Hotels That Used To Be A Prison

Elegant Hotel few steps from Sultahnamet’s attractions

Who doesn’t want to stay the night in a hotel steeped in history and tales of convicts past? Converted prisons aren’t as rare as you might think, here’s our top 5!

1.    The Liberty Hotel, Boston, USA ****

The dining room at The Liberty pays homage to its prison roots

The dining room at The Liberty pays homage to its prison roots

Once upon a time, this luxury hotel was the Charles Street Jail. Dating back to 1851, the jail had a whole host of criminals, from WWII German prisoners of war to suffragettes. Today, guests can expect contemporary décor with the latest technology as well as a choice of five onsite drinking and dining venues such as cocktail bar Alibi and modern American restaurant CLINK. Other amenities include a 24 hour health and fitness center and 10 suites with river views. With its stunning granite exterior, The Liberty really is the only place to go in Boston.

2.    Karosta Prison, Liepaja, Latvia

This really is the ultimate prison hotel experience- where you’ll actually be treated like prisoners! You’ll check in with a prison guard before handing over your luggage and enduring a medical examination. Then you’ll receive your prison passport and endure anything from solitary confinement to squats and manual labour. Food consists of stale rye bread, a pickle and Russian tea, but at £7 a night this is a bargain! The hotel (if you can really call it that) is a great choice for team building holidays, stag dos and anyone after a feel of prison life! Tours are also available, where you can learn about this former military prison’s past, used by the Nazis, Soviets and Latvians.

3.    Malmaison, Oxford, UK ****

Malmaison may have been a former prison, but its guest rooms ooze boutique elegance and style

Malmaison may have been a former prison, but its guest rooms ooze boutique elegance and style

This luxury four star hotel was not only the Victorian Oxford Prison, but also built on the remains of a Norman castle. Inside, there are three floors of cells, flooded with natural light from the central windows and even then prisoners thought of it as the Rolls Royce of prisons. Due to overcrowding, the prison was eventually sold and today guest rooms are a far cry from the poor conditions- with plush comfy beds, mood lighting and power showers in all ensuite bathrooms. There’s also a chic cocktail bar, Malbar and the Brasserie which serves mouth-wateringly good classic dishes.

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4.    Courthouse Hotel Kempinski, London, UK *****

The Courthouse once had the likes of John Lennon and Mick Jagger in it's small jail!

The Courthouse once had the likes of John Lennon and Mick Jagger in it’s small jail!

Situated bang in the centre of London in trendy Soho, guests are just a short walk away from the likes of shopping on Oxford Street, the theatres of the West End and top art galleries such as The National Portrait Gallery. As the name might suggest, the hotel was once a magistrates court and below a small jail where the likes of John Lennon and Mick Jagger were held whilst awaiting trial. Besides the fascinating history and excellent location, the hotel features a Thai spa, indoor swimming pool and the Michelin recommended Silk restaurant serving pan-Asian cuisine.

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5.    Four Seasons Hotel at Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey *****

This stunning building looks far from its former prison origins

This stunning building looks far from its former prison origins

Where else do you have the chance to stay in a former Ottoman prison? Formerly, the Sultanahmet Jail, built in 1918, the building once held Istanbul’s political prisoners: intellectuals who opposed Ottoman rule. Located near to top attractions such as the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, it’s the perfect base to explore Istanbul, not to mention the stunning courtyard and luxury boutique feel of the property itself. Other features include a spa and a marble pillar, which still has the etchings of a former prisoner. For drinking and dining, the lounge offers an array of exotic cocktails, whilst the Seasons restaurant uses locally sourced produce with room service available.

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