This may be the hotel with the worst view in the world, and with only 25 minutes of direct sunlight a day that you'll get in the room. Yet it's sold out for most times (a standard room at less than US$100 a night). And that's because it offers probably the best view of British artist Banksy's work within the confines of the walls.
Banksy’s latest piece was unveiled in Dec 2019 here. The Scar of Bethlehem features a nativity scene with Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. Instead of a star hanging over the crib there is what appears to be a large bullet hole piercing the wall.
The hotel, located in Bethlehem along the controversial wall separating Israel from the Palestinian territories, is the West Bank’s answer to the Waldorf offers travellers something more elusive than an luxury stay. Part hotel (it only has 10 rooms and a hostel bunk), part museum, and part gallery, it's crammed with the brilliant artworks of its owner, Banksy. The hotel evokes cultural, historical and spiritual emotions, reflecting the social and political sentiments and stance of the artist.
Despite its expensive interiors due in part of the artworks, the three-storey The Walled Off Hotel holds onto its street credence, without hipster pretence. And it hopes to draw visitors to see the barrier wall up close or visit Palestinian towns.
Israelis, though, are prohibited from visiting Bethlehem and its famous sites. While Banksy has chosen a site under Israeli military control (legal for Israelis to stay there), all the roads to reach it involve an illegal journey through Palestinian-controlled territory.
The hotel, a former pottery workshop, has a colonial theme – a nod to Britain’s role in the region’s history. There's a tea room in the hotel where a self-playing piano provides a creepy soundtrack. But it serves some delicious meals, including vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free.
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