Graffiti artist Banksy has opened a hotel in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, his first major project since Dismaland in 2015. ‘The Walled Off Hotel’ is only a few metres the West Bank barrier.
The hotel has only ten rooms and the staff employed to work in the hotel are all local people. The hotel theme is of an old English gentlemen’s club from colonial times, in recognition of the historical role Britain played in the region.
The hotel boasts a Presidential suite, with a love heart balloon above the bed surrounded by barbed wire, a cocktail bar, a bullet-strafed water tower feeding water to the huge plush bath.
All the rooms include artworks by Banksy …
Budget bunk beds are also available at £30 a night …
Some rooms even come with a view, described by Banksy as “The worst view in the world”. The view being of the West Bank barrier.
If you stay at the Walled Off you could find yourself literally sleeping inside a work of art. So far Banksy, Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin have customised guest rooms, more will follow.
There is a cinema room of his barrier wall hotel with a framed old test card which was usually shown when no programmes were being broadcast. If you look closely it reads “Free Palestine” in chalk, where originally the girl was playing noughts and crosses.
Britain got its hands on Palestine in 1917 and the piano bar is themed as a colonial outpost from those heady days. Guests can view a collection of Banksy artworks that include angels falling from heaven with emergency oxygen breathe masks, oil paintings with a deeper message, statues choking on tear gas fumes, burning rubble, security to the max and Jesus with a red dot target shoot on his head.
Finally a Museum with Arthur James Balfour sat signing off the Balfour declaration with his hand going round and round the paper and not actually signing. The Balfour declaration was created in 1917 ‘s confirming support from the the British government for the establishment in Palestine of a “national home” for the Jewish people.
“Probably another misguided venture into corporate hospitality – the Walled Off hotel” Banksy
Banksy paid for the installation costs and has now handed it over as an independent local business. The aim is to break even and put any profits back into the community. The hotel will initially be open for the whole of the centenary year, maybe longer depending if people come. The centenary year 2017 as banksy describes it marks one hundred years since the British took control of Palestine and helped kick start a Century of confusion and conflict.
The reservations desk to book a stay at The WalledOff Hotel, 182 Caritas Street, Bethlehem, Palestine opens 11th March from 9am GMT. Book online here.
Everyone from all sides of the Middle East conflict are invited welcome to stay, and Banksy is not affiliated to any political party or pressure group.
[UPDATE 1] Elton John plays remotely at the hotel’s opening night …
To kick off this new venture, Elton John was invited to play and sing on the hotel’s opening night.The hotel will regularly host musicians in their colonialism-themed piano bar.
You can watch Elton John’s performance below, who performed for the hotel’s opening night.
In the future, 3D from Massive Attack, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Hans Zimmer, and Flea will be playing the hotel as part of the residency programme. Concerts start every night from 9pm.
Photo Credit Banksy / Walled off Hotel