There are seaside stays and there are sea-side stays and sea views don’t get much better than at No Man’s Fort.
Built between 1867 and 1890 to protect Portsmouth from Napoleon III, Spitbank Fort and its sister No Man’s Fort provide luxurious accommodation and five-star service all the way.
Best of all, they’re just a few minutes away from Gunwharf Quays by boat, allowing you to enjoy the ultimate getaway without a lengthy road trip or long-haul flight.
Stay at No Man’s Fort and you’ll find 23 bedrooms, a French restaurant, a mess hall and cabaret bar, plus rooms for snooker, snuggling up with a book or just lounging.Head to the roof and there are helipads, a lighthouse, a sun deck and, best of all, bubbling hot tubs which look directly out over the sea.
Everything has been designed with fun in mind and nothing is too much trouble for the enthusiastic team, who make you feel like an extremely pampered house guest.
Fancy a spot of fishing? No problem. Rods and bait are supplied: we tried (and failed) to fish for our supper. Want to enjoy afternoon tea from a deckchair on the roof? No problem. Want to toast marshmallows on an open fire after dark with a tot of rum? Just ask. You can have a laser battle in the basement if the mood takes you and kayaks and RIB rides if you want to brave the waves. Even the boat transfers to and from the fort add to the experience.
But best of all is the invitation to roam freely and explore the fort itself, where soldiers once swung from hammocks hung from the iron beams and huge guns stood ready to fight off enemy ships.
Dining here is included in the price of a stay, with breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner served in style. And the food is really good too, which is all the more impressive when you consider that everything is delivered by boat.
Wake up and you’ll see nothing but sea from your bedroom porthole. Spend the evening star gazing from the lighthouse and you have uninterrupted views across the sky. Bliss.
Overnight stays start at £389 and include a glass of Prosecco on arrival and full board. Corporate day delegate packages start at £99 per person and lunch visits at £89. Transfers by boat are included.
023 9280 9767. www.solentforts.com