We all remember Banksy’s Dismaland and the attention it got over the entire summer of 2015. This winter, the world’s most famous street artist is set to steal an even bigger show, as the news of a dystopian hotel he opened in Palestine breaks! Right in the face of the Israeli security wall that wraps around Bethlehem, Banksy opened The Walled Off Hotel, consisting of ten rooms which were built in complete secrecy over the past fourteen months! How do we book a room here and what does it all look like?!
Built in the style of a colonial club, Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel aims to bring attention to this part of the world, the illegal wall which it overlooks, and even the Israeli watch towers it faces. Apparently, not even the Palestinian officials knew about the hotel being built, as they were quite surprised by its opening today. If we are to believe Banksy’s always ironic intentions, the hotel will give a much needed boost to the Palestinian economy, by showing the hotel guests the realities of life surrounded by the wall. Furthermore, the opening of the Walled Off coincides with the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the creation of the state of Israel in 1917. “It’s exactly one hundred years since Britain took control of Palestine and started re-arranging the furniture - with chaotic results,” Banksy said. “I don’t know why but it felt like a good time to reflect on what happens when the United Kingdom makes a huge political decision without fully comprehending the consequences.”
According to Banksy, ”if you stay at the Walled Off you could find yourself literally sleeping inside a work of art.” Indeed, among the artworks present in the rooms, there are the brand new ones by the artist himself, Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin, as well as a dozen of local Palestinian artists. The hotel boasts floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. Inside, you can also enjoy wifi, fridge, radio, personal safe and air conditioning. Perhaps the biggest attention comes from The Presidential Suite, which is described as “equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need - a plunge bath able to accommodate up to four revellers, original artwork, library, home cinema, roof garden, tiki bar and a water feature made from a bullet riddled water tank. Comes with a complete set of Dead Sea bath minerals and an in-room dining service available upon request. Sleeps up to six.” The facility already employs 45 people from the local area.
Perhaps the best part about Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel is the fact you can genuinely stay there, even though its primary aim is to be yet another strong political statement. While it is still not clear how much the rooms will cost (the reception opens on March 11, 2017), there is a dormitory which offers bunk beds for $30.
If you’re still asking yourself if this is a joke, Banksy replies ”Nope - it's a genuine art hotel with fully functioning ensuite facilities and limited car parking.” In fact, the official hotel website provides potential visitors with all the necessary information, such as visa, safety and places to see. For now, the facility aims to be here for the whole of the centenary year, and you can even visit the museum and art gallery within even if you’re not the hotel guest. The Walled Off also offers artist opportunities such as the wall painting, shows at the gallery as well as residencies.
Will you be staying?
All images via banksy.co.uk