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Who's Checking Into The Gaza Ghost Hotel?

Where: Gaza City, Gaza
August 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM | by | Comment (1)

There are few things we like better than a new five star hotel. The al-Mashtal is a $45 million hotel on the Mediterranean with 222 rooms, marble floors, five restaurants and even a piano bar. So far so good!

Except this new beauty is likely to remain empty. And its pool, though pretty, will go untouched. Why? Well, not sure about you guys, but Gaza City isn't exactly the first place we go hotel-partying. According to Metro:

[The hotel's] drawbacks include the poverty of the local population, a complete lack of tourism and bans on serving alcohol and women using the pool.

The Guardian is more sympathetic, but also faces up to the hotel's grim future:

This looks and feels like an upmarket resort hotel in, perhaps, Sharm El-Sheikh. But this is Gaza City, and if you turn your eyes away from the setting sun you will see a Hamas military training camp next door which was recently bombed by the Israeli military.

The hotel is hoping that where tourists fear to tread, journalists, UN staff and visiting delegations will come, and that rich locals (though 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line) will patronize the restaurant. Sadly, there doesn’t look to be much chance of that – only 10 people have checked in since the opening.

According to Anna Balletbo, president of Spanish owners ArcMed,

If we are able to not lose money – or very little – in the first year and next year make a little bit of profit, that will be very good. But what's important is that we can open the hotel, keep it open and show people that this land has possibilities.

Absolutely tragic.

[Photo: Guardian]

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