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Prison Hotels and Hostels
There is a new kind of hotel and 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. 

a 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 feedback. Thanks.

Prison and Jail Hotels and Hostels
Actual prisons and jails converted into hotels and hostels.

  • Mount Gambier Jail Hostel, Mount Gambier, South Australia. (also known as The Jail)Refurbished 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 Zealand

  • King George Inn & Spa, Cobourg, Ontario. Modern rooms.  Formerly 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.  Review TripAdvisor.
  • Ottawa Jail Hostel, Ottawa, Ontario. (also known as the Nicolas Street Jail Hostel). Modern rooms.  Formerly 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: Yahoo!
Czech Republic
  • Malmaison Oxford Hotel, Oxford. 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 Hostel, Colditz. 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 prison-like atmosphere.  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.
New Zealand
  • Napier Prison Backpackers and Tours Hostel, Napier. A youth hostel.  Formerly the 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:   Yahoo

  • Langholmen Hotel and Hostel, (Reservations) Located on Green Island in Stockholm. Superior Tourist. Comfortable rooms .  The 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 VirtualTourist, TripAdvisor  

  • Lowengraben Jail Hotel, Lucerne. Modern 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.  Reviews:   Realtravel, TripAdvisor

United States
  • Comfort Inn Alamo Riverwalk, San Antonio, Texas. Modern rooms.  The hotel is housed in the historical 1878 Bexar County Jail building, adjacent to the Spanish Governor's Palace.   Reviews:   TripAdvisor, TravelPost.

  • The Liberty Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts. Modern rooms.  Formerly the Charles Street Jail, completed in 1851 and used until 1990.  The jail became a prototype design which greatly influenced prison construction in the United States and abroad.  Review:   TripAdvisor.

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