Former Prison of Casanova and Oscar Wilde to Become London Hotel
Looks like London is getting on the bandwagon of jail hotels: the former Bow Street Magistrates Court, around the corner from Covent Garden and opposite the Royal Opera House, will become a 99-room hotel and police museum. The latter will be housed in former prison cells, with others turned into guestrooms, so you might be bedding down where Casanova and Oscar Wilde once were held – although arguably in more comfortable surroundings.
While it will take a few years to complete, there are some pretty amazing renderings out there that show hardwood floors, high ceilings, lots of black metal (iron?) work, and unusual bathroom layouts. These are by the hand of the Chinese-American architects that will be designing the project for the Austrian brothers that purchased the building, so it will be a whole multicultural affair.
The iron work certainly makes the bathroom stand out, and we wonder whether the entry to the shower at the back will roll shut like a cell door, complete with a ‘clink’ upon closure as metal hits metal. We hope the references to its prison past don’t extend to showering (and god forbid, using the toilet) in full view of anyone in the room.
The building on Bow Street has been empty since 2006 when the courts closed after nearly three centuries of presiding over the law.
The court room itself will be turned into a restaurant, with another restaurant and bar elsewhere in the building.
It’s far too early to talk rates or even a rough time frame for opening, but based on the first hints of the design, we’d love to see this become reality. Stay tuned.
[Renderings: Neri & Hu Architects, Exterior via Google Street View]