The Lighthouse turned into an Off-Grid Hotel

From far, the abandoned light tower that looks like a rusting oil rig is actually an adventurous bed and breakfast standing 70 feet above the turquoise blue water and burrowing as deep as 40 feet below the seabed. When it was decommissioned in 1984, nobody thought that the lighthouse in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean could become one of the quirkiest hotels in the world. Today, the Frying Pan Hotel is a fully functional isolated hotel that offers solitude to its guests.

The ex U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse is located 39 miles off the coast of North Carolina. After it was turned into a B&B by Richard O’Neill within a few years, the Frying Pan Hotel became popular for offering an off-the-grid experience. It is not for the faint-hearted, and at least it is not your regular staycation, as the tower is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It is perhaps the only such hotel located in the middle of an ocean. This unusual hotel could be the answer for those seeking ocean adventure in a secluded place. To visit this B&B, book cheap flights to North Carolina and reach the hotel either by helicopter or boat.

Road to Renovation

The lighthouse was built in 1966, and a four-member crew was posted in the tower until the operation was automated in 1979. For 35 years, the tower beamed its light across the Atlantic and guided the ships.

It was officially decommissioned in 2004 due to the advent of GPS in modern ships, making the lighthouse obsolete. It was left unattended for many years. Later in 2010, the tower was sold for $85,000 to North Carolina resident Richard O’Neill, who owns the most dangerous hotel today.

Although Richard is the current owner of this off-grid hotel, it was David Schneider who won it with a bid of $20000. His initial idea is to transform the Diamond Sholas (the twin of the Frying Pan Tower) into a research center miles out at sea.

The five-decade old and abandoned structure, hiding in anonymity, was restored by Richard and some brave volunteers. They transformed the old, abandoned oil rig into an up-and-running Bed & Breakfast in the middle of the sea, catering to the adventurous. He later added a mooring buoy and a lower staircase, making it easily accessible by boat.


The Frying Pan Hotel, your not-so-regular Bed & Breakfast abode for the weekend, offers an exceptional experience. Here, the clock’s existence doesn’t matter, and the rising sun in the east and the setting sun in the west are the only sense of time. The only sound you will hear here is your voice, the American flag waving atop a pole on the helipad, or the generator’s hum.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the luxury of a hotel. With the hot showers, fully functional electricity, a completely well-maintained kitchen, eight ocean-facing Frying Pan Hotel rooms– five twin bedrooms and three queen bedrooms, a 360-degree ocean and sky view, an 80’×80′ helipad, marine adventures, fishing, etc., the Frying Pan Hotel could be your next weekend getaway.

If you are wondering about the water facility, let me clear to you once and for all that the hotel has two bathrooms that utilize the water caught during rainstorms in 11,000-gallon holding tanks. Though it has a generator, the hotel uses solar power 90% of the time. The staff often provides meals; however, most guests prefer fishing in the nearby Gulf Stream.

Today, the Frying Pan Hotel attracts tourists seeking a secluded experience far from the city’s hustle; it also provides a marine adventure that includes scuba diving, boating, and fishing. Furthermore, the hotel has a chef and provides essential food. However, you are encouraged to bring your specific food and participate in group cooking and feasting above the ocean.

How To Be There

If you are genuinely looking forward to walking down the off-beaten tracks, trust me, you must visit this incredible yet simple hotel cloistered amidst the Atlantic. How about living amongst the birds, fish, turtles, other marine creatures, and some hawks and swans in the sky?

If you are genuinely into it, then the Frying Pan Hotel Cost would be $15,50 per person for three days and two nights, covering the meal, transportation, and activities. You can also book a boat or a helicopter at $498 per person and pay additional charges for the hotel, food, and activities. You can spend your weekends in this offshore hotel while indulging in spearfishing and diving.

Risk Factors

The Frying Pan Hotel is one of the 10 most dangerous hotels in the world. However, the hotel is constantly under renovation since its exposure to the sun, water, and constant hurricanes. The management tries its best to keep the tower safe for its guests and staff. Some parts of the tower are occasionally renovated and sometimes replaced so that no one falls off while leaning or holding it.

The owner Richard O’Neil says it is pretty safe to stay here, as he with his family stayed in the tower during the hurricane and survived the night without any casualties.

Because of its location, nobody can predict when things will turn south for the hotel’s residents. Guests are required to sign a waiver before embarking on this voyage and are needed to follow some strict instructions to avoid risks.


If you are here to experience life in the ocean, you are in for some marine adventures. The hotel offers some exciting activities, and guests can engage in them to catch more thrill.


Golf in this small B&B! Sounds crazy? Not at all, if you have seen its helipad. However, there are no holes, and anybody can win the game. This game is all about shooting the ball made out of fish food into the ocean to feed the fish and trust me; you can even get a glimpse of pods.


It is said that fishing needs patience, time, and persistence. But it’s not true if your fishing spot is in the Atlantic. If you relish seafood, this is your golden chance to catch some by yourself and cook them. If luck favours you, you can even get a glimpse of sharks too.

Scuba Diving

You can participate in diving only under the supervision of professionals. While diving, you can get mesmerized by the colorful marine creatures.

Beautiful Sunrise, Sunset, Starry Sky, and the Moon

Even if you are not a morning person, you must wake up early to witness the most divine sunrise over the ocean. The sunset is equally awe-inspiring. On a clear night, the sky boasts millions of stars. Trust me; you can spend the entire night stargazing while listening to the hums of the waves.

What to Pack

You do not have to carry a lot of luggage here. The hotel asks you to pack light, as you can get tools, safety glasses, and gloves in the hotel itself. At night, it becomes cold here, hence you can carry some warm clothes, a raincoat would be better if it rains. The weather is very unpredictable here. Pack accordingly. If you have a specific food choice, you are free to bring the ingredients and cook in the hotel.

Wrap Up

The Frying Pan Hotel itself is an adventure, and its story is as thrilling as its location. There is a constant struggle to preserve and protect the tower in the hurricane alley. However, it is a labor of love for Richard and his team, and they are expecting to keep the tower up and running for the next fifty years.