4. Malmaison Oxford – Oxford, UK
Image: Rose Robinson/Flickr
Built in 1870, this Victorian prison seems like it was made to be a hip hotel. With three tiers of cells in the central galley illuminated by massive windows, the original Oxford Prison was considered to be a real 5 star place, as for a prisons go, when it was originally built. But after years of overcrowding, the building was put on up for sale.
The only caveat? The integrity of the original structure had to be completely maintained. Although it was a tall order, we think they did a pretty amazing job modernizing the building with only a few changes (like putting in safety glass, expanding the cells, and upgrading to top of the line en-suite amenities).
They even kept the solitary confinement cells intact, but turned them into a high-brow restaurant, Brasserie.