Space Capsules, Jails, and Other Weird Themed Hotels

By November 19, 2013


Isn’t it so easy to get lost in a fantasy world people have created for your enjoyment? Whether it’s riding in an off-terrain vehicle through a mysterious temple next to Indiana Jones in Disneyland, or getting terrorized by Velociraptors at Universal Studios, the idea of fantasy worlds made into reality is an undeniably attractive one for most people. When that idea is extended to hotels, though? It might tend to get a little…weird.

When I was a kid, I was always begging my parents to stay in a themed hotel when we went on vacation. Unfortunately, out of the three kids, I was the only one itching for it, and sadly it never happened.  As a kid, though, I’d have gone mad for a hotel like the one pictured above. Although it might be confused for a set from the space station in Gravity,  it’s actually a picture taken inside the Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in China.

Located in Shenzhen not far from the Xixiang Station, the Space Capsules Hotel has really gone the extra mile to make its guests feel like they’re staying in an out-of-this-world, quasi-futuristic space station. The first major hint of this is at the door, where you see, literally, a robot doorman. This isn’t the only area of the hotel that’s manned by machines: the dining area has robot waiters next to your touch-screen tablet menus, and each bed is outfitted with a personal entertainment screen. There seem to be flesh and blood human beings working the front desk, but there’s no confirmed word on whether or not these are actually people, or artificial Life Model Decoys used to lull human guests into a false sense of security.

Take a look at some of the pictures of this particular location below:




If you think that the idea for such…intense theming is unique to the people of China, then think again. There are some pretty bizarre and uniquely awesome themed hotels right here in plenty of other places across the globe. Some of the more creatively themed (if a little gaudy) hotels are Japan’s “love hotels,” designed for…well, you can probably guess. Those of you that went and saw The Wolverine in theaters this past summer saw a creatively themed love hotel serving as a hiding place for Logan and Mariko, and although it might seem like an embellished locale for a laugh or two in the film, theming like the kind depicted there is actually quite normal in Japan for the love hotel industry.

But don’t take my word for it, take a look at these love hotels themed after a flying saucer, a medieval castle, New York City, and…Christmas?

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Sometimes, even the strangest things, like incarceration, can be turned into a theme hotel. If you want a classic convict experience and you happen to be backpacking around Mount Gambier in Australia, then the Old Mount Gambier Gaol is way up your alley! The Old Mount Gambier Gaol functioned as an “English Prison” from 1866 until 1994, and after the convicts were moved to a different facility, the original building was purchased by an entrepreneur and re-purposed into a place for weary travelers to catch a good night’s sleep. Perhaps in one of these cells that were reserved for condemned men in the late 19th century? I’d be careful in there, your sleep might be a little too good…

Image by Flickr member avlxyz.

Image by Flickr member avlxyz.

If sleeping in a former jail cell sounds up your alley, but you’d prefer a more overall luxury setting, then you should be pleased to find that such a hotel was made to your exact specifications, right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. One of 1930s America’s most fabled lockup joints of the early 20th century, Boston’s Charles Street Jail now serves as the 300 room luxury Liberty Hotel in one of the most vibrant parts of the Massachusetts metropolis. A jail that housed such famous inmates as James Michael Curley (reelected Boston’s mayor while serving time in prison), suffragists Sacco and Vanzetti (placed here when protesting President Woodrow Wilson in 1919), and even civil rights icon Malcolm X, is now place of…luxury.

That simple fact seems all the weirder after typing it, but take a look at the inside of the renovated jail: you can easily see the outlines of the cells and even the original brick at the top, along with the structure of the jail’s common area not all that different from old movie prisons like Shawshank. It’s definitely been transformed into a startlingly interesting (and very expensive) place to sleep, but it does slightly boggle the mind how easily some can see an old jail, and think, “that’s a marketable novelty for a hotel!” I’d probably be more comfortable here than at the Mount Gambier Gaol, but I’m still not quite sure if I’d want to pay to sleep in a cell. Though, I could probably be talked into it if it was a ludicrously comfortable pillow-top…

Boston's Liberty Hotel on the inside, formerly the Charles Street Jail.

Boston’s Liberty Hotel on the inside, formerly the Charles Street Jail.

Have you stayed in other weird theme hotels? How bizarre can they actually get? Could you see yourself staying in a space capsule in China? How about a death row cell in Australia? Leave a comment below, and let us know how spooky you’re willing to get for an interesting night away from home!

h/t: The Nanfang, Kotaku

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.