Controversial street artist Banksy has unveiled an all-inclusive vandals resort in Bethlehem that is five metres from the wall separating Israel from the Palestinian West Bank. Banksy is known for his politically charged artwork, and has transferred his artistry to convert a former pottery workshop into the Walled Off Hotel, which consists of an art gallery, graffiti supplies store and tea shop. Banksy describes the hotel as an “open-hearted community resource” that is not allied to any political party.
The hotel boasts floor-to-ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete in almost every room. Along with this is decorations that resemble an English gentleman’s club used to reference Britain’s role in the region during the colonial period.
The English gentleman’s club-inspired setting is updated by Banksy, who modifies the decorations to resemble recent images seen in the media. There are oil-painted seascapes that feature refugees’ lifejackets and statues that appear to be choking on tear-gas fumes. The rooms range from a budget option to a presidential suite. The budget rooms are filled with bunkbeds salvaged from army barracks, where visitors are given a locker, personal safe, shared bathroom and complimentary earplugs.
The more opulent option is filled with numerous features. There is a hot tub, an original artwork library, a home cinema, access to the roof garden, a tiki bar and a water feature that is made from a bullet riddled water tank. There is also an art gallery on the first floor that will showcase the work created in the region and a museum adjoining the hotel that Banksy hopes will be able to explain the wall to educate tourists who pass it to get to Bethlehem’s holy sites.