The art of travel just got street.
Despite his elusiveness, Banksy has never been one to shy away from causing a stir. In a bold new statement, provocateur British artist has made his first foray into the travel world.
Built directly next to the controversial wall that divides Israel from the Palestine in Bethlehem, the ‘Walled Off Hotel’ will open for bookings on March 11th.
Containing original Banksy art as well as 9 rooms, decorated by guest artists from around the world, the property was 14-months in the making. The Colonial style hotel was a very well kept secret, even the local people who will staff it had no idea the artist was behind the venture. The first anyone knew was a picture of a Banksy painting of an Israeli soldier and a man in a typical Palestine headscarf having a pillow fight appeared on the artist’s Instagram account with the caption. “Probably another misguided venture into corporate hospitality – the Walled Off hotel”.
The hotel’s rooms each overlooking the bleak graffiti strewn wall and Israeli watchtowers that loom over parts of Bethlehem and a Presidential Suite which boasts “the worst view of any hotel in the world”. This art hotel also incorporates a gallery with a bookshop selling literature about the conflicted West Bank region and a museum with exhibits on its tragic history.
“Walls are hot right now, but I was into them long before Trump made it cool.” Banksy said in a statement. Indeed he has been creating work on and around the wall for years, which has actually led to niche tourism in the area by ‘Banksy hunters’ who come to see his work in situ.
The hotel’s very existence will turn the international spotlight back to a region at a time when separatism is reaching epidemic proportions around the globe – a subject which he is directly addressing with characteristic irreverent wit describing the hotel as “a three-storey cure for fanaticism, with limited car parking”. However despite the humour Banky’s website states that this is not a joke and is, in fact, a real hotel.