The hotel industry is full of the same repeated formula – cool design, art work galore and a killer setting. Well, in comes Banksy to stir things up as he knows best.
Written by François Correia
Photography courtesy of Walled Off Hotel
have been to Israel a few times – and to Palestine a couple of times. Visiting this area with its strong historical heritage is mind blowing. There is an energy in this part of the world that one can not put a finger on: mystical, historical, religious, conflicting? Perhaps what sticks out in one’s mind is the ever-lasting history of wars and conflicts. In the iconic city of Bethlehem, Palestine, the birth place of Jesus, British street artist Banksy opens a hotel like no other – one that makes the guest part of the artwork, a key piece of it – not only the observer.
British artist Banksy is world famous for his conscious and political art: from the Disneyland art interventions to his graffiti art all around London. The hotel wouldn’t be different – the 10 rooms are lavishing decorated with his art-work and all face the infamous wall that separates Israel from Palestine. The rooms as he proclaims have the worst view in world, getting only 25 minutes of sunlight a day.
The presidential suit is rather palatial. Equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need – a plunge bath able to accommodate up to four revelers, original artwork, library, home cinema, roof garden, Tiki bar and a water feature made from a bullet riddled water tank – with a complete set of Dead Sea bath minerals. The room also has an in-room dining service available upon request.
In complete contrast the budget room is outfitted with surplus items from an Israeli military barracks, giving a no frills experience with a shared bathroom and complimentary earplugs.
Facilities include a museum of the wall & art gallery – curated in association with Essex University the museum contains almost fully fact-checked material and include an animated history of the region, military pornography and original beach sculpture from Gaza. The tea-room showcases a mechanical-remote-controlled baby grand piano playing bespoke scores of contemporary music – the first one presenting the greatest Massive Attack hits by 3D. Upcoming artists include Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Flea and Hans Zimmer.
The aim here is to experience a cultural and political immersion – traveling after all is about learning about someone’s else culture and life with all the differences and most likely all the similarities we have with each other. For the artist behind it all this is a chance to unite Israelis and Palestinians and I agree with him.
The hotel opens 11th of March.