Do You Have What It Takes to Sleep in an Actual Prison Cell?

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Hotel Het Arresthuis in the Netherlands
©Hotel Het Arresthuis
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Liberty Hotel in Boston
©Dave Fink/Flickr, Creative Commons
Liberty Hotel: Boston

Liberty's previous incarnation, the Charles Street Jail, housed some of Boston's most notorious criminals. It was closed after it was found guilty of violating inmates' constitutional rights. 

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Karosta Prison Hotel in Latvia
©karostascietums/Flickr, Creative Commons
Karosta Prison Hotel: Liepāja, Latvia

At Karosta visitors can not only stay in a former naval port prison, but live the prison lifestyle while held firmly in check by barbed wire and guard dogs. Extreme experiences include a labyrinth and an escape room.

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Fremantle Prison Hostel in Australia
©Jessica Wyld
Fremantle Prison Hostel: Fremantle, Australia

Sleep in actual prison cells at the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison Hostel. The digs are on the site of the prison's women's division, operational from 1855 to 1991. 

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Langholmen Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden
©Langholmen Hotel
Langholmen Hotel: Stockholm

Its setting on a long and narrow island made Langholmen a particularly desolate prison. Today, that solitude adds to this hostel-hotel's charm; the cell block-rooms actually lock, but visitors receive the key. 

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Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam
©Mirjam Bleekerc
Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy: Amsterdam

When it opened in 1920 it was an emigrant hotel, but The Lloyd has also served as a refugee center, artist studios and as a detention center. It has the world's first one- to five-star design; rooms range from no-frills to luxurious.

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The Old Mount Gambier Gaol in South Australia
©Old Mount Gambier Gaol
Old Mount Gambier Gaol: South Australia

Stay in a cell or non-cell room at The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, decommissioned as a jail in 1995. The jail's historic areas—inmate lounge, library and prison chapel—are now common areas.

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Hostel Celica, Ljubljana, Slovenia
©Hostel Celica
Hostel Celica: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Hostel Celica's 20 rooms were converted by 80 artists into a funky, colorful spaces. The Slovenian cell—No. 118—most closely resembles a cell in the former prison and has beds from the Yugoslav era.

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 Four Seasons Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
©Four Seasons
Four Seasons Sultanahmet: Istanbul

As a Four Seasons and a prison prior to that, Sultanahmet has always been a place of beauty: original touches include hand-painted tiles, marble pillars, wooden doors and arched hallways.

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Hotel Katajanokka in Helsinki
©Hotel Katajanokka
Hotel Katajanokka: Helsinki

As a former county prison the oldest part of Hotel Katajanokka dates back to 1837. The open central corridor, red brick outer walls and high perimeter wall are all protected by Finland's National Board of Antiquities. 

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Hotel Liberty in Offenburg, Germany
©Design Hotels
Hotel Liberty: Offenburg, Germany

A former prison for radical thinkers, Hotel Liberty's 38 rooms have oak floors, distressed leather and handcrafted furnishings. Its restaurant is named after prison fare—Wasser & Brot, or water and bread—but is run by a Michelin-starred chef. 

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Hotel Het Arresthuis in the Netherlands
©Hotel Het Arresthuis
Hotel Het Arresthuis: Roermond, The Netherlands

Cells, rec rooms and staff areas from Roermond's former prison take on luxurious new life at Hotel Het Arresthuis. The building dates back to 1863 and still has the original cell doors, cast-iron staircases and barred windows. 

By Jennifer McKee on 09/18/2017

Artsy dorms, plush five-star accommodations and austere cell block-rooms: the conversion of former prisons to modern hotels takes many forms. These captivating spaces have turned their curious pasts into respites full of charm but the curiosity still remains. One thing's for sure: They're places you'll want to escape to, not from.