No, this is not a joke, though you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a hoax. The world’s most controversial and elusive (read: completely anonymous) artist, Banksy, has opened an art hotel in one of the most unlikely locations: the West Bank. ‘The Walled Off Hotel’ has been open for over a year now, and is dubbed ‘the hotel with the worst view in the world’ by its famous creator. Located in Israeli-controlled Bethlehem (but technically Palestinian territory), the hotel overlooks the ‘West Bank Barrier’ – the wall built by the Israeli government in the early 2000s.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Banksy set up and financed The Walled Off Hotel in recognition of the centenary of British control of Palestine, and what the hotel’s website refers to as ‘a century of confusion and conflict’. The name is a tongue-in-cheek stab at The Waldorf Hotel, but we’d expect no less from the provocative street artist!
On the site is the hotel; a museum dedicated to the history of the wall, a protest gallery, which includes works by Palestinian artists, and a gift shop that sells Banksy’s works and materials which visitors can use to decorate the wall itself.
The hotel has a range of rooms on offer: from ‘Budget Barracks’, featuring Israeli military bedding and fittings (from A$90 a night) to the much less austere ‘Scenic Suites’ (the scenery being the wall), and the individually customised ‘Artist Suites’ (from A$330 a night). The hotel currently enjoys an ‘Exceptional’ rating on Booking.com, and comments from previous guests indicate that it is indeed an extraordinary experience staying inside a living piece of art!
While The Walled Off Hotel may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this writer for one is very intrigued and, should she be in the vicinity, will definitely consider booking in for a more unusual hotel experience.
Side note: There’s no guarantee that Banksy’s art hotel in Bethlehem will have a long life – at this stage, bookings are only being taken up to the end of November this year.
Find out more at The Walled Off Hotel
Are you also intrigued by Banksy’s West Bank hotel? Or is this kind of art hotel not at all appealing to you?