Visit the First Five Star Hotel in Gaza

In Al-Mashtal, visitors can enjoy alcohol drink that forbidden by Hamas.

From a distance, the ten storey building looks shimmering hit by the sunlight. It’is the first five-star hotel in the Gaza City start opening. It has more than 270 modern rooms, a lagoon-style swimming pool, and an ornate, marble-filled interior.

In the middle of sorrow caused by the Israeli total blockade on the Gaza Strip for the last four years, the existence of the Al-Mashtal Hotel likes a miracle. Also, emerged a shopping center in that city last year, names the Gaza Mall. On the other side, a lot of buildings destroyed caused by the Israeli aggression in December 2008 until January 2009.

Ironically, at the entrance there is an announcement warns visitors that there’s a food and drink minimum for those wishing to sit at the restaurant bar. The lobby is all but deserted. “We’re not exactly open. It’s a trial period,” said Shadi Agha, the hotle’s head of reception.

From the balcony of a top-floor suite, we can see the hotel’s empty swimming pool and onn the other, unsightly piles of garbage. In the basement, workers were finishing an ornate Turkish bath and sauna. The hotel has no driver for the operational cars.

Though, on the patio, uniformed waiters busily serve milkshake orders. A group of women in fashionably tight jeans and high heel shoes smoke shisha, that such activity forbidden for women in public.

A bar in the hotel has expensive bottles of martini. Whereas, Hamas has restricted alcohol drinks in Gaza.

The development of Al-Mashtal is likely reflects the historical journey of the Gaza Strip. Startedd in 1996 but halted for years later after emerging of the second intifada. The project had restarted but stopped for the second time after Hamas victory in the 2006 election.

Actuallty, Al-Mashtal named as Marriott but in 2004 was part of Switzerland hotel chain, Movenpick. Recently, it becomes part of ArcMed network from Spain.

Agha insisted they provide everything needed for a five star hotel. Al-Mashtal coursely has everything except the guests.

Slate/Faisal Assegaf

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