The vast majority of new luxury hotels are built on brand new estates, very often overlooking famous and popular tourist attractions. This is why the Indian Taj Mahal is surrounded by luxury hotels as is, for example, the Eiffel Tower. However, Avignon in the south of France is set to be the location of a luxury hotel built inside a former prison.
Although the Sainte-Anne prison is a popular tourist attraction, it is becoming outdated and far too expensive to maintain. A place of horror is to become now a place for luxury clientele.
Avignon is by no means the only target of the French government for such a project, as the French aim to reduce the trillion dollar national debt by putting some of their famous yet ageing sites to good use. The sight of 13th and 14th century buildings being reconstructed to accommodate luxury visitors is set to become very common and this notion has not met many protests so far. Local communities shall also benefit and tourists are expected to be thrilled at the thought of not only seeing the sites, yet also living in them.
The Sainte-Anne actually used to be a 13th century asylum before its role changed and it became a notorious 700-cell prison until being shut in 2003. Materials about the history of the infamous building shall be available for visitors in the hotel in order for them to learn more about where they are staying. The funny thing is that when tourists return from their holiday now and are asked ‘how was the hotel?’ the reply ‘like a prison’ could now have a totally different meaning. It takes on a far more positive tone.