Summerland was opened on 25 May 1971. A climate-controlled building covering 3.5 acres (14,000 m2) on Douglas's waterfront, consisting of 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) of floor area at a cost of £ 2 million. Summerland was designed to accommodate up to 10,000 tourists and comprised a dance area, five floors of holiday games, restaurants and public bars. It was a 1960s concrete design incorporating advanced controlled internal climate, built with novel construction techniques using new plastic materials. The street frontage and part of the roof was clad in Oroglas, a transparent acrylic glass sheeting.
The Summerland disaster occurred when a fire spread through the Summerland leisure centre in Douglas on the Isle of Man on the night of 2 August 1973. 50 people were killed and 80 seriously injured.