Thursday, July 07, 2011

Five star hotel to open in Gaza

Palestine Today discusses Gaza's first five-star hotel, due to open in the coming weeks.

The $45 million hotel features 225 rooms, a spa and swimming pools.

Israellycool managed to snag some photos of the hotel from a Facebook page that is no longer available:

Slate noticed this as well, although it contextualizes it as a hotel that will not have any guests.

Inside, at least, the hotel lives up to its five-star claim: It features a top-floor "royal suite," which comes with its own reception area and multiple security rooms (enclosed rooms near the entrance to the suite where guards can monitor and screen anyone entering), and in the basement, workers were finishing an ornate Turkish bath and sauna. Outside on the patio, smartly uniformed waiters serve colorful milkshakes in sugar-rimmed glasses, and a group of women in fashionably tight jeans and spiked heels smoke shisha.

...In some respects, Hamas-controlled Gaza is buzzing with construction, and the seaside area of Gaza City is lined with new restaurants. Over the last year, Israel has eased the blockade, allowing some building materials to get through, and the rest come through the tunnels, albeit at a premium. Gaza—or at least Gaza City—shows signs of basic economic improvement. Consumer products are flowing in, and the Gazan equivalent of a dollar store (a 2.5-shekel shop, which is actually equivalent to about 73 cents), sells everything from women's underwear to cooking whisks. For better or for worse, the Al-Mashtal is just one sign of Gaza's slow recovery. In Gaza City, once-pockmarked streets are being rebuilt with attractive brick pavement. Ziad al-Za Za, a former economic minister for Hamas, rattled off a laundry list of projects in progress, ranging from street construction to rebuilding residential housing.

...Indeed, the Al-Mashtal illustrates a fundamental dilemma of Gaza's economy: Gaza is now open enough that it can get the materials necessary to build projects like a five-star hotel, but it lacks the economy to support it.
The reporter is forgetting about the bustling NGO industry in Gaza that will always ensure lots of Westerners with expense accounts will not put up with less than the best. Or does she think that Gaza businessmen are so stupid as to invest millions in a luxury hotel that would remain empty?

(h/t T34 for the Slate article)