Hotel is the second largest operating
hotel in North Korea. The twin-towered
building is 143 metres (469 ft) tall
and contains 43 stories. Erected in 1985 under
the close scrutiny of Kim Il-sung, it was
intended to "showcase the glory and
strength of the DPRK." The hotel's
extravagance is exemplified by its entryway,
which consists of a 9-metre (30 ft) wide jade
dragon's mouth that leads into an expansive
lobby dominated by a mosaic of North Korean
cultural symbols. The mosaic tiles make use of
a wide variety of precious metals and
gemstones underneath low-dispersion glass
panes, which are replaced biannually to
preserve the mosaic's luster.
The hotel is rated three
stars by western standards. North Korea rates
it as five stars. The Canadian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs describes it as
"Deluxe" and the "best
international hotel in Pyongyang".
The hotel offers 500
rooms although only about 50 rooms are
occupied at any one time, usually by business
people from China, Africa, and the Middle East
and UN staff. The Washington Times
claims most of the hotel's foreign guests are
international arms dealers. The hotel does
achieve full or near capacity every April 15
with delegations invited to celebrate Kim Il
It would appear the US
State Department has been using a guest room
in the hotel since 2007 as a de facto office
by a single employee to handle administrative
The hotel is situated along the
Taedong river in Chung-kuyok, central Pyongyang
According to the World Health
Organization the rates are as follows:
single, upper story room: $112
double, upper story room: $121
single, lower story room: $102
double, lower story room: $112
Rooms, services, food, and other
goods within the hotel appear to be priced in dollars.
In room TVs carry three channels.
Guests report power outages and recommend packing your own
flashlight. Rooms are equipped with a mini-bar and are
checked each day by a team of three people, of which one
person inventories, the second recounts and a third
supervises the pair.
Amenities include a hard currency
gift shop, gym, a swimming pool, a revolving restaurant on
the 45th floor, a circular bar on the 44th floor and two
movie theaters (one 200 seat cinema and one 70 seat
cinema). The hotel also features a billiards room on the
second floor and a casino in the basement. The casino
offers blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. The casino
is staffed by Chinese workers.
Each tower is actually topped by a
revolving restaurant, however only one is open. One can
order steak ("the best steak in town") at the
restaurant. The revolving restaurant apparently had a 9 pm
closing time but in recent years the closing time has been
extended or relaxed based on the quality of the guests'
tipping. Aside from the single open revolving restaurant,
the hotel has four other restaurants including a Japanese
restaurant and a Korean BBQ restaurant.
The restaurants are run by Japanese
expatriates and are run as private businesses but must pay
a fee to the state.
By some reports guests are prevented
by guards from leaving the hotel. However, others report
the ability to wander off the hotel grounds. If one can
wander off the grounds, the hotel is a few blocks from the
city's restaurant district and the Pyongyang Railroad
The Koryo Hotel replaced an older
hotel of the same name, but in a different location. For a
time after 1946 the leader of North Korea's Democratic
Party Cho Man-sik was kept under house arrest in the older
Koryo Hotel. When United Nations forces threatened to
overrun Pyongyang in October 1950, it is thought he was
The Yanggakdo International
Hotel is one of the largest working hotels and the
second tallest building in North Korea, after the
unfinished Ryugyong Hotel. The hotel is located on
Yanggakdo (Yanggak Island), two kilometers to the
south-east of the center of Pyongyang, the nation's
capital. It rises to an overall height of 170 meters and
sports a slowly revolving restaurant on the 47th floor.
The hotel is said to contain 1,000 rooms and a total
floor space of 87,870 square meters. The structure was
built between 1986 and 1992 by France’s Campenon
Bernard Construction Company and opened in 1995.
The North Korean currency can be
purchased at official rates at reception, and postcards
and letters can be mailed from the desk next to it.
Behind the latter, there is a small shop which sells
basic commodities at western prices. The ground floor
also contains a small bar to the right of the main
entrance, and to the left, a small bookshop which stocks
a wide range of North Korean reading material including
back-issues of the local English-language newspaper, the
Pyongyang Times, treatises by the Kim Il Sung and
Kim Jong Il, various children's books, and a wide range
of material which describes the North Korean
understanding of the history of the region.
In addition to the revolving
restaurant, the hotel guide issued to all guests
indicates that the hotel contains four further
restaurants on the second floor -- these include the
numbers one and two dining-room, the main banquet hall
and the Japanese, Chinese and Korean food dining-rooms.
The hotel's basement contains a
bowling alley, a pool room, a swimming pool, a barber
shop, a casino and a massage club run by a Chinese
company with an exclusively female staff.
The hotel's grounds include a
9,000 square meter nine-hole golf course. Also on
Yanggak Island, right next to the hotel's grounds the
Pyongyang International Cinema Hall can be found, which
hosts the opening and closing ceremonies of the Pyongyang
International Film Festival.
The hotel is a standard stop on
most tours of North Korea and was featured in the
graphic novel Pyongyang.
