Sometimes staying in a dingy hostel can feel like a jail but the Old Mount Gambier Gaol takes the jail idea to a whole new level. The hotel in Mount Gambier, Australia was once a prison, opened in 1886. The prison closed in 1995 and has now been refurbished under new management into a unique backpacker and boutique style hotel that includes cell and non-cell rooms. reported that the managers there Melissa and James has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry.

"Guests additionally have access to the many historic features of The Old Mount Gambier Gaol;

The prison chapel, library and lounge are converted to common areas equipped with internet, colour television and sofas. The study area is the perfect place to relax, read a book, surf the net or hang out with friends and family," reported

The non-cell rooms in the hotel were once previously used by staff officers and have historical building equipment intact. The prison chapel is now the library and lounge. There are also three courtyards on site available to guests for outdoor activities including live entertainment and concerts.

The gaol was taken over by Melissa and James in 2010. 

"Along with creating a new business Mel and James have also spent much time and effort cleaning, renovating and re-furbishing the gaol and it's surrounds," said the hotel's website. With a strong sense of community and a focus on environmental sustainability Mel and James plan to cultivate and create a space which attracts people seeking unique accommodation, though also providing a meeting place for both locals and guests to learn, mingle and be entertained."

The hotel is popular with backpackers and can fit large or small groups. The premises also has two courtyards, a sports bar, and an event room for weddings and gatherings.

Mount Gambier is located between Melbourne and Adelaide and the hotel is in the heart of the area, walking distance to the city center.