fort is now a luxury, exclusive hotel with 8 bedrooms. It can be booked per 24 hours as a package for 16 people(couples) staying for drinks, dinner, overnight and breakfast, the cost being just over £5000. Out of the three Clarenco own, this is the first fort they’ve done up, however they have big plans for the other two as well (the second fort will be a museum and the third a much larger hotel with 30+ rooms).
To start the trip you must catch the private boat from Gun Warf or Portsmouth and take a short 10 minute journey over to the fort where you will enter your own private hotel for the night, or however long you choose to stay. On top of the eight bedrooms you also have a champagne bar, normal bar, restaurant, roof top Jacuzzi, fire pit seating area, conference facilities and much more. David had nothing but good words to say about the food and drink, which is all included within the package price. The amusing part for him, was when he realised that the captain of the boat which had brought them over to the fort, had now become the bar man serving them drinks in the champagne lounge. David couldn’t stress enough about how impressed he was with the staff on the fort, “they were all young, enthusiastic and proud of what they were doing. They offered incredibly good service without being intrusive like some staff can become.”
From a commercial point of view, David suggests this destination would be ideal as an unusual UK board meeting venue. Anything that has to be high security or highly private would be ideally suited for this hotel, as it has to be hired out exclusively – so you won’t be disturbed! It could also be used for a very high incentive event for 7 or 8 top achievers or even as part of a programme, and incorporated with visiting an event like Cowes or Goodwood.
So if you’re looking for something a bit different for your top achievers, then look no further than our own country. It’s not often we find a hotel interesting enough that we blog solely about it, but this one shouldn’t be missed. The fact it’s in the UK makes it even better, as access is easy to negotiate, and the Isle of Wight has so much to offer, it would make a great stopping point as part of a programme. Make sure it’s on your list next time you’re planning an incentive.