“A three-storey cure for fanaticism, with limited car parking”. - Banksy

Walled Off HotelSource: The Guardian

Since opening its doors to the public earlier this year, the Walled Off Hotel continues to garner attention and tourism for Bethlehem, Palestine. A hotel, museum, gallery, and protest all in one, the lodging is the brainchild of the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy. His latest large-scale project, the hotel took 14 months to complete, during which it was kept under complete secrecy.   |

Besides the pull of Banksy's influence, the hotel also appeals to tourists due to its controversial location, sitting right next to Israel’s West Bank security barrier.

Source: Walled Off Hotel

Despite this, the hotel is not aligned to any political movement or pressure group. In fact, Banksy has said that he hopes this project will foster dialogue between young Israelis and the Palestinian residents of the city. The hotel is also aimed at attracting foreign visitors to an area of the occupied West Bank where they might not usually stay, “offering a rare look at the realities of life surrounded by the wall” according to Raf Sanchez of The Telegraph.

  Walled off Hotel_room  Source: Walled Off Hotel

The hotel itself is equal parts playful and political. Awaiting your arrival is a luggage-carrying chimp bellhop, and inside, guests will find a myriad of paintings, sculptures and decor that quickly remind you of where exactly you are. Each of the 10 rooms look out at the wall, or as hotel manager Wisam Salsaa puts it, “the worst view of any hotel in the world.” The rooms range from budget-friendly military barracks to the decadent Presidential suite that’s “equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need,”as stated on The Walled Off Hotel website.

Wall off Hotel_room 3  Wall Off Hotel _room 4Source: The Guardian

Various Banksy artwork can be found throughout the hotel, including never before seen pieces like a painting of an Israeli watchtower being used by Palestinian children as a swinging carousel.

In the piano bar guests can eat under hanging cherubs wearing gas masks, and walls adorned with slingshots and cameras. This dystopian colonial theme is inspired by the 100 year anniversary since Britain took control of Palestine in 1917.

Walled off Hotel_room 5   Walled off Hotel_room 7

Source: Walled Off Hotel

An attraction that both guests and the public can enjoy is the museum that explains the region’s history, as well as the wall and it’s effect on the Palestinian population. Another feature is the gallery that shares artwork by Palestinian artists. This gallery is the first in Bethlehem, giving artists a way to reach a wider audience.

Although reviews of the hotel have been mixed, it continues to remain booked up, proving its popularity. To plan your visit to the Walled Off Hotel, or for more information, you can visit their website at http://walledoffhotel.com/

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