Banksy's New Hotel Might Have the Worst View in the World
If you're looking for great views, look elsewhere. Every room in Banksy's new Walled Off hotel in Bethlehem overlooks Israel's separation barrier , or "apartheid wall," with Palestine.
The hotel, which was built in secrecy over the past year, features walls and hallways adorned with stenciled graffiti in 19th-century frames—a twist on the English clubs of the colonial era. One vignette in the dining room shows a pillow fight between an Israeli soldier and a masked Palestinian youth. Cherubs wearing oxygen masks hang from the ceiling and a plastic chimpanzee bellboy guards the entrance.
The hotel "offers a warm welcome to people from all sides of the conflict and across the world," reads Banksy's statement.
"Banksy chose the location for the Walled Off hotel and developed the hotel as a concept," said Gavin Grindon, a professor at Essex University. "He chose to put it next to the wall, perhaps not for the great views but for other reasons that are more artistic."
It's Banksy's biggest project since "Dismaland," the popup art exhibition in Weston-super-Mare, England. But unlike the "bemusement park," the hotel is here to stay.
"I don't think I've ever seen something that is such a combination of high concept and practical," remarked Krisnan Guru Murthy, a journalist for Channel 4. "It's a hotel. It's a hotel for tourists to come to Bethlehem, so it's very different from anything he's done before... the thing that really makes this unique for Banksy is that this is permanent."