Once meant for criminals, these former prisons are experiencing a glamorous revival, transformed into some of the most luxurious hotels. Preserving the original layout as well as exposing traditional brickwork and iron features, dark and uninspiring canteen areas are now elegant hotel lobbies and the quadrangular prison cells are converted into chic and comfortable suits. Housing some high profile convicts in the past, these premises are now welcoming classy travellers and celebrities, looking for a luxurious yet unconventional stay.
The Liberty Hotel, Boston, USA
Formerly known as the Charles Street Jail, this impressive granite architecture was home to some of the famous criminals of the time, such as Malcolm X and Sacco and Vanzetti. It also hosted the former Boston mayor James Michael Curley, who served five months of his term in this prison following a conviction for mail fraud.
The Quincy granite structure was completed in 1851, by architect Fox Bryant and prison reform advocate Louis Dwight. The jail closed in 1990 and reopened in September 2007 as the luxurious and vibrant Liberty Hotel. It is located in very close proximity to the wealthy neighbourhood of Boston, which was raising eyebrows ever since it was built, but it is a definite advantage for the building’s recent new role.
The traditional for every jail octagonal rotunda, raises some 27m tall atrium providing spectacular views from every mezzanine floor. The original features of the design offer good airflow and plenty of sunlight – a definite plus for the guests of the Liberty Hotel. Reinforcing the unique hospitality experience are some of the prison cell, which are preserved in their original shape and simply furnished with trendy furnishing, ideal for an afternoon cocktail. The rest, were all transformed into 298 luxury room.
Het Arresthuis, Roermond, Netherlands
The Net Arresthuis in the historic city of Roermond is certainly a special experience. Used as a detention centre between 1863 and 2007, this building was never voluntarily visited until now. Permanently closed in 2007, the prison underwent complete structural transformation opening doors in April 2011 as luxury hotel.
Located 110 miles from Amsterdam in the Netherland’s southeast corner the Het Arresthuis used to have 105 cells, which are now converted into 40 trendy and comfortable rooms. The names of these rooms have a reference to popular prison terms, such as the lawyer, the judge, and the warder. All rooms and suits open to a spacious and airy lounge, which was formerly the prison hallway and still preserving some of the original features. All rooms are fitted with every convenience, from private bathrooms with rain shower to desks, minibars, flat screen tv and sitting area.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul Sultanahmet is in the centre of Istanbul’s Old Town. Designed in the Turkish neoclassical style by architect Mimar Kemaleddin Bey, Sultanahmet Prison was constructed in the early 1900s. The building is three-storey with a landscaped courtyard all in neo-classic style, with stunning views of Istanbul’s old town and the iconic Hagia Sophia.
After closing in 1969 the Four Seasons group took over the impressive property in the 1990s, revamping it into one of the most luxurious hotels of the city. Offering high-end accommodation along with original works of Turkish artisans such as handwoven Turkish rugs, carvings and mosaic. The former jail’s courtyard is now transformed into a beautiful garden, featuring a glass pavilion with Turkish and Ottoman period features. Many of the original architectural features were preserved, including the hand-pained tile floors and arched doorway and windows, adding to the truly authentic hospitality experience.