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Breaking Travel News investigates: Banksy denies Messiah complex, opens guest house in Bethlehem

Breaking Travel News investigates: Banksy denies Messiah complex, opens guest house in Bethlehem

First there was a deliberately depressing theme park, now Banksy is opening a hotel with views of graffiti-strewn concrete from every room.

The Walled off Hotel is a three-storey immersive piece of art and also a fully functioning hostelry.

Situated just five metres inside the huge security wall that separates Israel from the Palestinian territories, it enjoys direct sunlight for just 25 minutes a day.

In arguably his most misguided work yet, Banksy has secretly converted a former pottery workshop under the shadow of an army watchtower into “a hotel, tea shop, home-made museum with en-suite art gallery and graffiti supplies store - an all-inclusive vandals resort”.

Banksy has decorated many of the bedrooms and hallways with his trademark stencils in what constitutes his largest new body of work for many years.

In acknowledgment of Britain’s historic role in the region, the hotel is decorated to resemble an English gentleman’s club from colonial times.

High Tea is served in fine china to the sound of tinkling on a baby grand piano.

However, the refined ambience has been brought right up to date - the oil painted seascapes are awash with refugee’s lifejackets, statues choke on tear gas fumes and cherubs fall to earth starved of breath.

“It’s exactly one hundred years since Britain took control of Palestine and started re-arranging the furniture - with chaotic results.

“I don’t know why, but it felt like a good time to reflect on what happens when the United Kingdom makes a huge political decision without fully comprehending the consequences,” the artist explains.

Guest rooms vary from the luxurious Presidential suite equipped with hot tub and roof garden, to the budget option - a room full of bunkbeds salvaged from an army barracks.

Other guest quarters will be decorated by visiting artists, which so far include Sami Musa from Ramallah and French-Canadian Dominique Petrin.

Situated on the first floor is a brand new art gallery exclusively dedicated to work made in the region

The opening party featured live performances by renowned local pianist Ramzi Shomali and Elton John.

John commented: “As a fan of the artist Banksy, I was honoured when asked to perform for the launch of The Walled off Hotel. 

“I have long believed in the unifying power of music.

“It can break down barriers and bring together people from all walks of life. With my music, I have always appreciated being welcomed by, and enjoyed performing for, audiences from all over the world.”

The Walled off offers easy access to Jerusalem, the Church of the Nativity and the Dead Sea.

It accepts all major credit cards, is safe, secure and open to international visitors without a visa.