Once correctional facilities, these buildings have been converted into luxury prison hotels, boasting unique architecture, comfortable rooms and fine dining.
Today, many retain original features, making it possible to spend the night in a prison cell – with a little added comfort.
Het Arresthuis, Roermond Netherlands
Close to the German border sits the picturesque and quiet Dutch town of Roermond, which is home to Het Arresthuis, a former state prison until its refurbishment into a hotel in 2011.
Former prison cells are now known as comfort cells for guests, and recreation rooms, once the main area of respite for prisoners, are packaged as more luxurious deluxe cells.
While the building’s structure is still reminiscent of its less glamourous days, guests can be assured of the usual hotel luxuries complete with flat screen TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and rain showers.
Malmaison, Oxford UK
If converted prison hotels aren’t unusual enough, what about one that’s housed in a medieval castle?
The Malmaison Oxford, a former prison reimagined as a boutique hotel, incorporates original castle brick walls and repainted prison doors as part of its interiors.
For a truly unique experience, the hotel also offers wedding and civil ceremonies for the more adventurous couples out there.
Four Seasons Sultanahmet, Istanbul
Running as a prison from 1919 to 1969, the Four Seasons Sultanahmet is a luxurious five-star hotel in Istanbul’s Old City, and a stone’s throw away from the famous Haghia Sophia and Blue Mosque.
Modelled in a neoclassical style, the hotel bear little semblance to its former self, with opulent furnishings, marble bathrooms complete with deep soaking tubs and large plasma TVs among its offering.
Formerly one of the largest prisons in Sweden with over 500 cells, Langholmen is now a multi-purpose centre incorporating a hotel, hostel, conference centre, restaurant and prison museum.
Having operated from 1725 to 1975, the prison was given a major facelift with warm pastels, polished wood and contemporary fixtures. Couples are also encouraged to stay at romantic cells which offer sparkling wine, chocolate, dressing gowns and slippers.
The Liberty, Boston
The Liberty is housed in the former Charles Street Jail, constructed in 1851 and formerly housing inmates such as Malcolm X and World War II prisoners of war. Today, this architectural gem has been redesigned to house a luxury hotel and six different bars and restaurants.
While the former prison cells were just 7m2, the 298 rooms and suites range from 37m2 to 74m2. Guests can expect advanced technology and contemporary style, including mahogany woods and touches of stainless steel. Those wishing to see the original prison should head to CLINK restaurant, where guests can sit in parts of the original cells while enjoying modern American cuisine.
Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy, Amsterdam
A first look at Lloyd Hotel will leave you wondering how it could have been a former prison. The hotel’s chic design, along with Dutch designer furniture and décor, paint an overall cool and modern aesthetic. Before its makeover however, it used to house immigrants before becoming a prison, a collection of artists’ studios and finally Lloyd Hotel in 2004.
The hotel is also the world’s first one-to-five star design hotel, meaning rooms range from cosy one-star rooms to deluxe five-star suites complete with lavish fittings such as grand pianos, hammocks and chandeliers.
Best Western Premier Katajanokka, Finland
Best Western Katajanokka was previously the Helsinki Country Prison, serving pre-trial criminals from Southern Finland between 1837 and 2002. Extensive renovations, reportedly costing €15 million, were undertaken in order to create the hotel, although strict guidelines concerning historic buildings means the exterior remains largely unchanged.
Sets of two or three cells were combined to create spacious and comfortable four-star hotel rooms, ranging from queen rooms to junior suites, accessible by the original prison corridor.
Not technically a luxury hotel, but certainly a “posh hostel”, Clink78 is found in a 200 year-old courthouse. The former courtrooms now serve as a TV and film lounge and a computer room, complete with the judge’s podium and witness and usher stands.
Guests can also choose to sleep in one of the original prison cells, which accommodate one or two people in bunk beds. Original features such as the heavy metal door, barred windows and steel toilet (no longer in use) remain, but the cells have been refurbished to add colour, warmth and humour.