The mere thought of ending up in a cold and dark prison cell sends shivers down my spine. But add to that Wi-Fi, four poster beds, an exclusive breakfast spread, cocktail corners with around the clock butler service, and the idea may not seem so daunting.
Turning imagination into reality, these luxe hotels, built around former prisons are anything but criminal. Don’t agree with us? Scroll right for an insight into what these luxe hotels look like.
Het Arresthuis, Netherlands
Dating back to 1836, Het Arresthuis used to be a prison holding block for small-time criminals. This old Dutch prison was closed in 2007 and was remodelled into the now Het Arresthuis luxe hotel. This unique accommodation features 40 rooms and four luxury suites, all converted into living spaces from what used to be prison cells. The hotel also has a sauna, fitness center, a banquet room for formal gatherings and a fine dining restaurant, Damianz. The only traces of the former prison that can be seen are the doors to the rooms, which are still the original cell doors!
Liberty Hotel, Boston
Step inside the chic lobby of the Liberty Hotel located in Boston’s prestigious Beacon Hill neighbourhood, and you will never guess what lies beneath. This extensive granite looking structure was once a part of the Charles Street Jail that housed some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. With an increasing number of prisoners and depreciating conditions, the jail was considered unfit for human occupation and closed in 1990. Today, this former prison is an abode of luxury with top-notch amenities for their guests and houses Clink, Boston’s upscale dining restaurant and lounge. Now here’s a prison we wouldn’t mind committing a crime for.
Four Seasons Sultanahmet, Istanbul
Known today for their impeccable services, stylish interiors and neoclassical exteriors, the Four Seasons Sultanahmet was the first established jailhouse of the Ottoman Empire, where several famous political prisoners were kept guard. Today, this premier hotel is a top choice of accommodation for travellers coming to Istanbul. The hotel features 65 luxury guest rooms and five restaurants serving a delightful mix of cuisines, complete with a well-manicured herb garden. The only reminiscent features from the prison that remain today are the guard watch towers, their intimidation disappearing with the sunny yellow façade of the hotel’s exterior.
Malmaison Oxford, United Kingdom
Seen in the movie Spy Game, as a sinister and miserable Chinese penitentiary, the Oxford Castle was not a place where you could hope to enjoy the pleasant British summer. Remodelled to Malmaison, the then gory and might we add, slightly spooky English prison now displays a cheerful and upbeat vibe with red-carpeted hallways, gothic lounges and 94 luxe rooms and suites. Gaining popularity with their dungeon restaurant and classic afternoon tea, the Malmaison Oxford camouflages the horrors of the past, giving way to a swanky and urban setting in Oxford’s otherwise Victorian neighbourhood.
Sook Station, Bangkok
Bangkok’s Sook Station is where you need to head if you want to experience what it really is like to be behind bars. Mimicking the concept of an actual prison, visitors to this boutique hotel get a mugshot taken upon arrival, are given a set of black and white striped pajamas and an inmate number! The sizes of the room are similar to that of prison cells and Sook even has a communal bathroom, to add more to the jailhouse feel. Although it may sound uncomfortable, this jail comes with a hot-tub, an elegant co-working space for business travellers and an in-house coffee shop. Not too bad for a prison, right?
Take your mind off bleak prisons and check-out these sustainable and eco-friendly resorts.