The Walled Off Hotel is a boutique hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine. It was designed by anonymous London-based artist Banksy alongside other creatives. Established in March 2017, and initially set out to only be a temporary exhibition and a word play on the Waldorf hotel chain name,[1] the hotel has since attracted nearly 140,000 visitors,[2] thanks in part to its location opposite the portion of the Israeli West Bank Barrier separating Bethlehem from the holy site of Rachel's Tomb.[3]

The Walled Off Hotel
The building's exterior in 2017
Map
General information
TypeBoutique hotel
Location182 Caritas Street
Bethlehem, Palestine
Coordinates31°43′09″N 35°12′12″E / 31.7193°N 35.2033°E / 31.7193; 35.2033
OpenedMarch 3, 2017 (2017-03-03)
Website
walledoffhotel.com
Close up of entrance in January 2023

Established on 3 March 2017, the hotel is generally considered to be a follow-up to Banksy's 2015 Dismaland project, held for five weeks in Weston-Super-Mare in the South-West of England, making a commentary on life in coastal towns in 21st-century Britain.[citation needed] The reaction to the hotel as a work of art and social intervention has been mixed, especially given its location and subject matter. Critics have argued that such a building profits off tragedy, and is a case of war tourism.[4] On the topic of Banksy's Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestinian artist and activist Rana Bishara criticized the initiative for commodifying the Israeli separation wall while the real wall remains a source of oppression for Palestinians. Bishara also expressed concern over the potential dehumanization of socially disadvantaged areas like the West Bank due to "dark tourism" or "tourism of suffering."[5] Nonetheless, evidence has suggested that the hotel has brought more tourism to areas of the West Bank, in turn raising awareness of the realities of the Palestinians affected by the conflict.[6]

CAMERA UK denounced a painting in the hotel of Jesus Christ with a sniper’s red dot sight on his head as in support of the antisemitic belief of Jewish deicide.[7]

Following the 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel, the Walled Off Hotel announced its closure "for the time being", "due to major developments in the region" [8]

References

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  1. ^ "Banksy opens Walled Off Hotel in West Bank town of Bethlehem to highlight Palestinian-Israel divide - CBS News". www.cbsnews.com. 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2023-10-12.
  2. ^ Fisher, Ian (16 April 2017). "Banksy Hotel in the West Bank: Small, but Plenty of Wall Space". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  3. ^ Worrall, Simon (December 3, 2017). "The Little Town of Bethlehem Has a Surprising History". National Geographic. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  4. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (7 September 2017). "'Worst view in the world': Banksy opens hotel overlooking Bethlehem wall". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  5. ^ Milani, Tommaso M. (2022-08-08). "Banksy's Walled Off Hotel and the mediatization of street art". Social Semiotics. 32 (4): 545–562. doi:10.1080/10350330.2022.2114730. ISSN 1035-0330. S2CID 251943368.
  6. ^ Cook, Johnathan (22 December 2018). "Inside Banksy's The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem". The National. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  7. ^ Levick, Adam (7 March 2017). "Art at Banksy's Bethlehem Hotel gives lie to media claim he merely seeks 'dialogue'". CAMERA UK.
  8. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/CyGGCXVsSTO/?hl=en