The Ryugyong Hotel
(sometimes anglicized as Ryu-Gyong Hotel or Yu-Kyung
Hotel) is a 105-floor skyscraper under construction in
Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name comes from one of the
historic names for the city of Pyongyang, and means
"capital of willows"; the building is also known
as the 105 building, a reference to its number of
floors. Construction began in 1987, but was halted in 1992
due to the economic disruptions that afflicted the country
following the fall of the Soviet Union. The hotel stood
topped out but without windows or interior fittings for
the next sixteen years. Construction resumed in April
2008, under the supervision of the Orascom Group of Egypt,
which has invested heavily in the North Korean mobile
telephony and construction industries. The company expects
to complete exterior work on the building in 2010, with
interior work taking until 2012 or later.The hotel rises
to a height of 330 metres (1,080 ft), and it contains
360,000 square metres (3,900,000 sq ft) of floor
space, making it the most prominent feature of Pyongyang's
skyline and by far the largest structure in North Korea.
Construction of the Ryugyong was intended to be completed
in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students
in June 1989; had this been achieved, it would have become
the world's tallest hotel. The unfinished structure was
not surpassed in height by another hotel until the
completion of construction on the Rose Tower in Dubai, UAE
in 2009. The Ryugyong is currently the world's 30th
tallest building, a title it shares with the China World
Trade Center Tower III.
The plan for a large hotel was
reportedly a Cold War response to the completion of the
world's tallest hotel, the Westin Stamford Hotel in
Singapore, in 1986 by a South Korean company, SsangYong
Group. North Korean leadership envisioned the project as a
channel for Western investors to step into the
marketplace. A firm, the Ryugyong Hotel Investment and
Management Co., was established to attract a hoped-for
US$230 million in foreign investment. A representative for
the North Korean government promised relaxed oversight,
saying, "The foreign investors can even operate
casinos, nightclubs or Japanese lounges if they want
to." North Korean construction firm Baikdoosan
Architects & Engineers (also known as Baekdu Mountain
Architects and Engineers) began construction on a
pyramid-shaped hotel in 1987.
The hotel was scheduled to open in
June 1989 for the 13th World Festival of Youth and
Students, but problems with building methods and materials
delayed completion. Had it opened on schedule, it would
have surpassed the Westin Stamford Hotel to become the
world's tallest hotel, and been ranked the seventh-tallest
building in the world.
In 1992, after the building had
reached its full architectural height,work was halted due
to a lack of funds amid electricity and food shortages in
North Korea.Japanese newspapers estimated the cost of
construction was US$750 million, consuming 2 percent of
North Korea’s GDP. For over a decade, the unfinished
building sat vacant and without windows, fixtures, or
fittings, appearing as a massive concrete shell. A rusting
construction crane at the top, which the BBC called
"a reminder of the totalitarian state's thwarted
ambition", became a permanent fixture.
In a 2006 article, ABC News
questioned whether North Korea had sufficient raw
materials or energy for such a massive project. A North
Korean government official told the Los Angeles Times
in 2008 that construction was not completed "because
[North Korea] ran out of money".
Even though the Ryugyong dominates
the Pyongyang skyline, official information regarding the
hotel and its status have proven difficult to obtain.
Though mocked-up images of the completed hotel had once
appeared on North Korean stamps, the government denied the
building's existence for many years, manipulated official
photographs in order to remove the structure, and
excluding it from printed maps of Pyongyang. The alleged
problems associated with the hotel led some media sources
to dub it "The Worst Building in the World",
"Hotel of Doom" and "Phantom
Hotel".Former CNN international correspondent Mike
Chinoy likened it to the calcium deposit on the neck of
Kim Il-sung; both were clearly visible despite official
attempts to hide them.
In April 2008, after 16 years of
inactivity, work on the hotel was restarted by Egypt's
Orascom Group. Orascom, which has entered into a US$ 400
million deal with the North Korean government to build and
run a 3G mobile phone network, has denied that their
telecommunications deal was directly related to the hotel
Features that Orascom has installed
include exterior glass panels and telecommunications
antennas. It is unclear to what extent Orascom plans to
complete the building. In the late 1990s, the European
Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea inspected the building
and concluded that the structure was irreparable.
Questions have been raised regarding the quality of the
building's concrete and the alignment of its elevator
shafts, which some sources say are "crooked". In
2008, Orascom's resident project manager stated that, at a
minimum, their goal was to make the facade more
attractive. In 2009, Orascom's chief operating officer
Khaled Bichara noted that, despite the reported structural
problems of the building, interior work will be performed,
and that a revolving restaurant will be located at the top
of the building.
It is also unclear when the
construction will be completed. In 2008, North Korean
officials stated that the hotel would be completed by
2012, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the birth
of "Eternal President" Kim Il-sung. According to
Orascom, work on the building's exterior is expected to
last until the end of 2010, at which point interior work
will begin, which will last until 2012 or beyond.
The Ryugyong is planned to become a
mixed-use development, including "revolving
restaurant" facilities along with "a mixture of
hotel accommodation, apartments and business
facilities" according to BBC quoting Orascom's Mr.
Bichra. Other sources have hinted on the future
multi-purpose nature of Ryugyong, including one quoting
that Ryugyong's "3,000 rooms, offices, restaurants,
nightclubs and banquet halls remain hollow shells."
supports I.C.E.Y. -
H.O.P.E. (non-profit org) (International
Cooperation of Environmental Youth - Helping Our Polluted
Earth) Any advertisement you view helps save the
does not guarantee the complete accuracy of the information provided on
this site or links. Do your own research and get a professional's
opinion before adhering to advice or information contained herein.
Use of the information contained herein provided by AsianInfo.org and
any mistakes contained within are at the individual risk of the user.
do not provide links to, or knowingly promote, any violent or pornographic