Hotel Kakola – a new boutique hotel in a former prison in Turku
History of Kakola in a nutshell
History, design and environmental sustainability meet in Hotel Kakola
Hotel Kakola is a privately owned boutique hotel, that was built in the old, red-brick county prison building between 2018 and 2020. This stylish hotel honors the history of the Kakola area, and the prison theme is visible in the interior design and details, as well as in the names of the different rooms and restaurants, and even in the drink menus. Hotel Kakola wants to operate responsibly, respecting the principles of sustainable development. Local producers and small businesses are favored, and the menus of the restaurants follow the harvest seasons. For example, in the breakfast buffet you’ll find Finnish forest berries instead of exotic fruits from the tropics.
There are altogether 148 rooms in Hotel Kakola, most of them very spacious and well-equipped. However, for those who are after a bit more authentic “prison experience”, there are a few rooms built right in the old small prison cells, with bars, bunk beds and very simplified interior – these rooms for sure offer a unique accommodation experience! The environmental responsibility also extends to the hotel rooms, and to the small details that matter in the long run, like using refillable bottles for toiletries and favoring carbonated tap water over bottled water.
The restaurants of the hotel are open for all visitors, and offer delicious meals in unique environment. Restaurant Ruben is open from morning to night and focuses on locally produced ingredients. The breakfast, that includes in the hotel room price, was delicious, and the seasonal á la carte dinner menu looked very appetizing too. The atmospheric wine room of the hotel, Hilarius, is named after one of the prison’s most infamous inmates, and the details of the interior take the visitors back in time. Furthermore, there is also a sunny summer terrace restaurant called Riviera – a great place for sunset drinks!
Tip for those who’d like to learn more about the history of Kakola area; there are guided walking tours available during the summer time, until late September. The tours begin with a walk around the former prison buildings, with the guide telling stories about the legendary escape routes. The second part of the tour is indoors, with a photo exhibit of the history of Kakola, and tales about the lives the inmates.
Did you know that there are dozens of former prisons turned into hotels around the world? Have you ever stayed in one, or would you like to? Leave a comment below!