About the Hotel
It is the ambiance and architecture that captures the attention of the modern-day travelers. He’s not looking for a place to stay, he’s looking for an adventure. Exotic forests, majestic caves, art galleries or even compact prison cells have all been converted into lodging spaces offering the complete vacationing experience.
Långholmen, a green oasis in the island city of Stockholm, Sweden, is known for its parks and beaches, located outside a former prison. Back in the 18th century, the rocky and barren landscape of Långholmen was the perfect spot for holding and rehabilitating criminals. Today, the dingy prison is replaced by an elegant resort that welcomes solo travelers, couples and families alike. Read on to know more about this wonderful hotel and reasons why it should be on your bucket list this holiday season.
Långholmen in Stockholm is a unique accommodation – the property has a hostel, a hotel, a conference hall and a restaurant, flanked by numerous small beaches and parks. Close to nature, yet not completely cut off from civilization, here you get the best of both worlds. The property is set in the heart of the city, well connected with all the major transport routes and attractions. However, it is not the strategic location or the state-of-art services that set this hotel apart. No, it is a very essence and ambiance of the place that draws travelers in. The city of Långholmen has a rich history and heritage.
Imagine living in an old prison house, staying in the same rooms where convicts were housed decades ago. Imagine being confined to dark, dingy cells, with no sunlight, sleeping on cold hard beds, eating bland meals. Sounds scary right? Well, that’s how life was for the criminals who lived here until 1975. Lucky for you, the building was refurbished and is now a luxury accommodation. You are spared the horrors of prison-life, yet the feeling of entrapment remains. Life inside the prison house is no longer the same though, the chic décor breaks the illusion of confinement and makes the suites look tastefully modern.
Långholmen Hotell has a long and dramatic history, one that involves narrow escapades, harrowing adventures, and thrill that would set your heart racing. Långholmen is a long and narrow island with lean pastures and bare rocks. The strip of land has signs of inhabitation dating far back to the 10th century; archaeologists have even found ancient German coins on the site. The first official mention of the island occurred sometime in 1435, in medieval documents on Swedish Council of State meetings held over at Långholmen. The prison building as you see it now was constructed almost 250 years ago. The prison house also triggered the infrastructural development of the town, several establishments were set up including the waterfront to Mälaren in the latter half of the 19th century.
The park was planned sometime during the 20th century, 3000 trees were planted by the prisoners on the eastern side, making Långholmen a green oasis amidst rough oceans and craggy rocks. The prison house was shut down in 1975 and soon taken over by the Långholmen Hotell and Youth Hostel. What followed was a rigorous restoration supervised by a team of architects to convert the prison into a luxurious hotel and conference venue. The hotel as you see it today was opened in the year 1989 and albeit a few changes is still true to its heritage.
The Långholmen Hotell looks pretty forbidding and eerie on the outside. The exteriors retain much of its original character intact with tall towers and an imposing red-brick construction. The building is easily among the largest infrastructures in the town flanked by the sea and trees on all sides. In fact, the former prison is completely at odds with its background. The landscape of Långholmen with its exotic flowers, lush vegetation, and barren rocks looks like a magical, romantic spot. One cannot expect something as dark and gloomy as a prison house in such a cheerful atmosphere.
Långholmen Hotell, though located in the middle of Stockholm is away from the hustle and bustle of normalcy. Within these elegant walls, you enter a different world, set in a different era. At a glance, the hotel looks like a misfit in the modern times, a closer inspection reveals otherwise. For, even though the Långholmen Hotell carries the weight of the past, it has seamlessly blended into the present. Here, guests get a glimpse into the agony of the prisoners, but, thankfully, not the actual experience of it.
On the outside, the Långholmen Hotell might look gloomy and depressing, the insides are a different story altogether. Once you cross over the stone archways, you cross the threshold to a new world. A world that though steeped in its dark past, holds the beacon for the future. Here, you can experience the mixing of two worlds, drastically different from one another. One, where prisoners were forcefully confined in compact cells and another where backpackers from around the world will agree to spend a few nights entrapped in the same small rooms. The times have changed and how!
There are about 102 guest rooms and 14 conference halls that can accommodate 180 people easily. You can choose the luxurious Långholmen Hotell or take up the compact cell-rooms at the Långholmen Hostel. Each room is equipped with a bed, a table, a lamp and a TV, the window-facing suites give you a picturesque view of the city outside. The corridors and lobby space have preserved much of their former look and feel. You can still see the metallic railing and chains on the side to keep the prisoners from escaping. The compact shower cubicles are well-equipped with the latest facilities.
Don’t let the dull and dreary décor of the place fool you. The Långholmen Hotell has a lot of fun activities planned for its guests. For starters, you can play dress-up and get to pretend to be prisoners for a day. Dressed up in those striped uniforms, you and your friends will be convicted and then imprisoned like real convicts! Divided into groups, you will then be assigned a task to get bailed out of jail. You can even plan escapades and adventures of your own to make the game even more interesting. This role-playing activity is a team-effort and gives you a chance to socialize with the other inmates of the hotel.
The team building activities keep you hooked with its multiple puzzles and challenges. Also, it gives you a taste of the authentic prison life, complete with a traditional prison dinner of bread and water at the end of the day. Other than that, there are special tours arranged for people who are interested in the history of the area. The restaurant serves some of the most exquisite local and international cuisines that would tantalize your taste buds. The more outgoing, adventurous guests can indulge in hiking, canoeing, and cycling along the mountain trails around the town.
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The Långholmen Hotell is the perfect place to plan your bachelor party or corporate conferences. Loads of food and fun activities await you within the brick walls of the prison-turned hotel. The building has lived through and transcended its dark past, offering guests a memorable stay. Here are a few interesting facts that would ease your stay here
- Breakfast buffets are served from 7:30-10:30 am every morning
- The adjacent café is open only in the months of June-August, the in-house restaurant is open all year round
- Free Wi-Fi and public parking space
- Non-smoking rooms
- Children are welcome here, extra bedding is available at extra charges
- Pets, however, are not allowed in the hotel
- The group activities, prison accessories, and uniforms are available on rent at rates prescribed by the hotel
- Jogging trails and beaches flank the hotel
- The airport is but a 10 min walk away.
- Meeting hall or banqueting facilities are also available at additional charges
Trapped inside the four walls of a prison might not sound like a good way to spend your summers, but trust us, the experience is worth it. Much of the old architecture and décor is preserved, giving you a glimpse into the life and hardships of the inmates who lived here before.
Thankfully, guests are spared the harrowing experience. Instead of cold and uncomfortable cells, you get to live in luxury suites with all the facilities you’d expect from a five-star accommodation. So, this holiday season, chuck the beachside resorts and cottages to get a taste of the good life at the Långholmen Hotell!