Once inside, you speak to the manager through large grating, the rooms are very small and have iron bars, breakfast goes through a small crack and the voices of other guests echo in the corridors. This is not the description of a prison but of the Alcatraz Hotel: the prison transformed into a hotel where you can spend a night behind the ebars.
Let’s see together the characteristics of this exciting experience that seems to have become a trend in the world.
The PRISON-HOTEL: the new trend of spending the night in jail
Built in 1867 and functioning as a place of punishment until 2002, the ancient prison of Kaiserslautern, in southwestern Germany, today has the appearance of a design hotel with an evocative name: Alcatraz, the name of the famous prison of maximum security created for particularly dangerous detained.
The structure, despite the renovation, still maintains the appearance of the original prison. The whole hotel is surrounded by a red brick wall and parked in the back is a bus with the words “Alcatraz” which commemorates the transport of prisoners.
But the exterior is not the only thing that refers to the old detention house.
#The reception behind the bars
Once you enter the hotel, the contrast is undeniable: the often modern furniture with attention to detail is mixed with elements belonging to the original prison.
Check-in, for example, is done at the reception in the lobby as in all hotels but with one difference: the reception is behind the bars.
The same goes for the bar and restaurant, equally marked by bars and with elements of the old prison.
The Alcatraz hotel contains 56 rooms and here comes the important choice to make when you book at this hotel: choose a modern room or a cell room?
Some of the rooms were in fact created inside the old cells: they are equipped with iron doors, original metal beds and grating on the windows.
Essentially equipped, they have in-room facilities, but along the communication corridors, groups of collective showers open up on each floor.
On request, customers can rent striped pajamas to sleep or have breakfast served in their room through the serving hatch of the prison, like real prisoners.
This may seem like an extreme choice, yet prison hotels are now becoming a trend in the world.
#The prison-hotel trend
Castles, old villages and ancient churches are being renovated, why not renovating the prisons too?
In the world there are several detention houses that have been transformed into hotels, starting with the United States, where for years there has been discussions on whether to turn the old Alcatraz penitentiary into a hotel.
The trend of spending a night or two behind bars is particularly popular in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland or Sweden.
Perfectly restored and equipped with every contemporary comfort, these unusual hotels boast an audience of all ages and represent a real touristic destination for every city.
Very often they are luxury hotels that retain only a few decorative elements from the original prison, yet there are others where the desire to offer the thrilling experience of spending a night behind the bars prevails.
Would you try it?