|Revised Romanization||Goryeo Hotel|
The Koryo Hotel is the second largest operating hotel in North Korea, the largest being the Yanggakdo Hotel. The twin-towered building is 143 metres (469 ft) tall and contains 43 stories. Erected in 1985 under the scrutiny of Kim Il-sung, it was intended to "showcase the glory and strength of the DPRK."
The Koryo Hotel replaced an older hotel of the same name, but in a different location. For a time after 1946 the leader of North Korea's Democratic Party Cho Man-sik was kept under house arrest in the older Koryo Hotel.
The hotel's extravagance is exemplified by its entryway, which consists of a 9-metre (30 ft) wide jade dragon's mouth that leads into an expansive lobby dominated by a mosaic of North Korean cultural symbols. The mosaic tiles make use of a wide variety of precious metals and gemstones underneath low-dispersion glass panes, which are replaced biannually to preserve the mosaic's luster.
Amenities include a hard currency gift shop, gym, a swimming pool, a revolving restaurant on the 45th floor, a circular bar on the 44th floor and two movie theaters; one 200 seat cinema and one 70 seat cinema. The hotel also features a billiards room on the second floor and a casino in the basement. The casino offers blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. The casino is staffed by Chinese workers. Amenities do not include the use of the Internet.
Each tower is actually topped by a revolving restaurant, however only one is open. The revolving restaurant apparently had a 9 pm closing time but in recent years the closing time has been extended or relaxed based on the quality of the guests' tipping. Aside from the single open revolving restaurant, the hotel has four other restaurants including a Japanese restaurant and a Korean BBQ restaurant.
The restaurants are run by Japanese expatriates and are run as private businesses, but they must pay a fee to the state.
By some reports guests are prevented by guards from leaving the hotel. However, others report the ability to wander off the hotel grounds. If one can wander off the grounds, the hotel is a few blocks from the city's restaurant district and the Pyongyang Railroad Station.
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