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World's Most Unusual Hotels: Liberty Hotel

The Liberty Hotel

Liberty Hotel, Boston

You don’t have to commit a crime anymore to earn acceptance into Boston’s famous Liberty Hotel, which used to be home to the Charles Street jail—inmates once included Malcolm X and shamed Boston mayor James Curley. Built in 1851, the jail, which resides in the heart of Boston’s Beacon Hill, sealed its doors due to overcrowding in 1990. In 2007 it was brilliantly converted into a 298-room high-end dwelling, which still showcases parts of the original structure. Dine inside remnants of original jail cells at the hotel’s restaurant Clink, and enjoy a drink at Alibi, the bar that once doubled as the jail’s drunk tank. The Catwalk, a walkway once patrolled by prison guards, and part of the 16-floor tower structure, now houses the Liberty’s newest bar. Even the “Do not disturb” signs say “Solitary.” If you want the real lockup experience, ask to stay in one of the 18 rooms that feature parts of the real jail. Investigate local architecture by taking a guided tour of historic homes like the Harrison Gray Otis houses and the Nichols House Museum. Shop Charles Street, which offers terrifically unique shops. Or get wet at the community boat dock, which is just a seven-minute walk from the hotel. Kayaks are free to rent when you show your room key. 215 Charles St., Boston, Mass.; libertyhotel.com; Room Rates: $295–$700

—Alix Strauss


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