North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’… Would you stay there?
NORTH Korea has unveiled the latest renovations of it’s surreal, pyramid-shaped 105-story hotel. Dubbed the “Hotel of Doom”, it remains the world’s tallest unoccupied building 30 years after bring built.
Barrier walls set up around the gargantuan Ryugyong Hotel construction site (Hotel of Doom), were recently taken down to mark the anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
The unveiling revealed two broad new walkways leading to the 3000-room hotel and a big red propaganda sign declaring that North Korea is a leading rocket power.
It still remains to be seen if the renovations on the Hotel of Doom are intended to be seen as progress toward actually completing the long-stalled project or, more likely, an effort to make better use of the land around it.
Rumours began to swirl late last year that the monstrous hotel was about to get its first guests since windows and a telecomms mast were added to the building five years ago.
In video obtained by US-based news site NK News, lights were spotted in December on two different floors, suggesting a “stable electricity connection existed to the very highest point of the building”.
Around the same time, Egyptian development company Orascom reportedly flew executives into Pyongyang to discuss the future of the hotel.
Orascom is the majority shareholder in North Korea’s Koryolink phone network and added windows to the building in 2008 under a $400 million telecommunications deal.
The building alone has cost to date a massive $595 million and have been continuously plagued with construction problems. Many of the problems were at one stage deemed “irrepairable”. Some of these problems included twisted lift shafts and sub-standard concrete.
Construction started in 1987 under Kim Il-sung in a bid to attract more tourists, but was stopped in 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Soviet funding going to North Korea. But, as luck had it, work began again on the Hotel of Doom the following decade.
When the Hotel of Doom might be finished (or opened to paying guests) is anyone’s guess, though the latest renovations might suggest it is getting closer.