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Top 5 – Hotels Built in Former Prisons

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Imagine staying at a luxurious hotel with all the modern amenities you can dream of but with a bizarre twist - it was a former prison. Yes, some posh hotels were actually former prisons with the vestiges of their past glory still evident! And no, you don’t have to worry about a prisoner knocking on your door though there is no guarantee that you might not hear the sounds of prisoners while you are sleeping. Here is our top 5 of the best hotels built in former prisons!

The Liberty Hotel – A Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel – Boston
An estimate of $150 million was used to convert Charles Street Jail into this luxurious 300 guestroom hotel. The jail, which was closed in 1990, was formerly home to President Woodrow Wilson’s protesters and war prisoners of WWII. Exhibiting a combination of historic and modern architecture of unsurpassed beauty, the Liberty Hotel – A Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel was opened in September 2007. Vestiges of the prison can be seen in the spellbinding windows and right within the lobby bar in addition to the rotunda. The lavish guestrooms also include 10 suites, which offer scenic river view. Amenities include flat LCD TV, Internet, private bar with martini set and much more.

Hotel Malmaison Oxford – Oxford
This hotel is actually a reconstruction of an old castle and a prison. Oxford Castle was first converted into HM Prison Oxford to house local prisoners. But in 1996, the prison was closed and converted into a lovely boutique hotel called Hotel Malmaison Oxford, which opened its doors in November, 2005. To find out how it feels to sleep in a luxurious prison cell, opt for one of the A wing rooms, which retain the tall barred windows and iron cell doors. And enjoy amenities like free Wi-Fi, tantalising toiletries, plasma TV not to mention the coolest ever cocktail at MALBAR.

Best Western Hotel Katajanokka – Helsinki
Finland’s very first premier hotel, Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka is actually a reconstruction of the County Helsinki prison. The prison was opened in 1837 and housed local prisoners before closing in 2002. It was converted into Finland’s luxurious 106 guestroom hotel, which opened its doors in May 2007. The evidence of its former prison glory can be seen in the hotel’s white wing. With amenities like flat screen TV, iron, kettle, minibar and more, a stay at this hotel is nothing short of remarkable.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet – Istanbul
The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet in Istanbul is located in Istanbul’s Old City, this luxurious 65 guestroom hotel was formerly a Turkish prison, Sultanahmet Jail. Ottoman Empire’s very first jail housed mainly those serving brief sentences or waiting for trial. Having a Turkish neoclassical architecture, it was closed in 1969 and converted into a luxurious hotel, which opened its doors in 1996. Though the jail’s neoclassical architecture was still maintained, the hotel was fashioned after the Toronto based Four Seasons Hotel. Amenities include free Internet, DVD player, plasma TV, lavish marble bathroom and more.

The Lloyd Hotel Cultural Embassy – Amsterdam
The world’s first hotel to offer 1 star to 5 star services, the Lloyd Hotel Cultural Embassy opened its doors in November 2004. Prior to conversion into a hotel, the site’s former building was used as a prison for housing war prisoners during the German occupation. It continued as a prison, then detention centre and later as an artist studio until 1999 before becoming the 117 guestroom Lloyd Hotel. Amenities include Internet, a trendy bar, a gift shop and more. For a taste of prison life, opt for one of the guestrooms with 1 star rating.

If you yearn to experience something truly surreal at least once in your lifetime, then don’t miss the exciting opportunity to stay at any of the above hotels! An exceptional combination of historic and modern architecture with all the latest amenities but with an extraordinary twist is surely something not to be missed, don’t you agree? Who knows, you may even have invisible but harmless night visitors to make your stay truly… unforgettable!

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Venere Travel Blog writer paul burn


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