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Five-star hotels are luxurious--obviously. But they’re not necessarily interesting. For a totally out-of-the-box experience, check out one of these super-cool, super-bizarre converted hotels, which used to be jails, breweries and bullfighting rings.

converted hotels france

A former abbey in France

Founded as an abbey in 1101, the Fontevraud L'Hôtel in Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, France, also had a stint in the early 1800s as one of the country’s most infamous prisons (established by Napoleon, of course).

converted hotels boston

A former prison in Boston

Beantown’s Liberty Hotel served for 120 years as the notorious Charles Street jail, which housed a number of famous inmates, including Malcolm X and Sacco and Vanzetti.

converted hotels scotland

A former castle in Scotland

While Downton fans can flock to Highclere Castle, why not skip the lines and stay at Inverlochy Castle, an abode just as regal and way less crowded. It was built in 1863 and served as a private residence for more than 100 years. Illustrious visitors include Queen Victoria, who remarked “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”

converted hotels purificadora

A former water plant in Mexico

Considering its water-treatment past (it was just converted in 2007), it makes total sense that La Purificadora would have a rad pool situation.

converted hotels mexico

A former bullfighting ring in Mexico

Built around a 17th-century San Pedro bullfighting ring, the Quinta Real Zacatecas has several rooms overlooking the main plaza and expertly blends all the luxuries of a modern hotel (superb restaurant, La Plaza, included) with gorgeous colonial architecture.

converted hotels costa rica

A former airplane in Costa Rica

In a scene that looks straight out of Lost, the Hotel Costa Verde is housed inside a 1965 Boeing 727 airplane and sits 50 feet above the jungle.

converted hotels germany

A former drainpipe in Germany

Lest you question the comfort of sleeping in a massive concrete tube, Dasparkhotel’s website promises “an unexpectedly comfortable interior.” Hmm…

converted hotels wine

A former wine cask in the Netherlands

Attention, oenophiles. Located in one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands, Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren has four available wine casks for lodging.

converted hotels poland

A former brewery in Poland

More of a beer drinker? Blow Up Hall 5050 is a hotel and art installation inspired by the 1966 cult film Blow Up. The hotel has no reception area, no room keys and no room numbers, and guests find their rooms via iPhone's recognition technology.

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