Barabas Hotel Luzern – Lucerne, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Barabas Hotel Luzern

Lucerne's central prison was converted into a tourist hotel with a bare minimum of changes. 


Prisons are, in effect, hotels that criminals simply can’t check out from, so it comes as no surprise that when Lucerne’s main prison was converted to the Erlebnishotel Jailhotel, then later renamed the Hotel Barabas Luzern, it did not require that much change. 

The prison was originally built in 1862 and served as the central incarceration space for the Swiss city of Lucerne, but after the jail closed in 1998 after over a century in business, the historic building was converted to a commercial hotel within just a year and it’s the lack of amenities that seems to be the site’s largest draw.

Capitalizing on the jail’s history, the hotel offers everything from tiny, one-cell rooms to the “luxury” suite in the former warden’s office. While each room has been given its own bathroom and hardwood floors, the bars remain on the windows and the cell doors are still thick hunks of steel. And unlike the former tenants, guests can dance to more than the Jailhouse Rock in the nightclub that has been installed in the basement. 


Know Before You Go

The Erlebnishotel Jailhotel has been renamed to the Hotel Barabas Luzern

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