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Banksy’s Wall Bank: The Walled Off Hotel

 “Views like no other”

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Situated on the border of an historic religious homeland, Jerusalem’s West Bank Wall provides the perfect location for any budding tourist hoping to experience the Middle East in style. Just a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean and surrounded by acres of fascinating ruins – old and new, the West Bank Wall is truly a metropolitan paradise.

From the moment, I touched down in Ben Gurion Airport, my senses began to ignite; the warmth of an eastern sun on the back of my neck, the glare of the pristine white walls almost blinding, while the scent of street food, spices and olives infuse the air with local cuisine. Bells began to ring from a local church and one is reminded of William Blake’s (1804) hymn – Jerusalem, which likens the place to heaven.

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Bethlehem at sunset: Credit Last Night of Freedom

I myself, am not a religious man, but as I made way through the winding streets towards my hotel, I couldn’t help but feel a certain gravitas about the place – that it was somehow special.

As I approached The West Bank Wall, the security increased… if safety is a priority of yours, then Jerusalem’s West Bank is truly first class. The guards, dressed in their military attire make for the most fantastic photo opportunity while the wall itself presents a masterful exhibition of vibrant street art. Very few tourists come to this area… and almost no locals for that matter – if a quiet excursion from the hustle and bustle of the city is for you, then look no further than the West Bank Wall.

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Israli soldiers patrol the border: Credit SOTT

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by The Walled Off Hotel’s very own bellman; he collected my bags and escorted me to reception. Ascending the stairs and through the lobby, oil paintings from the critically acclaimed Banksy provide necessary colour to an otherwise fatiguing mahogany wall.

Adjacent to the reception, lies the Walled Off Museum for which the hotel is famed. Exhibiting a range of sculptures and artwork from Banksy and various local artists, the exhibition provides the perfect opportunity to soak up the local history before making your way to check in.

I was booked into the hotel’s presidential suite, and the staff were extremely accommodating in escorting me around the hotel’s facilities. Boasting a nineteenth century British colonial theme, the hotel appeared to have been furnished by the East India company of the British Empire, circa 1850. A zebra print sofa and an array imported ornaments make up the lobby while a self-playing piano of English standards presents an ode, I am told, to Britain’s role in Jerusalem’s history.

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A pack of cheetahs crouch over a zebra-print sofa. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum for the Guardian

While all the scenic rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi, a personal safe and ensuite bathrooms, the presidential suite, is truly a sight to behold. Facilities include a plunge bath, original artwork, a library, a home cinema, a roof garden, tiki bar and a water feature. With a complementary set of Dead Sea bath minerals and an in-room dining service available upon request, the presidential suite is truly an unrivalled luxury to match its location; heaven.

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The Presidential Suite. Photograph: Banksy

Of course, it should be mentioned that many of the rooms receive a maximum of 25 minutes’ natural light a day, but with views like this, who could ask for more.  In range of the military watch tower, you can be sure to sleep tight, in the knowledge that you are always being watched.

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The Watch Tower. Photograph: Hilary Foley, Instagram (Copyright free)
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