GALENA, Illinois- TripAdvisor travelers named an old jail house in Galena the best B&B in the United States and the second best in the world.
Since 2015 Jail Hill Inn has treated guests to luxury. Before it was one of the best places in the nation for rest and relaxation, it housed Galena's criminals. The sheriff and his family lived on the first two floors and used the top two floors to house inmates.
The 140 year old building closed as a jail in 1977. Since then it's changed ownership multiple times. In 2015 it was in foreclosure when Matthew Carroll purchased the property.
Carroll, a Galena resident who has spent years working in the hospitality industry, immediately set to work refurbishing the old jail. Prison cots were traded in for king size beds. Commissary now buys daily three-course gourmet breakfasts made from scratch. After only three years in business Carroll and his team turned the building from an empty jailhouse into a nationally recognized establishment.
The historic architecture blends with modern additions like heated floors and Bluetooth enabled rooms. Carroll said he wants to cater to the modern traveler by combining historic architecture and modern amenities.
Despite the grand luxury of the inn, the people in charge stay humble. Carroll and his mother cook most of the meals from a menu they designed. The B&B operates with a small team of family members and part-time employees. "There's not too much crazy magic going on behind the scenes" said Carroll. He wasn't expecting the B&B to be nationally recognized, saying he is just happy he can do something which helps his community.