With one of the most provocative hotels views anywhere, Banksy’s “Walled Off Hotel” on the occupied Palestinian West Bank is arguably not for the typical traveller with its views of Israeli guard towers and the iconic dividing wall. With only 10 rooms, it hardly qualifies as a MICE(Meetings and Events) hotel, but what it lacks in rooms it makes up for with an authenic art experience in a neighbourhood that challenges perceptions.
The hotel is literally alongside the contoversial wall that defines the Israeli Palestinian experience and guests are even invited to contribute to the dividing walls constantly evolving graffiti, in keeping with the hotels inner experience. “Guests enjoy privileged out of hours access to Wall*Mart next door – the graffiti supplies store which stocks everything you need to make your mark and offers expert local advice and guidance.”
From the Walled-Off hotel website, “The hotel boasts floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. And for the exhibitionists amongst you – many are within range of the army watchtower.” The hotel invites guests to, “peruse a collection of Banksy artworks that include vandalised oil paintings and statues choking on tear gas fumes. Warm scones and freshly brewed tea are served daily on fine bone china and the Walled Off Salad should not be missed.”
Guests can sleep in rooms filled with the ecclectic and valuable works of art, “as a consequence, a $1000 deposit will be taken on a credit / debit card at check in.”
Why the furor? Partly because of the location and partly the artist (Banksy), located as it is 500 metres from the checkpoint to Jerusalem and a mile from the centre of Bethlehem. Its location is in a bustling area fully open to tourists fand with restaurants and bars. The official British Foreign Office advice declares it a safe place to visit. However in Bansky style, the opening of the hotel on March 11th 2017 is timed to mark the hundred years since the British took control of Palestine.
Who is Banksy? Well according to Wikipedia, Banksy is an anonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director of unverified identity. Banksy’s works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
In a nod to sensitivities, their website states, “The Walled Off Hotel” is an entirely independent leisure facility set up and financed by Banksy. It is not aligned to any political movement or pressure group. The aim is to tell the story of the wall from every side and give visitors the opportunity to discover it for themselves. We offer an especially warm welcome to young Israelis. Absolutely no fanaticism is permitted on the premises.”
Just in case you want to join in at the hotels opening
OPENING PARTY, Saturday 4th March 7 – 11pm
with RAMZI SHOMALI and SIR ELTON JOHN
(Invite and locals only)
Follow the Walled Off Hotel story : http://www.banksy.co.uk/index.html