People may love the luxuries of a five-star hotel but for those who like it edgy and different, there’s a lot more fun in staying at some of the world’s weirdest hotels. So, though as a (hopefully) law-abiding person, it’s (thankfully) unlikely that you’ll ever know what the inside of a prison would look like, an entrepreneur in Thailand figured why not create that as an experience for those with a curious mind.
Joining the genre of weird hotels such as the “corpse hotels” in Japan or like the Hotel La Claustra in Switzerland, where people spend their time in a former army bunker, is the Sook Station in Bangkok, which just opened earlier this summer and offers guests the opportunity to spend a night behind bars (quite literally). Designed to mimic jail, enthusiasts can now spend the night in a prison cell for around 1,300 Thai Baht (£30 or Rs2,500) per night, and have a first-hand experience of a Thai prison cell.
The prison-inspired hotel treats its guest well but all perks are styled to suit what a prisoner would otherwise face.
The rooms have metal gates with rods, bunk beds, common toilets and light-out curfew. The guests, rather inmates are given black and white striped clothes and a mug shot is taken on arrival. The compound is also secured with barbed wires, giving off the vibes of a correctional home. Apart from small cells measuring just 8 sqm, there are larger family cells too.
Located at Bang Na district of Bangkok, just 15km away from Suvarnabhumi Airport, it has become quite a hit among tourists. Here, the guests are not given keys to their rooms but receive an inmate number, which can be used as room codes and are given a criminal record as a memento.
Sook Station that translates to “happiness station” in English does come with a few luxuries that inmates wouldn’t find in a jail. From free Wi-Fi and car parking to delicious food served at its restaurant, this unique theme hotel is not that gloomy.
And if one is too tired of the dim lighting and iron gates, there are rooms with a balcony too. The hotel also offers an outdoor Jacuzzi, a relaxation lounge, office space and halls to host events. The terrace is the perfect place to even have a romantic date with fairy lights. It also has a 24-hour coffee shop that too follows the prison theme.
Inspired by the iconic Hollywood film, The Shawshank Redemption, the owner told the Lonely Planet that most of the guests like it because it is unique and comfortable.
But this is not the first prison-themed hotel. Karostas Cietums is a military prison in Latvia that housed enemies and revolutionaries during Stalin’s time that opened in 1905. Now turned into a hotel that is just open for overnight stays, visitors can experience the harsh prison life. And if the severe condition is not preferred, then one can experience luxuries at other prison-turned-resorts. While there is hotel Het Arresthuis (Dutch for house arrest) outside Amsterdam, a 90-year-old prison in Istanbul is now a posh Four Seasons hotel. And luxurious Liberty Hotel in Boston is also a former prison.