Banksy is somewhat of an enigma in the art world. Despite his cult-status, he lives a life shrouded in secrecy and anonymity, has a discreet social media presence and never gives interviews.
Underneath the mysterious persona is a razor sharp sense of social justice and an inclination for rebellion that fizzes to the surface in moments of brilliance so shrewd, the whole world stops to take notice. His latest curveball, The Walled Off Hotel, is one of those moments.
Officially opening to the public on March 11, The Walled Off Hotel is Banksy's latest brand of brazen social commentary. Its opening coincides with the centenary year of 2017, marking a hundred years "since the British took control of Palestine and helped kick start a Century of confusion and conflict."
Situated in Bethlehem, the nine room hotel claims to offer the "worst view of any hotel in the world" - because of its location on the Israeli Separation Barrier, a 400-mile wall cutting through Israel and Palestine.
Even the name 'The Walled Off Hotel' is laced with the Banksy's signature revolutionary spirit. It can be read in two ways: an ironic nod to the upper echelons of capitalist society who frequent New York's ritzy Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and a commentary on the absurdity and injustice of the eight-metre high Separation Wall, bringing the eyes of the Western world back to the often over-looked Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Banksy and his team spent 14 months establishing the hotel and decorating it with murals, paintings, and various installations. "[It's] a three-storey cure for fanaticism, with limited car parking," he said.
Lodging ranges from a $30 per night for a budget room outfitted with surplus items from an Israeli military barracks to a presidential suite that sleeps up to six people. The real attractions, however, are the customized guest rooms curated by Sami Musa, Dominique Petrin, and Banksy himself - they are like living inside a work of art.
In addition to the hotel itself, there's a colonial-themed piano bar open to non-residents, along with a museum curated in association with Dr. Gavin Grindon of Essex University and a gallery curated by Dr. Housni Alkhateeb Shehada.
Of particular interest is the aforementioned piano bar, which houses an automated player piano featuring original scores from Massive Attack's 3D, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Flea, Hans Zimmer, and more. A different pre-recorded "concert" will play every night at 9 PM.
The hotel officially starts taking bookings on March 11 at 9 AM GMT. For more information visit http://banksy.co.uk/rooms.html