Builders at the five-star Geejam Hotel in Jamaica accidentally painted over commissioned Banksy works, thinking that they were just graffiti from “a rogue visitor.”
The Banksy pieces had adorned the hotel’s walls for over 10 years. They were commissioned by the hotel’s owner, Jon Baker, who is believed to have met Banksy when they were in school together at the Chelsea School of Art in London.
“On an early visit in 2006, he left 11 stencils as a gift, and these proved a huge hit with guests,” a hotel source told the Daily Mail.
Three of Banksy’s signature stencil rats lined the outside walls of one of the hotel’s three-bedroom villas. While performing regular maintenance on the building, workers covered the works with two layers of white paint, thinking they were getting rid of unwanted graffiti.
After they realized their mistake, the hotel commissioned another company to come in and survey the damage. The estimated cost of stripping off the two layers of paint is expected to be around $150,000 and it’s not guaranteed that the works will look like they did before. The pieces are worth an estimated $5 million.
The luxury resort is a favorite with celebrities. Over the years, it has hosted not only Banksy (when he was commissioned for his work), but Tom Cruise, Katy Perry, and Sharon Stone. The hotel also has a famous recording studio wherein the Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, and Bjork all recorded albums.