It was built for Fred Karno by architect Frank Matcham in 1912. When World War I started in 1914, the resort was popular with returning military officers and their families and staged picnics and entertainment at times for wounded soldiers. In 1925 Fred Karno declared bankruptcy. It changed hands several times and in 1972 the hotel, dilapidated, was demolished. Fire destroyed all the other buildings at the resort.
An 11-minute film of the recreation on the lower canalised Thames in 1924 has footage devoted to the Karsino, preceded by the intertitle (titlecard): "There are ample facilities for gaiety here too – for opposite is the famous Karsino, on Tagg's Island".