Contemplate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as you take in “the worst view in the world,” ensconced in Banksy visuals in your room at The Walled-Off Hotel. Yes, this ‘art hotel’ is real, with fully functioning ensuite facilities and car parking, designed and financed by the elusive England-based graffiti artist and operated by the local community, and anyone can book one of its nine rooms overlooking the West Bank barrier. Banksy painted the rooms (and commissioned other artists, like Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin) and outfitted the hotel in dystopian decor, like security cameras mounted on a wall in the style of taxidermy trophy heads.
Banksy is well-known for painting right on the barrier itself, including a recent work depicting a girl being pulled by red balloons, and last year he painted four street murals in Gaza. Guests who stay at the hotel will get “privileged out of hours access to Wall*Mart next door,” a graffiti supply shop, so they can make their own mark.
And if you think you’re going to get away with booking a room and sawing Banksy’s work right off the wall to make a buck, expect to pay for it: the hotel takes a hefty deposit for the duration of your stay to safeguard against theft, and inspects rooms before guests leave, warning that anyone found attempting to steal or deface hotel property will be arrested and prosecuted.
The hotel will open to guests on March 11th, with rooms starting at just $30 per night. Accommodations range from ultra-budget-friendly bunk rooms to a ‘presidential suite’ complete with a cheesy faux rock hot tub. An adjacent gallery, open to the public, offers a collection of works from notable Palestinian artists from the last 20 years, and a ‘homemade museum’ offers a biography of the wall.
On the choice of location, Banksy says, “This place is the center 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 – and very good falafel.”