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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