North Korea’s six-star hotel slammed by tourists on TripAdvisor

Dozens of outraged tourists have slammed North Korea’s only six-star hotel for its ‘prison-like’ conditions, online. The Ryanggang Hotel in Pyongyang – which is described by locals as a ‘first class’ establishment – has received 31 reviews on TripAdvisor1, with the majority of tourists giving it a big thumbs down. But for tourists seeking an alternative luxury accommodation, the capital’s other premier hotel, Kim Jong Un’s swanky 1,082ft-high Ryugyong Hotel, remains unopened, 29 years after the project began.

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North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

Underfire: A ‘six-star’ hotel in North Korea is making waves for its ‘prison-like’ conditions with dozens of guests slamming it online

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

The Ryanggang Hotel in Pyongyang – which is described by locals as a ‘first class’ establishment – has received 31 reviews on Trip Advisor

Simon Ryder from Wirral, Merseyside, who booked a room at Ryanggang Hotel in May 2012, wrote: ‘The beds are so hard I think the floor was more comfortable… I flushed the toilet and my feet got a wash.’

Another guest from Cape Town, South Africa, echoed Mr Ryder’s sentiments, writing: ‘Classic Soviet style hotel. Dismal, poorly lit, rock hard beds, miserable food, and intermittent hot water – and these are the good points!’

However, looking on the bright side, the traveller concluded that the hotel stay was all part of the ‘North Korean experience’. David Templeman from Estonia merely described the Ryanggang as ‘old and cold’. Talking about the electrics, he wrote: ‘The electric wiring is in a really poor state.

Half of power sockets are broken, and there’s bare (and possibly live) wires coming out of the floor and just end abruptly.’

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

One guest wasn’t impressed with the bathroom or bed at the Ryanggang Hotel in Pyongyang

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

A visitor said ‘western prisons are more welcoming’ than the luxury establishment

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

Good value for money? There is no word on how much rooms at the Ryanggang Hotel go for and there is no website for the business

He continued, with a touch of humour: ‘But on the plus side, there was a huge flat-screen TV with one channel: the North Korean propaganda channel, where the female narrator tries her best to sound upbeat while clips of Kim Jong Un and some fields and buildings show.’

There is no word on how much rooms at the Ryanggang Hotel go for and there is no website for the business. Many guests said they booked while being led around the city on a tour. Overall the Ryanggang emerges with a rating of 2.5 out of five on TripAdvisor, with the majority of reviewers marking it ‘average’ or ‘poor’.

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

Atmospheric: A photo of the dining area shows dozens of empty tables

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

A bad night’s sleep: Lots of reviews complained about the hard beds

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

Happy meal? Many guests weren’t impressed with the food offerings

In North Korea it appears that luxury hotels are lacking. For years, visitors have been anticipating the opening of Kim Jong Un’s swanky 1,082ft-high Ryugyong Hotel. However, the pyramid-like glass and steel building which has apparently cost more than $750millon ( 565million) to construct, remains unopened.

Work actually began in 1987 under the regime of Kim Jong-Un s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, and was meant to open two years later as a calculated snub to neighbouring South Korea. As Seoul hosted the 1988 Olympics, North Korea would open what would then have been the world s tallest hotel.

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

One man said: ‘I flushed the toilet and my feet got a wash’

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

Many photos of the Ryanggang Hotel left by guests show it in an unflattering light

The structure of the mighty pyramid was quickly completed, but work came to a shuddering halt in 1992 after the collapse of Pyongyang s benefactor, the Soviet Union. It was an economic disaster for North Korea and provoked a devastating famine that killed up to 3.5million people.

So what was supposed to have been a towering symbol of the country s technical mastery instead became an idle landmark which has attracted international ridicule. An inspection by a European delegation in the Nineties concluded that the shell was irreparable and it should be torn down because of its poor-quality concrete and crooked elevator shafts.

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

For years, visitors have been anticipating the opening of Kim Jong Un’s swanky 1,082ft-high Ryugyong Hotel

North Korea's Six-star Hotel Slammed By Tourists On TripAdvisor

Long-running project: However, the pyramid-like glass and steel building which has apparently cost more than $750million to construct, remains unopened

Esquire magazine described it as the worst building in the history of mankind . Others labelled it the Hotel of Doom. The name has stuck.

In 2008, after 16 years of inactivity and to the astonishment of Western observers, work suddenly resumed. Then in 2011 its concrete was strengthened and its exterior coated in 111million worth of glass, which dazzles when it catches the sun. Its fortunes were further revived by the deep-pocketed Egyptian Orascom Group which took over as developer in 2008 after reportedly signing a $400 million deal to establish a mobile phone network in North Korea.

Orascom were responsible for installing the glass panels along with a telecom antennae.

References

  1. ^ TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.co.uk)

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