Banksy Controversially Opens an Art Hotel in Bethlehem

A wall painting by Banksy showing an Israeli border policeman and a Palestinian in a pillow fight
A wall painting by Banksy showing an Israeli border policeman and a Palestinian in a pillow fight | © Heidi Levine/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock
Photo of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor9 March 2017

It might have the strangest sales pitch – “the worst view of any hotel in the world” – but the brainchild of famed graffiti artist, Banksy, certainly makes the most of a supposed bad thing and gives new meaning to a tourist attraction.

Located in the West Bank, the Walled Off Hotel, the name no doubt a play on both its close proximity to the separation wall and London’s Waldorf Hotel, will start taking bookings from Saturday, March 11, 2017.

The Walled Off Hotel entrance | © ABED AL HASHLAMOU /EPA/RE /Shutterstock

After being greeted by a Chimpanzee at the entrance, you’ll encounter a plethora of Banksy artworks throughout the hotel. The Piano Bar is filled with a righteous cornucopia of Banksy fare from surveillance cameras mounted like hunting trophies on the wall and angels falling from heaven wearing airplane oxygen masks.

A view of artworks of British street artist Banksy inside the Walled Off Hotel in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 04 March 2017 | Photo by ABED AL HASHLAMOUN/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Art installations by graffiti artist Banksy in the lobby of the ‘The Walled Off Hotel’ in the West Bank city of Bethlehem | Photo by Heidi Levine/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

The bedrooms range from the budget option, which is kitted out with bunkbeds and surplus from military barracks to a palatial kitsch Presidential suite. Some have even been individually customised by Banksy, Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin. We imagine there will be high demand for the room with Banksy’s wall painting of an Israeli border policeman and Palestinian having a pillow fight.

Art installation by Banksy in one of the bedrooms | © Heidi Levine/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock
Art installation by Banksy in one of the bedrooms | Photo by Heidi Levine/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock | Photo by Heidi Levine/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Should you wish to splash the cash, then the Presidential suite kitted out with a plunge bath, home cinema and tiki bar is just right. Sleeping up to six, the hotel’s website describes it to be ‘equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need.’

The presidential suite of the The Walled Off Hotel” in the West Bank city of Bethlehem | Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock
An artwork by Banksy is displayed in the Presidential suite | Photo by ABED AL HASHLAMOUN/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Never one to shy away from controversy or to use his art to make a statement about political and cultural injustices, Banksy’s latest venture seems to be more than just a stunt. The hotel’s Q&A’s page is certainly illuminating on intention: ‘Is it anti-Semitic?Definitely not. The Walled Off Hotel is an entirely independent leisure facility set up and financed by Banksy. It is not aligned to any political movement or pressure group. The aim is to tell the story of the wall from every side and give visitors the opportunity to discover it for themselves. We offer an especially warm welcome to young Israelis. Absolutely no fanaticism is permitted on the premises.’

An artwork by Banksy is displayed in the Walled Off Hotel | Photo by ABED AL HASHLAMOUN/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Wall decorated with security cameras and slingshots in the bar area | Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock

Walled Off Hotel, 182 Caritas Street, Bethlehem, Palestine

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