One of these things is not like the other. Usually, a six-star hotel signifies “superior luxury.” It’s the type of hotel where each room is the size of a two-bedroom apartment, and it comes with a personal butler. Apparently, at North Korea’s six-star Ryanggang Hotel in Pyongyang, that’s not the case.
“Dirty, cold, and hideous,” said one Chinese reviewer. “Western prisons are more welcoming.”
“No hot water… No heating… Half of power sockets are broken, and there’s bare (and possibly live) wires coming out of the floor and just end abruptly,” adds another.
Judging by the TripAdvisor reviews, the experience is more like that in a prison than a six-star property. Guests complained about nearly every aspect of the hotel: The lighting, hallways out of the film “The Shining,” no fruit.
Though some reviewers argue that the cold showers, rock hard beds, and power cuts offer an authentic, North Korean experience, others don’t quite share that sentiment. “You would be better off bringing a tent and setting up a mini camp site outside,” said one guest, “I wouldn’t even let my pet stay here.” Since North Korea’s known for eating dogs, that’s probably a bad idea, anyways.
Perhaps the only plus to the hotel, according to one reviewer, “there was a huge flat-screen TV with one channel: The North Korean propaganda channel.” Oh, and there’s karaoke, which must be the source of the sixth star.
It’s unclear how much an average night costs, though it seems, based on the reviews, the hotel is part of a tour package for visitors in Pyongyang. Either way, the 2.5-star TripAdvisor rating isn’t anywhere near its six-star designation.
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.