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Criminal Justice

Former prisons get reinvented as chic hotels

Posted Nov 8, 2013 6:49 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A prison in Instanbul that was depicted in the movie Midnight Express is still attracting people today, though the inhabitants are staying there voluntarily.

The former prison has been transformed into a Four Seasons hotel, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. It’s one of at least a dozen prison-to-hotel conversions that gained popularity overseas before spreading to the United States.

“In an effort to capture the hip, affluent traveler's imagination,” the story says, “developers have reinvented farmhouses, monasteries, caves, even a Boeing 747 jet as chic new lodgings. But the industry's budding global trend is to transform hubs of incarceration into boutique hotels, reveling in the paradox of charging guests to sleep where the original inhabitants dreamed of escape.”

The new lodgings include the Liberty Hotel in Boston, a former jail that once housed the Boston Strangler, and the Jailhouse Inn in Newport, R.I., a former jail and police station.

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