The white collar crim has always used his ill gotten gains to pay for his own ensuite bathroom, but I convinced him to do time at Jailhouse Accommodation in Christchurch. Although we had to share a bathroom, spending the night wasn’t a harsh sentence. Warm beds, a light and sunny social area, and the chance to spend the night somewhere unusual made it a worthwhile stay for us.
You stay in what remains of Addington Prison – the Mountfort Cell Block, completed in 1874. (The prison closed in 1999, part of it was demolished, the cell block remained empty until it opened as Jailhouse Accommodation in 2006). There’s a variety of room types, all with shared facilities. Given we booked a twin room we stayed in an actual cell – small and secure.
As well as staying in a jail, you get a glimpse of prison history in an old jail cell. Drawings by prisoners have been protected on some cell walls. If you’re keen, you can dress up in prison stripes.
What surprised me was how appealing I found the interior of the building. The Gothic style windows, high ceiling and all the white paintwork made it feel more stylish space than slammer. It wasn’t so surprising when I read the building’s architect, BW Mountfort, was also involved in the design of the Christchurch Cathedral and Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings.
Facilities at Jailhouse include a computer room, pool table and TV rooms. If you want to make a quick getaway, bikes are for hire. It’s a decent walk to the city or make use of public buses that stop nearby. If cooking’s not on your agenda (themed dinnerware provided), Bean Scene Cafe and Cargo Bar offer meal deals for inmates, there are also plenty of other food options in the area. For those planning a winter trip to Christchurch, Jailhouse often offer stay 4 pay 3 specials (phone or email bookings only).