Banksy Walled Off Hotel Bethlehem, Palestine
Bristol’s favourite son Banksy has just announced his latest piece of work. And no, it’s not a street mural in Shoreditch, but instead an actual business. Oh, and it’s in Palestine. The Walled Off Hotel sits just feet away from the wall that separates it and the rest of Bethlehem from the West Bank of Palestine.
Your first question will almost certainly be, “Is this real?” Apparently, yes. Operated by the local community, the Walled Off Hotel is located in a bustling area of Bethlehem, and is fully open to tourists from across the world. It currently has ten rooms and each has been customised with artworks by Banksy, Sami Musa, and Dominique Petrin.
Ranging in barrack-like abodes such as the Israeli military-clad ‘Budget’ room to grand ornate ‘Presidential’ suites, the hotel boasts floor to ceiling views of the graffiti-strewn concrete wall outside from almost every room. All scenic rooms are ensuite and are equipped with Wi-Fi, a fridge, a radio, a personal safe and air conditioning.
As Banksy’s website suggests, the luxurious palatial suite ‘is equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need’; a plunge bath, a library, a home cinema, a roof garden, tiki bar and a water feature made from a bullet riddled water tank. There’s naturally also plenty of original artworks too.
The hotel piano bar is themed as a British colonial outpost and is equipped with languid ceiling fans, leather bound couches and ‘an air of undeserved authority’. Warm scones and freshly brewed tea are served daily on fine bone china and there’s even a remote controlled self-playing piano which has been programmed with a bespoke score of contemporary arrangements.
There’s a Gallery on site which has been curated by the venerated historian and critic Ismal Duddera, as well as a Museum which is dedicated solely to the biography of the Bethlehem wall which divides Palestine from Israel and restricts movement between the two for citizens of both sides.
The area itself has all the restaurants, bars and taxis you’d expect, and the official British Foreign Office advice declares it a safe place to visit despite being located just 500 metres from the checkpoint to Jerusalem and a mile from the centre of Bethlehem.
Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine is set to open on 11th March with rooms available for as little as $30 a night. Head over to the Walled Off Hotel Website for more details and booking availability.