This Stunning Melbourne Hotel Used to Be a Prison

Now It's a Luxurious Escape with an Underground Pool and a Fine-Dining Restaurant

Image: The Interlude

Spending the night in jail usually involves a hard cot, iron bars and a few uninvited guests.

Certainly not king-size beds, seasonal produce and your pick of 500 wines.

Then again, the former is preceded by handcuffs, while the latter is available to book online for your next Australian getaway

Located in Melbourne, The Interlude is "the world's first urban wellness retreat set in a converted prison." The 170-year-old building once held some of Australia's most infamous inmates, including bushranger Ned Kelly and the After Dark Bandit, Doug Morgan.

Now there's an underground relaxation pool.

Call it progress.

the interlude hotel guest room
the interlude

The Interlude features 19 suites, each constructed through arduous feats of engineering that required breaking through the prison's thick stone walls to link four or five cells together. The stone walls remain, but now you've got vaulted ceilings, spacious bathrooms, plush beds, and all the contemporary finishes and amenities you expect in a luxury hotel.

The property's centerpiece is a subterranean swimming pool, dug out of solid bluestone and basalt, and turned into a candlelit sanctuary for relaxation. There's also a gym that's far nicer than the typical prison yard.

Good food can be found at North & Common, the flagship restaurant serving seasonal and local dishes, including grilled octopus, lamb ragout, and a ribeye with bone marrow, yuzu mustard and barbecue persimmon emulsion.

the interlude hotel olivine wine bar
the interlude

Some of the prison's former cells have been transformed into Olivine Wine Bar, with a walk-in cellar, cozy booths and a 500-bottle wine list, plus a food menu featuring oysters, duck rillettes and cheese boards.

Obviously a lot has changed from then to now. But to ensure guests that The Interlude is a comfy spot to stay, the property enlisted an indigenous elder to conduct a ceremonial cleansing to transition the former prison site into its second act. So that should help you sleep better at night. 

That, and the fact that you can come and go as you please.

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