By Ken Hegan for MSN

A Dutch prison has been turned into a luxury hotel.

Similar to the English hotel Malmaison Oxford (which used to be Oxford Prison), the Netherlands’ Het Arresthuis is now a classy inn that you arrive at in your Bentley instead of fleeing by tunnelling out.

The old cell doors still remain but the prisoners are long gone (I hope). As the Het Arresthuis website says, “Today, people can enjoy a care-free and casual stay here.”

I’m sure it’s 100% Not Haunted At All.


From its opening in 1862 to its final shuttering in 2007, Het Arresthuis was one of the Netherlands’ most feared prisons. According to the Daily Mail, Het Arresthuis “quickly established a reputation as an intimidating jail.” As opposed to those soothing, mellow, welcoming prisons I keep hearing about.

Het Arresthuis

Het Arresthuis used to be like the Hotel California; you could check out any time you liked but you could never leave. Now you can come and go as you please, while still enjoying the pleasure of sleeping in an old cell. The prison’s 105 cells have been converted into 40 spacious rooms that rent for €138.50 ($186.33 CDN) to €213.50 ($287.63 CDN) a night for a suite like the Lawyer Suite, Director Suite, Jailer Suite, or Judge Suite. The suites used to be the warden’s chambers and inmate sports area.


The design is chic and the furnishings are modern (well, that’s according to the Daily Mail who may be easily impressed). There’s also a restaurant, bar, patio, and nice staff who promise not to beat you much.

PartyAmenities include laundry, drycleaning, mini-bar, coffee machine, 2 flat screen TVs, a phone to call your attorney, rain shower (perhaps inspired by The Shawshank Redemption?), air conditioning, your own toilet, hair dryer, slippers, bathrobes (with your prisoner number on the back), and luxury bath products. There’s free wi-fi, so you no longer have to tap on your radiator pipe to communicate with other guests.

There’s also room service, and I don’t mean the kind of service you used to get here in the dead of night when you’d wake up to find your cellmate spooning you in your bunk.

If you’re the romantic sort, surprise your cellmate with rose petals, flowers, chocolates, or Rituals beauty products. Het Arresthuis also accommodates meetings, parties, receptions, and weddings (!). Breakfast is included and at special dinner parties you can pay more to dress up in prisoner costumes. I’m not making this up.

To book your stretch, visit

— Ken Hegan  


Read more of Ken’s travel stories here

Twitter: @KenHegan

Photos courtesy Het Arresthuis