North Korea: ‘Soviet-style’ luxury hotel gets modern makeover

The twin-towered Koryo Hotel building is a landmark in North Korea. Source: Shutterstock/Viktoria Gaman

NORTH KOREA’S most well-known luxury hotel The Koryo recently re-opened its doors after the 1980s Soviet-inspired property underwent massive renovation works.

The Koryo, one of Pyongyang’s most notable landmarks, was shut for several months while the first three floors of the building underwent a face-lift. The guest rooms were not remodeled.

The hotel – known for its kitsch grandeur – is a common spot for diplomats, local elites, and business travelers able to afford high prices.

TripAdvisor reviews suggest a cup of coffee at the in-house café can cost US$7 while a bottle of mediocre wine is US$46.

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A TripAdvisor user commented on the hotel from a stay in September last year:

“The room cleaning seemed to be a matter of luck, we arrived back after a long day out to find our room hadn’t been touched, we told our guide who spoke to housekeeping – they dropped of two clean towels, which by the way are the size of a child’s towel and that thin you can practically see through them.”

Most reviews seem to harp on mediocrity and touch on the property’s purported “dismal and drab” outlook as well as its alleged poor service and “eerie hallways”.

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However, compared to many other offerings in Pyongyang, The Koryo is one of the highest-rated and most-visited among local elites.

The hotel deems itself to be a five-star operation, but according to conventional hotel standards, it falls in the three-star classification.