Vacation behind bars?

Apparently, jail houses rock. In Sri Lanka, Galle prison, a centuries-old UN World Heritage site, is being converted into a hotel. On June 16, The Daily News reported the plans of Kingsley Wickramaratne, governor of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, to develop the prison. The governor has said that rooms will be no-frills prison cells complete with iron bars, and that guests will be issued prison uniforms when they check in.

Galle Prison is not the only jail that’s being adapted into lodging. In Boston, Richard Friedman is converting the 19th-century Charles Street Jail into a four-star hotel. Friedman’s luxury hotel is expected to open in early 2007. “A restaurant, complete with jail theme, and several unique guest rooms will also be added,�? explains a March 2005 article in the Boston Business Journal. “Window bars and select cellblocks will remain intact to meet historical-preservation requirements while ensuring the hotel maintains its personality and historic appeal.�?

Wickramaratne and Friedman aren’t the first to jump on the wagon when it comes to prison hotels. In Sweden, tourists can stay at Langholmen. The hotel is located in the Old Crown Prison, built in the early 19th century. “We have 89 single and 13 double cells, of which 10 have facilities for the disabled,�? says the hotel’s website. Guests at Langholmen need not dine on food and water; the hotel has a restaurant as well as a café.

In South Africa, the Breakwater Lodge is housed in what was once the Industrial Breakwater Prison, built in 1902. The hotel, near Cape Town’s waterfront, offers budget accommodations.

One Response to Vacation behind bars?

  1. Gil Zeimer says:

    Fascinating story on jail houses that later house people. There has been much discussion over the years in San Francisco about turning Alcatraz Federal Prison into a hotel/casino. But nothing’s ever come of it.
    Thanks again for your blog,

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