Hotel Kakola - Finland's Largest Prison Turned Into A Boutique HotelHotel Kakola  

This is the story of how Finland's former largest and most dangerous prison was turned into a boutique hotel.

Kakola Prison was opened in 1863 to host notorious criminals behind the thick granite walls. The correctional facility was built on Turku's second highest point, the Kakolanmäki Hill.

Type: Jail
Location: Turku  Finland  East Europe
Kakola Prison Building in Turku, Finland

Kakola Prison

The former residents of Kakolanmäki were forced into hard labor. The all-male crowd consisted of Finland's most famous criminals.

The prisoners worked in the local mine to extract granite rocks, known as "Kakoliite", that made up their prison and the neighboring buildings - for example, the St Michael's Church in Turku.

Kakola Prison

At the peak of Kakola Prion's active years, it hosted 1,320 inmates.

The prison was finally closed in 2007 when Saramäki Prison was opened in Turku, and the prisoners were transferred to the new facility.

Kakola Prison Granite Mine And Lake - Photo From The 1950s

For years, decision-makers have been trying to figure out the fate of this centrally located complex. After ditching the idea of a fully residential area, Kakola became a hotel adjacent to the Kakolanmäki Hill Museum.

Hotel Kakola Aula

Today, the former prison complex, with its sturdy granite walls, is home to a fancy hotel with numerous suites, residence flats, multiple dining options, and a spa.

Luckily, they preserved the prison's most exciting spaces, including some jail cells. And yes, you can sleep in one.

Hotel Kakola Hilarius Wine Bar

Hilarius Bar

The trendy wine room that serves quality drinks is decorated by brick walls and cozy ceiling lights connected by metal chains.

As it turns out, the wine bar is not as hilarious as its name suggests. Heino Hilarius Sorjonen was a former prisoner who got jailed for robbery in the early 1950s.

He and his friend, Uuno' Dynamite' Laine, organized a prison break in December 1953. After they escaped, Sorjonen went straight to rob a bank in Vihti.

The female bank manager refused Sorhonen's demands to open the vault, and instead of resorting to violence, he left empty-handed. After his failed action, he received his nickname, 'Hentomielinen (soft-hearted) Hilarius'.

Hotel Kakola Hilarius Bar Beer Taps

So, when you sip your beautifully handcrafted at the Hilarius bar, you can philosophize about how not all criminals are created the same.

Hotel Kakola Restaurant Ruben's Food

If you crave high-class food, the onsite Restaurant Ruben offers a seasonal menu and one of Turku's best dining experiences.

Hotel Kakola Prison Corridor

Hotel Kakola Cell Room

Cell Room

This is where you can experience prison as a proper inmate. The cells are built on top of the former cells, and if you look closely, you will see the exposed toilet.

As this room is for two people, you either have to be very close friends, or one of you needs to leave the room while the other is doing their job.

The bathrooms are private but shared among the inmates, I mean guests of the cell rooms.

Hotel Kakola Family Suite

Family Suite

High-quality Svane beds are not what the former inmates were used to, but this is the new standard.

Kakola Hotel Superior Suite

Superior Suite

Kakola Hotel Superior Suite Bathroom

Kakola Hotel Attic Suite

Attic Suite

Attic Suite Second Floor

Kakola Hotel Boat Suite

Boat Suite

This suite is probably even wilder than the Cell Room. The Boat Suite is centrally located in the prison yard and can accommodate six people. It has a twin-bed cabin and two bunkbed cabins.

Hotel Kakola Church with altar pulpit and hand-painted windows

Are you planning an unusual wedding? How about Kakola's prison church?

Kakola Spa

Kakola Spa

If you want to taste Finland's sauna culture, Kakola Spa is right next to the hotel.

A brand new modern spa is in the place of the former central prison area. Here you will find four pools, five saunas, and a selection of relaxing treatments.

Among many others are a volcanic sauna, a traditional Finnish coil sauna, and a snow shower. Indeed, the spa has a "snow thunderstorm"-maker to cool you down after a sauna séance.

14 Kakolankatu, 20100 Turku, Finland