If your clients are seeking the ultimate in solitude – and they really mean it – the Frying Pan Tower might be the hotel for them.
The ex-Coast Guard light station is located over 50 km. off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. The tower was built in 1964 to help ships skirt Frying Pan Shoals, a nearby shallow area infamous for shipwrecks.
About 20 Coast Guard cadets lived at the tower full-time during the 1960s and '70s. But the light station was automated in 1979, and the invention of GPS eventually made the tower obsolete.
Richard Neal bought and restored the tower in 2010, and now operates it as a most unlikely hotel. Guests can stay in one of 8 ocean-facing rooms, 5 of which have twin beds; 3 with a queen-size.
It's not a 5 star resort. Basic meal supplies are provided, but ingredients for specific meals must be brought by guests. Visitors generally cook, eat and clean up together in the full-size kitchen, although a chef can be requested while making reservations.
Transportation is not included in the $498 per person cost for 3 days and 2 nights. The hotel provides recommendations for chartering boats if guests do not have their own. Arriving by helicopter is another option.
In an age of stress, little work-life balance and constant connectivity, the Frying Pan Tower answers a growing demand for off-the-grid travel. The ocean is an unlikely spot as any for a hotel, but that only adds to its allure.
What do you do at Frying Pan Tower? Many guests use their own boats to fish during the day, before being hoisted into the 85 ft. tower when they're done. Hitting biodegradable golf balls into the sea is another pastime, as is swinging in hammocks and watching the sun set.
It helps to enjoy the company of those you are travelling with. Family guests often comment that their stay at Frying Pan Tower is the most time they've spent together in their lives.