10 former prisons turned hotels where guests pay to sleep in inmates’ cells

Spending a night in prison doesn’t exactly sound appealing – or so you’d think – yet some people are choosing to spend the night in cells, and they’re paying for the privilege too.

However, no crime has been committed; these are former prisons which have been transformed into everything from luxury and elegant hotels to quirky budget-friendly hostels.

Forget the bare essentials you’d receive in prison. Here it’s all about fine dining, comfortable beds, staff on hand to cater to your needs and heaps of extra amenities that puts your comfort first.

Oh, and of course you can leave whenever you choose (as long as you check out!).

Here we take a look at 10 former prisons around the world that have been transformed into hotels…

1. Langholmen Hotell, Stockholm, Sweden

Långholmen’s history as a correction facility dates back to 1724. The prison expanded over the years before eventually being closed in 1975.

Today the hotel offers a prison museum to offer an insight into the living conditions of former prisoners, while the cells have been converted into comfortable rooms with all the basics you need for a fuss-free stay.

How much? Double rooms start from £86 per night on Hotels.com .

2. Het Arresthuis, the Netherlands

If you’re after somewhere with a full prison theme, then Het Arresthuis won’t disappoint.

The corridors and interiors are all themed around its former prison roots, with all of the rooms and suites named after some of the features from cells to jailers.

Speaking of the cells, these have been converted into larger rooms (the smallest room size is made of three cells), while there are also luxury suites on offer.

The prison yard now serves as an al fresco dining spot, or if you’re after a bit of indulgence why not visit the fitness and wellness centre. Or there’s always the swanky High Tea to be had in the afternoons (we imagine this wasn’t on offer for the prisoners).

How much? Prices start from £117 per night on TripAdvisor .

3. The Liberty, Boston, USA

Long gone are the days when those staying in the rooms and halls were living with the basic essentials in what was the Charles Street Jail. (The most famous inmate is Malcolm X).

The prison was known for its octagonal rotunda, to segregate prisoners by category of offences.

Nowadays the rotunda serves as the lobby of this seriously swanky institute with its large bedrooms, plush furniture and elegant decor.

As for entertainment? No need to sit bored in a cell – the hotel has two restaurants, four bars and even its own nightclub.

How much? Double rooms start from £152 per night on Hotels.com .

4. Clink78, London

This former courthouse turned into a budget-friendly hostel has all the basics you need for an overnight stay, whether you’re looking to sleep in a large dorm room or want an individual ‘cell’ for yourself.

Located in London’s King’s Cross, the hotel has an on-site kitchen, bar and reception, as well as laundry services and a small shop.

How much? Rooms start from £16.73 per night on Hostelworld , based on two people sleeping in one of the dorm rooms. Individual twin rooms start from £68.87 per night.

5. Alcatraz Hotel, Kaiserslautern, Gemany

What was once a German prison is now a boutique hotel with 56 rooms, suites and even a conference centre.

Expected prison cell-inspired rooms with barred windows, original prison beds which were built by inmates, and even a washbasin and toilet in each room.

Of course there are some modern comforts such as free Wi-Fi, as well conventional hotel rooms and suites for those who don’t quite want the full prison them.

How much? Double rooms start from £43 per night on Booking.com .

6. Hotel Katajanokka, Helsinki, Finland

Originally opened as the Helsinki County Prison, it was only in 2002 that the building stopped being a prison. It took five years of extensive renovations to turn it into a luxe hotel, which opened its doors in May 2007.

The main hallway and the building’s exterior have been protected, so you can still find elements of the prison as you wander through.

However, when it comes to the rooms you’ll find comfortable and spacious offerings with large beds, ensuite bathrooms and even cosy armchairs and lounge areas.

How much? Double rooms start from £103 a night on Hotels.com .

7. Ottawa Jail Hostel, Canada

This old jail in the Canadian capital now serves as a cheap hostel that’s ideal for those on a budget.

Guests can also get a tour of the building and learn a little more about the former residents and the prison’s fascinating history.

Expect dorms with cosy bunk beds as well as individual rooms, all tucked away in the former cells which have been given a modern update.

How much? Prices start from £20 per night on Booking.com .

8. Malmaison Oxford, UK

Malmaison Oxford boasts a pretty fascinating history having started life as a medieval castle and fortress before it became HM Prison Oxford from 1888 to 1996, after which it was turned into a hotel.

Nowadays the renovated prison cells offer spacious rooms with large beds, ensuites with high-power showers and flat screen LCD TVs, while some cells have been converted to form the on-site dining rooms where you’ll find plenty of gourmet dishes on offer.

How much? Double rooms start from £149 a night on Hotels.com .

9. Q Station in Sydney

Sydney’s former Quarantine Station has now become Sydney’s only hotel with a private beach – and it’s seriously luxurious.

Although not actually a prison, it first served as the quarantine accommodation for migrants arriving in Australia, to check them for ship-borne diseases. They were only allowed to leave once it was deemed safe to let them go.

The buildings and interiors have been kept in their original condition, albeit with a modern update to offer basic amenities such as heating, while renovations have ensured they are kept to their best standard.

Ghost hunters may also love the Ghost & Paranormal tours on offer around the site, which is said to be haunted.

How much? Prices start from £76 per night on Booking.com .

10. Four Seasons Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Originally constructed built as a jail, nowadays those who spend the night here are sure to have a much, much more comfortable (and luxurious!) stay.

We’re talking chic and elegant rooms and suites with breathtaking views, staff on hand 24/7 to cater to your every need, landscaped gardens, opulent decors… a far cry from the basic cells where prisoners would have stayed.

How much? Prices start from £210 a night on TripAdvisor .

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