The unidentified, England based street artist Banksy has opened a 10 room guesthouse in Bethlehem, Palestine, aimed at telling the story of the West Bank Barrier Wall from both sides.
“The Walled Off Hotel” is a fully functional art hotel with rooms that sport wonderful murals, a Piano bar that is modeled like a British colonial outpost from back when Palestine was acquired by Britain in 1917, an art gallery that houses the works of many of the most notable Palestinian artists from the past 20 years and a museum dedicated for no other purpose but the biography of the nearby wall that separates Israel from Palestine.
Staffed by locals, the hotel contains a self playing piano, a room fitted with surplus equipment from an Israeli army barracks and priceless works of art, some of which you are allowed to lock yourself alone with overnight. (A deposit of 1000$ ensures their safety). The cinema plays excerpts from the mighty Oscar nominated ‘Five Broken Cameras’ – and one of those very same bullet-damaged cameras is on display. The hotel and its facilities are open to the public from March 11th 2017.
It has the “the worst view of any hotel in the world”, it’s owner says, no doubt referring to the huge wall that graces the views of it’s rooms. Depending on who you ask, the wall is either a necessary security measure or an oppressive apartheid tool, but you if you have a different opinion, the fittingly named WALL*MART that opens right next to the hotel (March 20th) will sell you graffiti supplies so you can make your mark, with local advice and guidance of course.
The city of Bethlehem is a great spot for the hotel as it is surrounded by many tourist attractions that can add flavor to your trip and stay, like the Dead Sea, the Holy Crypt (believed to be the birthplace of Jesus), Manger Square and nearby cities like Hebron and Jericho.
Given Bansky’s reputation, the hotel is set to attract hordes of tourists, and according to Banksy’s website, the hotel is planned to remain open for the entirety of the centenary year, since “2017 marks a hundred years since the British took control of Palestine and helped kick start a Century of confusion and conflict.” It could remain open for even longer if people come.