It will include a Palace Cinemas complex and plans are in place to convert the former Pentridge B Division into a new Adina hotel built by the TFE Hotels group. This will include conferencing facilities, a restaurant, a day spa and an indoor pool and gym. The former prison chapel will be converted to a function venue for weddings and other events.
Ironically many prisons around the world, closed due to overcrowding and human rights abuse, have re-opened as luxurious hotels. Though in some cases they have been maintained as they were, so that guests can re-live the whole prison experience. Whatever floats your boat!
Here in Australia The Old Melbourne Gaol is being used as a function venue for parties, weddings and corporate events. You can even experience a creepy night tour if you dare.
In Bendigo the former notorious Bendigo jail which housed the likes of Chopper Read has been converted into a state of the art theatre which is also used as a venue for the local school assemblies, graduations and community speech nights.
Travel to Mt Gambier in South Australia and you will find an old low security prison converted into a youth hostel aptly named Jail Backpackers. Here you will find no impressive renovations or luxuries. You will get a bed and a room with a toilet in it, just as the prisoners once did, except now you can lock your room from the inside.
In Latvia you can pay your money to stay overnight in a former KGB prison block and get treated like the scum of the earth as part of the deal! Guests are stripped of their possessions, save their toothbrush on arrival. They are then subjected to shouting and humiliation. After a spartan meal of soup and bread they are thrown into their rooms for the night where they will hear the wardens walking up and down the corridors and the wailings of fellow inmates. In the morning they are thrown out of the jail with no breakfast. Who wouldn’t want to pay money for that?
It is comforting to know that most of these recycled jails have been converted quite tastefully into appropriate accommodation making the most of these structures as a resource. A great example of this is the Malmaison Oxford in the UK which was considered a pretty swish jail (as far as jails went) in its time. At the charming Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey you will be hard pressed to find evidence that it was once a jail with a rather unsavoury past.
It is logical that these prisons purpose built to house a great number of people should be converted to hotels after they have ceased to be prisons. It’s just about choosing the experience you want to have! So how about a Prison Break?!