Most people do their best to stay out of prison, but in a few special cases they actually have to pay in order to spend the night in jail. You might think that willingly staying in a prison sounds crazy, but some jails converted to hotels are at the height of luxury. Of course, it all depends on what you’re looking for: some prison hotels retain only the aesthetics (prison chic has never been better than now), while others take the jail treatment further and will also give you a taste of what life in the cell was like before. If you are tired of boring hotel rooms that all look alike, then the top 5 most exciting prison hotels from around the world will probably provide you with enough shivers down your spine.
Liberty Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Charles Street Jail used to be one of the most famous prisons in Boston in the 19th century, and it was based on a quite revolutionary layout arranged around a 90 foot tall atrium. The prison closed in 1990, and over the years some of its most famous inmates included James Michael Curley and Malcolm X. Today the jail is a four-star luxury hotel that retained most of the original structure, especially the famous rotunda.
Mount Gambier Old Gaol, Mount Gambier, Australia
If Charles Street Jail does all it can to pamper its guests, this is not the case with Mount Gambier Old Gaol. The prison was built in the 19th century and was closed in 1995 and a newer bigger prison was opened. The Old Gaol now functions as a hotel, but not the luxury sort, but rather the budget/backpacker kind. Guests can stay in cells or regular rooms and can access the old prison facilities such as the chapel, library and lounge, converted into common areas.
Malmaison Oxford, Oxford, UK
If Victorian prisons are your thing, Malmaison in Oxford is just the right accommodation should you visit the famous British university town. Malmaison seems to have changed very little since the times of Queen Victoria, and the three tiers of cells around a central gallery look eerie and hip at the same time. Back in the days, Malmaison was not bad as jails go, and today it is an interesting luxury boutique hotel.
Jailhotel Löwengraben, Lucerne, Switzerland
Jailhotel Löwengraben is proudly the first prison hotel in Switzerland, and a pretty good one at that. The historic building was built in 1862 and was used as a prison until the late 90′s. Some of the cells were turned into luxurious rooms, but some of them are more low-key and prison-flavored, great for groups of adventurous backpackers.
Karosta Prison Hotel, Liepaja, Latvia
For a KGB-style adventure that includes no comfort, heating, electricity or dinner, you’re invited to stay at Karosta Prison Hotel in Latvia, a place where hotel hospitality seems to have the opposite meaning than in the rest of the world. The former KGB prison was infamously horrible, and if you spend the night there you get the chance to see what it was like to be prisoner in Soviet Russia. ‘Inmates’ follow a fixed schedule, they get a medical exam, are questioned and shuffled into tiny cells – same as real prisoners, except that they are free to leave whenever they want.