So, there is nothing new about art hotels. But politically charged art hotel could be a new genre? Illusive and controversial UK graffiti artist Banky paid for the installation costs of The walled Off Hotel, which just opened last weekend. He has now handed it over as an independent local business. The aim is to break even and put any profits back into local projects. Its located next to the wall that divides the nation of Palestine from the state of Israel and restricts movement between the two for citizens of both sides. Bit of a sensitive location you may say. If you search the hotel’s address in google maps, nothing comes up – funny that!
I love the wordplay in the hotel name, having a pun on Hilton’s premier brand and one of the oldest established New York glamour Hotels. The hotel’s website explains the locating of the hotel here, “This place is the centre of the universe – every time God comes to earth it seems to happen near here. The architecture and landscape are stunning, the food delicious and the current situation remarkable and touching. This is a place of immense spiritual and political significance”. The opening in 2017 “coincides a hundred years since the British took control of Palestine and helped kick start a Century of confusion and conflict.” The Piano Bar and rooms have a good ol dose of British imperialism, to make you feel right at home (That’s if your British)
All rooms boast Bansky original artworks, Even the war bunker styler dormitory beds for 30 bucks a night. The scenic rooms, “boast floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. And for the exhibitionists amongst you – many are within range of the army watchtower”.Grrrrrrrr. Hi boys n girls! There is even a Presidential Suite, equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need. Bansky’s concept was assisted by Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin.
Hotel facilities include a themed bookshop, gallery and museum. As a hotel designer, I often hear operators talking of “local flavour” and a “genuine cultural experience”. Well this hotel certainly has that.
“The hotel is located in a bustling area fully open to tourists from across the world. It has all the restaurants, bars and taxis you’d expect. We’re 500 metres from the checkpoint to Jerusalem and a mile from the centre of Bethlehem”.
Pictures, quotes and information form the Wall Off Hotel Website.