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Most people would avoid spending time in prison, but here’s one where you’d actually pay to stay over for a day or two. German studio Grüntuch Ernst Architects converted a former women’s prison and courthouse into the Wilmina Hotel. No crimes need be committed for a sojourn in this atypical location, which is located within a 19th-century brick-walled building in Berlin.

From the hotel’s brightly-lit main lobby, guests are introduced to the former U-shaped cell block with its original balustrades and a contemporary lighting installation suspended from the atrium’s ceiling. A narrow corridor leads to any one of the 44 guest rooms, each one uniquely reconfigured into open, minimalist and inviting spaces removed of all traces of its past save for the window bars, an acknowledgement of the building’s history. 

The hotel also features a new top-floor penthouse and roof terrace equipped with a library, bar, spa and gym. The on-site restaurant, Lovis, sits at the center of the hotel in an extension built from the recovered original bricks from the restoration. Also in the building occupying the former courthouse is Amtsalon, a family-run artistic space that hosts cultural and artistic gatherings. 

Promising a unique stay in a place heavy with history, this is up on our list of bookmarks to check out in Berlin. Book a stay here.

Grüntuch Ernst Architects’ work is rooted in both the traditional values of architecture and innovation, and characterised by their unique design approach. The Berlin-based studio was founded in 1991. Follow them on Instagram.

Photography © Patricia Parinejad

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