There is a new kind of
hostel*that is beginning to appear in the lodging world. That is
an accommodation that was previously a real prison or jail. Some of
these are basically modern hotels, some even luxurious, that have only
retained the exterior building. Others are hotels or hostels that have
extensively refurbished the building interior but retained some of the original items
such as the bars on the windows. Finally, there are a few that have
been turned into hostels where the prison interior has been basically left
intact. You really do feel like a prisoner if you stay there.
This latter category is only for someone who wants to actually have a real
prison experience and doesn't mind roughing it for a night.
hostel is a place where you can rent a very basic room for the night or
sleep in a dormitory bunk beds. There are common bathrooms, kitchens
and lounge area along some hostels have private rooms with baths.
Unusual Hotels of the World. This is a beautiful website with
excellent information and pictures on unusual places to stay in the world
from prisons and jails (they listed 3 the last time we checked) that have been converted to hotels and hostels, to igloos, caves, tree
houses and much more.
If you want to search the web for a prison or
jail hotel, just enter the country name and include the words prison jail
hotel or prison jail hostel. There are so few in the world
that entering a city name won't help unless you know the city has one.
Once you have found a prison lodging, you should do a separate search using
the name of the prison hotel or hostel plus the word reviews to get
some first-hand accounts of staying there. We include some in our list
below. We are not affiliated with any of these listings.
This is our extensive list. If we have missed one, please send us
Prison and Jail Hotels and Hostels
and jails converted into hotels and hostels.
Mount Gambier Jail Hostel, Mount Gambier,
(also known as
original jail cells and dorm rooms.
Primarily for backpackers but anyone can stay there.
Formerly the Mount Gambier Jail that was built in 1864 and
used until recently. This was the oldest jail in New
King George Inn &
Spa, Cobourg, Ontario.
the Provincial Jail, it was constructed in 1906 but
has had many additions and improvements since then. The
front of the Building was originally the Governors Mansion
complete with Maids Quarters. Over the years, the building
evolved into the Jail's Administrative Office.
Ottawa Jail Hostel, Ottawa, Ontario.
(also known as the Nicolas
Street Jail Hostel). Modern rooms.
the Carleton County Gaol (Jail) built in 1862 and
used until 1972. For a detailed history including
ghost stories, see this
article. Here is a good
article from hostelworld.com. Review:
Modern rooms. Formerly
Oxford Prison, the building has undergone extensive
renovation and is the first prison in the United Kingdom to
be converted to a hotel.
Colditz Castle Youth
Modern rooms. Part
of Colditz Castle which was used by the Nazis to house
allied prisoners during World War II has been converted into
a Youth hostel.
Karasta Prison Hotel, Liepaja.
(also known as the Liepaja
Prison Hotel). No separate hotel website in English.
We take you to a reservation service.
Original cells and
Actors play the role of prison guards. Not for the typical tourist!
Formerly a military prison that was built in 1900 and used
until 1997. Over the years, as Latvia came under the control
of various countries, the prisoners changed as well. Among
them were revolutionaries and non-commissioned officers of
the Tsarist army, deserters from the German Wehrmacht, and
enemies of the people in Stalinís times, and soldiers of
both the Soviet and Latvian armies. Instead of staying
overnight, you can just take a 3-hour tour that includes a
recreated prison experience with you as an incoming prisoner
so you can get some appreciation for what it was like to be
a prisoner. Reviews:
Guardian Newspaper article.
Backpackers and Tours Hostel,
Napier. A youth
oldest prison in New Zealand. Built in 1858 and
decommissioned in 1993. They have cells, dorms,
singles and doubles available which have comfy duvets on the
beds. The hostel is just minutes from the town, the beach
and the Ocean Spa. Includes free internet, free
pick-up and drop-off by arrangement, discounted tour of the
prison, free tea, coffee, luggage storage. There is also a
BBQ, bikes, laundry, and the staff is friendly and the
hostel is secure. Reviews:
Hotel and Hostel,
Located on Green Island in Stockholm.
Superior Tourist. Comfortable
hotel is housed in the old Crown prison built in 1840. The
prison was closed in 1975 and opened as a hotel in 1989. It
was renovated again in 2001 and is now a modern 102 guest
rooms hotel full of character but with facilities up to
modern standards. The old prison entrance hall has been
converted into the reception area, with a cafeteria open 24
hours a day. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar and a
conference center with 8 meeting and conference rooms. Reviews:
Lowengraben Jail Hotel,
rooms but with some original touches like bars on the
windows. A tourist-class hotel.
Formerly a prison built in 18962 and used up until 1998.
This is the first prison hotel in Switzerland.
Alamo Riverwalk, San Antonio,
rooms. The hotel is housed in the historical 1878
Bexar County Jail building, adjacent to the Spanish
The Liberty Hotel,
Formerly the Charles Street Jail,
completed in 1851 and used until 1990.
became a prototype design which greatly influenced prison
construction in the United States and abroad.