The Interlude: Melbourne’s Unique Urban Retreat Opens in Former Prison, Offering Unforgettable Experiences

The Interlude: Melbourne’s Unique Urban Retreat Opens in Former Prison, Offering Unforgettable Experiences

Melbourne, Australia, 2023-Jul-13 — /Travel PR News/ — Melbourne just became home to a one-of-a-kind urban retreat as The Interlude welcomed its first official guest – former HM Prison Pentridge Senior Prison Officer, Dennis Bear – this morning.

The Interlude, in Pentridge’s billion-dollar lifestyle precinct, is the world’s first urban wellness retreat set in a converted prison. Many might know this hotel from its former life as B Division at the HM Prison Pentridge, once home to some of Australia’s most infamous criminals including Ronald Joseph Ryan and Mark ‘Chopper’ Read.  Melbourne just became home to Australia’s most unique urban retreat as The Interlude officially opened its doors and welcomed its first official guest – former HM Prison Pentridge Senior Prison Officer, Dennis Bear – this morning.

Today, the site looks very different. The centrepiece of The Interlude is an extraordinary subterranean swimming pool. The pool took three months to dig through sold bluestone and basalt to build, as stacked boulders were individually marked and removed by conveyer belt to minimise the impact on the historic structure.

The Interlude truly is a feat of engineering, the likes of which hasn’t been seen before in Australia. The restoration crew had no blueprints to work off and needed to reverse engineer many aspects of the project, such as the air conditioning being under the beds instead of the ceilings because of rocks in the roof to prevent inmate escapes.

The 19 suites which make up The Interlude, have been created by knocking through the thick bluestone walls to link four or five cells together. Given the thickness of the walls, it took some 9 months to create just one suite. Each has vaulted ceilings, stone walls but with contemporary finishes and fittings that you would expect to see in a modern hotel.

The opening of The Interlude is another sign of Melbourne and Victoria’s post pandemic tourism revival. Recent hotel openings have boosted the cities room numbers by more than 900. The focus now though is not just on offering visitors a bed, but rather an experience.

At The Interlude guests don’t just purchase a room but are offered curated itineraries focussing on North Melbourne’s thriving food and wine, history, and cultural scenes in partnership with local producers and businesses include Koko Black (chocolates); Impala & Peacock (tea) and urban winery, Jamsheed (Melbourne’s first ever fully functioning winery, based in the south of Preston), and The National Trust.

The land on which Pentridge was built was a sacred area for the Wurundjeri (Wuh·ruhn·juh·Ree) people. A traditional gathering place and source of water, plants, and animals. The transformation now coming full circle, with a local Wurundjeri Elder Bill Nicholson performing a Welcome to Country and ceremonial cleansing of the entire site before it officially begins this new chapter of its diverse history.


The Interlude (The name cannot be shortened). The Interlude is owned/developed by Shayher Group and operated by TFE Hotels. It is a standalone hotel brand completely enclosed within the B Division historical wing. (The modern accommodation tower you see above the Bluestone fence line is the Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne – a completely separate brand to The Interlude). Lead in rates for The Interlude start from $729 per night – including inclusive urban retreat experiences.


About: Nicknamed ‘The Bluestone College,’ ‘Coburg College’ or the ‘College of Knowledge’, the former Pentridge Prison complex was of historical significance as the largest prison complex constructed in Victoria in the nineteenth century.

Opened: Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge was established in 1850 as a stockade, located on crown land of 140 acres, 8 km north of Melbourne, in the township of Pentridge, known today as Coburg.

Closed: 1 May 1997 – The prison officially closed as part of the government’s decision to privatise prisons and most prisoners were relocated to H.M. Prison Barwon. In 1999, the State Government of Victoria sold Pentridge to independent real estate developers.

Transformation: Purchased by the Shayher Group in 2013, in a derelict state, the depth of the site’s cultural significance has guided its redevelopment.  By changing the perspective from a derelict site to one of Melbourne’s cultural assets, the iconic bluestone walls of Pentridge live on to see a new era.


TFE Hotels (TOGA Far East Hotels) is Australia’s International Hotel Group – headquartered in Sydney and operating in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Singapore, and Switzerland.  TFE has a portfolio of seven hotel brands – A by Adina, Adina Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Quincy Hotels, Travelodge Hotels, Rendezvous Hotels and Collection by TFE Hotels which includes The Calile Hotel, The Hotel Britomart, Hotel Kurrajong and The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, with more in the development pipeline.

TFE Hotels acknowledges the traditional owners of the lands we conduct business upon and pays our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.  We respect the Country itself, including its trees, animals, spirits, waters, skies, stars, and special sites.

Media Contact:

Jodi Clark
TFE Hotels
Director of Communications
+61 499 900 658

Jessica Wood
TFE Hotels
PR Executive
+61 0437 242 034

Source: TFE Hotels