Jolted by photographs from this ludicrous Alcatraz Hotel in Kaiserslauten, Germany I recalled an article about prisons & jails converted to tourist accommodations. I guess it makes sense to convert solid and culture-worn stone fortresses into chic hotels such as at the Charles Street Jail/Liberty Hotel, Boston (it seems a shame to waste all that cool masonry) but a prison-theme is downright tacky.

I like the no-nonsense approach of Mount Gambier Jail in Australia which “markets its rooms as budget accommodations for cheapskates and backpackers”. Oxford Castle/Malmaison Hotel in the UK retained the open cell tiers of the prison, just adding some mood uplights for the new plastered ceiling.


Here’s an article on “Slumber Slammers” which points to the larger tawdry scene of architecture-as-theatre for those wantaway tourists whose appetite for the early 21st century now fails them.

Not to be outshone, the Japanese go the farthest in recreating the prison-spectacle with handcuffs, dungeon-krunk, lethally injected cocktails and salads that refer to incest?! Don’t quite understand the link for that last one …

I’d like to begin a discussion here about recuperation, but that is presuming there was ever an element of resistance or meaningful political opposition from these various sites. All we can say for certain is the current histories of these spaces are gradually erasing those of the past.