Prison transformed into luxury hotel sparks backlash as instagramers post about stay


The discovery of a prison converted into a luxury hotel, which has become a hotspot for Instagram users, sparked an online debate after a Twitter user shared various messages taken there.

Gaining over 18,000 likes, the tweet sparked a wave of disapproving users, disillusioned with the use of a prison as a novelty and “profiting from the trauma and downfall of people.” However, a travel influencer defended the hotel and its photos there to News week, citing the preservation of historic buildings as an important factor in its existence.

Twitter user Anna Seregina, @touchingcheeses, shared several screenshots from Instagram posts taken at the luxury Malmaison Oxford hotel in England on September 20, writing: “I found a prison that has been converted in a hotel of influence. “

The Malmaison Oxford is part of the Oxford Castle complex and was previously a prison until 1996 when it closed and the building was sold to the Malmaison hotel chain. The company is focused on converting historic buildings into luxury hotels, with former post offices and churches among its list.

Other parts of Oxford Castle have been restored by the Oxford Preservation Trust after receiving £ 3.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Unlocked – Oxford Castle tourist attraction was part of the renovation program and offers costumed guides to Oxford’s lesser-known history with “tales of escape and romance in the old castle and prison,” according to the Hotel Management Network.

According to the hotel’s website, its “95 rooms and suites were once your average base cell. But they’ve had their day and are now being reformed into luxurious places to rest, thanks to super-fast Wi-Fi. , ultra-comfortable beds and powerful showers you’ll want to go. There are quite simply the most amazing and original hotel rooms in Oxford, which means they are now on the list of the most wanted. “

The building is listed, which means it cannot be demolished and rebuilt, but for many online the problem lies in its use as a trendy hotel, with suggestions of different uses it could have had, including a “center for improvement or schooling of ex-drawbacks.”

Visitors can spend the night in a renovated cell, with hallways that look almost exactly like they were in prison days. The same location is a popular spot for images shared on Instagram, as Seregina pointed out.

Instagram posts tagged with the location display the hotel in the background, often with prison-themed puns as the caption. “Lock me up and throw away the key,” one article reads. “Could get used to prison life,” reads another.

The viral tweet sparked differing opinions about the hotel and its apparent Instagram ability, with users responding with their views.

“It’s definitely one for r / boringdystopia,” one user tweeted, referring to the popular Subreddit which documents, “how Advanced Capitalist Society is not only dystopian, but also incredibly boring.”

For others, the hotel is just the tip of the iceberg in the growing trend of prison-themed experiences as a novelty. “There’s a new dumpling spot in LA that’s ‘prison-themed.’ All the food bloggers are posting about it, like a fun, kitschy experience. It was very strange to see it all over the place. my thread, ”one user wrote.

News week spoke to travel blogger Nuria Travels, @nuriatravels, who shared popular Instagram posts at the prison hotel and explained that it’s more about building preservation for her. “The old prison is a preserved building, it is listed and in my opinion the hotel has done a great job of renovating while preserving the building. In many countries like mine they have demolished historic buildings or have them removed. left to fall apart.I am of the opinion [that we should] preserve historic buildings. “

“Malmaison invited me and I really enjoyed the stay. The rooms are beautifully done but a lot of things have been preserved so it’s like going to a museum. They left one of the old cells as it is. was before, ”she added.

Apparently, appreciation of the old building and history is shared by some visitors as well, with captions with facts or tales of the prison in between the novelty-focused puns.

News week contacted Malmaison Oxford for comment.

Image of a prison corridor.
Getty Images

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