Gemma Bell

The Walled Off Hotel

Bethlehem

by: Gemma Bell

  • Why

    To visit Banksy’s hotel and visit Palestine.

  • When

    June 2017

  • Who

    Me and Ben

Highs + Lows

  • The ART! In the UK we can think, “oh sigh, another Banksy …”, but when you’re surrounded by his original work, and pieces you had forgotten you’d loved then it’s completely different. From the painting of the kid goat being cradled by a leopard, or the guard tower from the wall turned into a merry-go-round, or the protester throwing a bouquet of flowers, all are mesmerizing, disturbing and thought provoking.

  • The location - such a powerful location, just a walk away from Checkpoint 300 and all that that is, but Bethlehem is one of the most welcoming towns I’ve ever been to.

  • The hotel has a brilliant museum (non residents can visit for an entry fee, hotel guests go for free) that takes visitors through the years of the occupation to the present day. It’s an uncomfortable experience of local stories, artifacts and testimonies.

    : 50/50
    • Design

    • Website

    • Mini Bar

    • Life Changing

    • Environmental Consciousness

    • Overall Value

    • Night's Sleep

    • Service

    • Amenities

    • Stealable Stuff

    • Refer a Friend

    Important Bits

    • Type

      The ultimate pop-up statement hotel.

    • Vibe

      The Walled Off Hotel has opened in the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration, hence the tongue-in-cheek, mocking of the ‘Englishness’ of the hotel’s interior. In corners of the hotel, and in our room, we find more royal memorabilia and miniature glasses with foxhunts and hounds printed on them as if from a car-boot sale in the UK. But the vibe is welcoming and friendly, while the surroundings challenged us to see things differently.

    • Location

      Right by the wall that separates Israel from Palestine, near Checkpoint 300, situated in one of the friendliest towns I have visited, Bethlehem; with its refugee camps, armed-guards, unnecessarily blocked-off roads, and the best falafel and hummus in the world!

    • Rooms

      8

    • Music

      Music in particular comes from the baby grand piano; a ‘plays itself’ piano with moving keys is fun and again thought provoking. On the opening night Elton John played the first concert, remotely.

    • Year Opened

      2017

    • Designed By

      Banksy

    • Pool/Gym

      No

    • Restaurant

      The Piano Bar serves a simple Palestinian breakfast of falafel, hummus, shakshuka and some pastries, and then the ‘Walled Off Salad’ for lunch, Afternoon Tea and Mezze in the evening alongside locally brewed beer and local Cremisan wines.

    • Bar

      The Piano Bar

    • Minibar

      No mini bar, but we loved the lounge on the first floor next to the ‘out of order lift’ with tins of biscuits, tea and coffee.

    • Wifi

      Yes

    • Children

      Yes, it’s an education everyone should experience.

    • Price

      From the Budget room for $30 a night to the Presidential Suite, which is just under $1000. Our room was $295.

    In the Area

    For the very best falafel and hummus ever (and Sami Tamimi from Ottolenghi recommended it as well!).

    Go to Afteem’s near Manger Square

    Manger Square, Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories

    For the very best falafel and hummus ever (and Sami Tamimi from Ottolenghi recommended it as well!).

    In the hills, just outside Bethlehem; the food is local, the wine is from Cremisan winery which is local, and they even make their own lethal liqueur!

    Dinner at Hosh Jasmin

    Hosh Jasmin, El-MaKhrur Street

    In the hills, just outside Bethlehem; the food is local, the wine is from Cremisan winery which is local, and they even make their own lethal liqueur!

    And walk through the Checkpoint 300.

    Walk the Wall

    Checkpoint 300/Bethlehem Road

    And walk through the Checkpoint 300.

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    The Walled Off Hotel

    The Walled Off Hotel, Bethlehem

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