Banksy Opens New Hotel in Bethlehem, 2017

Renowned graffiti artist Banksy has made a bold new statement with his latest project, “The Walled Off Hotel” – a new hotel in the heart of Bethlehem, Palestine. This marks his first major project since the groundbreaking Dismaland exhibit in 2015, and it’s already making waves in the art world. The hotel, aptly named “The Walled Off Hotel” after the “Waldorf Hotel”, is located just a few metres from the imposing West Bank barrier, a poignant reminder of the political and social realities of life in this region.

With only ten rooms, the Walled Off Hotel is an intimate and exclusive destination that offers a truly personalised experience. When you stay here, you’ll be supporting the local community – all of the hotel’s staff are recruited from the area, ensuring that your stay positively impacts the people who call this place home. The hotel’s theme is equally unique and thought-provoking, harkening back to the days of old English gentlemen’s clubs during colonial times and a satirical nod to the historical role that Britain played in this region.

The Walled Off Hotel is home to a truly unique and unforgettable Presidential suite, where every detail has been carefully crafted to create an atmosphere of luxury and intrigue. From the love heart balloon hovering above the bed to the barbed wire that surrounds it, this space is a true work of art. And that’s just the beginning – the suite also features a fully stocked cocktail bar, perfect for sipping a nightcap as you take in the stunning views of the separation wall and watch towers. When it’s time to unwind and relax, you can slip into the plush bath fed by a bullet-strafed water tower, a one-of-a-kind feature that perfectly captures the hotel’s distinctive style and message.

Every guest room at the Walled Off Hotel boasts a unique artistic touch, and Banksy’s work is featured prominently throughout the hotel. No matter which room you choose, you’ll be treated to thought-provoking works of art that will challenge your perceptions.

For budget-conscious travellers, the Walled Off offers a wallet-friendly option that won’t break the bank. You can snag a spot in one of the hotel’s bunk beds for just £30 a night, giving you all the comfort and convenience of a hotel stay without the hefty price tag. While these beds may not come with all the bells and whistles of the hotel’s more luxurious rooms, they provide a cosy and welcoming space.

If you’re lucky, you might even snag a room with a view at the Walled Off Hotel. But don’t expect your typical picturesque landscape – Banksy himself has described it as “The worst view in the world”. From your window, you’ll be faced with the daunting sight of the West Bank barrier, a symbol of the political and social unrest that has plagued the region for decades. It’s not a view that will leave you feeling particularly at ease, but it’s one that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression and inspire reflection on the realities of life in this part of the world.

At the Walled Off, you might end up spending the night in a living, breathing work of art. Each guest room has been meticulously customised by some of the most talented artists in the world, including Banksy, Sami Musa, and Dominique Petrin; you’re in for a truly unique experience that will leave a lasting impression, and even more guest rooms are set to be customised in the future!

There is a cinema room where you can find this framed old test card, typically displayed when no programs were being broadcast, which has been repurposed with the message “Free Palestine” written in chalk over the original noughts and crosses game. The fact that this message is being displayed is a powerful commentary on the silence of mainstream media when it comes to issues surrounding Palestine. This artwork challenges the viewer to question the narratives presented through media and recognise the importance of seeking alternative perspectives and voices.

In 1917, Palestine fell under British rule, and now, a piano bar has been designed in the theme of a colonial outpost from that era. Visitors can marvel at the collection of thought-provoking Banksy artworks featuring cupids descending from the sky with oxygen masks, oil paintings with a profound meaning, statues engulfed in tear gas, burning debris, heightened security, and even a depiction of Jesus with a target on his head. Read more about the artworks by Banksy inside The Walled off Hotel here.

A museum has been curated with Dr. Gavin Grindon from Essex University. The museum features a collection of fact-checked materials and is an ongoing repository for local stories, artefacts, and testimonies. As you enter the museum, you’ll see a depiction of Arthur James Balfour sitting and signing off the Balfour Declaration. Interestingly, his hand goes around the paper without actually signing it. The Balfour Declaration was created in 1917 ( one hundred years ago) and confirmed the British government’s support for establishing a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine.

“Probably another misguided venture into corporate hospitality – the Walled Off hotel” Banksy 

The hotel’s installation costs were generously paid for by Banksy, who has now handed it over as an independent local business with a vision to empower the community by utilising the profits generated from the venture. The hotel will initially operate throughout the centenary year, but depending on the response, it may continue its operations for an extended period. The year 2017 marks one hundred years since the British took over Palestine, and according to Banksy, leading to a century of turmoil and unrest.. The hotel’s primary objective is to create awareness of the Palestinian conflict and provide a platform for people to learn about the history and culture of the area. It aims to create a unique experience for the guests and leave a positive impact on the community by creating job opportunities and contributing to the local economy.

To reserve a stay at The Walled Off Hotel located at 182 Caritas Street, Bethlehem, Palestine, please note that the reservations desk will open on March 11th at 9am GMT. Book online here.

The Walled Off Hotel extends a cordial invitation to individuals from all sides of the Middle East conflict to stay and experience its unique ambience. It is worth noting that the hotel’s owner, Banksy, has no affiliation with any political party or pressure group.

[UPDATE 1] Elton John plays remotely at the hotel’s opening night …

To inaugurate the debut of the colonialism-themed piano bar at the Walled Off Hotel, the iconic Elton John was cordially invited to perform on the opening night. This was just the beginning of the hotel’s plan to feature regular musical performances in their piano bar, showcasing a diverse range of talented musicians.

Below, you can marvel at the stunning and unforgettable performance by the legendary Elton John. He graced the piano via a television link and mesmerised the audience on the grand opening night of the hotel with his exceptional talent.

As part of the residency programme, the hotel has lined up several renowned musicians to perform in the near future, including 3D from Massive Attack, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Hans Zimmer, and Flea. The concerts will commence every night at 9 pm, providing an unparalleled live music experience for the hotel’s guests.

Please visit the online store here for artworks by Banksy, including official Walled Off Hotel souvenirs.

Photo Credit Banksy / The Walled off Hotel



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