Hotel bars

A notorious prison in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood is being converted into an upscale hospitality property, the ironically named Liberty Hotel.

Boston’s Charles Street Jail is set to get a new name that its former occupants might not find very funny. This summer, following the completion of a $120-million (€95 million) renovation, the former prison is slated to open as the upscale Liberty Hotel in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.

The Liberty will have 300 rooms, including ten suites with views of the Charles River, certain to be slightly more comfortable than the conditions denizens of the 19th-century prison would have enjoyed.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Carpenter & Co, which is renovating the property, will leave some of the cells in place—most of which will lie in the property’s bar, naturally. The firm has also left a central rotunda and cupola included in the jail’s original plans. Some hotel guests on lower floors will even reportedly be treated to the original bars on their windows—paying several hundred dollars a night for the privilege.

Charles Street Jail: hotel guests welcome

Built in 1851, the jail is on the National Register of Historic Places. But the forbidding structure provided a model for prison architecture in the US throughout the late 19th century. The property was closed by a court order in 1990. With its commanding views of the Charles River and prime location, it was only a matter of time before the site caught the interest of developers. However, the listing on the National Register made preservation a necessity, and those who took on the project are twisting it into a selling point for the hotel, playing up its origins rather than disguising them.

“You’ll know this was a jail,” developer Richard Friedman, who also owns the city’s Charles Hotel, told the Boston Globe.

This isn’t the only former jail gone luxury hotel. In the UK, The HM Oxford Prison, the country’s first, was converted into the swanky Malmaison Oxford last year. There, guests may sleep in converted cells, but they also get a free bottle of wine and access to high speed internet, perks the original residents likely couldn’t imagine