Wed, Apr 12, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Pyongyang hotel unveils modern, less Soviet, style


A staff member on Monday walks across the main lobby of the Koryo hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Photo: AP

North Korea’s most famous luxury hotel has reopened after renovations that modernized its 1980s, vaguely Soviet, style.

The Koryo is one of Pyongyang’s best-known and most visible landmarks, with its twin towers in the center of the capital. It was closed for several months while the first three floors were remodeled. The guest rooms were not changed.

People entering the hotel are now greeted by a brighter and more up-to-date look that — possibly to the disappointment of many exotica-seeking foreigners — is a sharp contrast with the opulent style of its prior lobby.

The Koryo was built in 1985 under the instructions of North Korean founding father Kim Il-sung, who wanted it to be a symbol of the country’s strength and modernity.

It is a popular spot for socializing among local elites, foreign businessmen, diplomats and others who are able to afford its relatively high prices — a cappuccino in its lobby coffee shop is about US$7.

The cheapest rooms are US$100 to US$120 per night.

The hotel, located near Pyongyang’s main train station, also features an indoor pool and sauna, several places to eat, including a revolving restaurant atop one of its towers, a bookstore and other amenities one could only dream of in a provincial North Korean hotel.

In 2015 a major fire charred its upper floors, though the extent of damage and other information about the blaze has never been disclosed.

At 43 stories, the Koryo has long been eclipsed in height by other hotels in the city.

One of them is the 47-story Yanggakdo, and, tallest of all, the 105-story, pyramid-shaped Ryugyong.

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