May 09, 2009

Struth! A Night in the Dungeon

Malmaison Prison Hotel Oxford

IN his continuing search for the more weird, whacky and wonderous in the world of travel, DAVID ELLIS says you can now sentence yourself to a night in a centuries-old prison in the grounds of William the Conqueror’s circa 1071 castle in Oxford. The Malmaison Hotel has 94 suites that have each been created by knocking out the inner walls of three former prison cells in the defunct gaol, making sleeping quarters in two of them and a separate ensuite in the third; the hotel has a bar, brasserie and plenty of 4-star facilities. And old lags who once did time here would doubtless get a chuckle out of knowing that guests who decide to lock themselves up for a night's prison experience – doors to suites are the original heavy steel jobs and there are still bars on the windows – pay $347 a night for the privilege. For a bit extra there’s the “Guvnor’s House” that has four-poster beds and a mini-cinema; if you want to do time here, see travel agents.

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