|Revised Romanization||Goryeo Hotel|
The Koryo Hotel is the second largest operating hotel in North Korea. 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 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.
The hotel is rated three stars by Western standards. North Korea rates it as five stars. The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes it as "Deluxe" and the "best international hotel in Pyongyang".
The hotel offers 500 rooms although only about 50 rooms are occupied at any one time, usually by business people from China, Africa, and the Middle East and UN staff. The Washington Times claims most of the hotel's foreign guests are international arms dealers. The hotel does achieve full or near capacity every April 15 with delegations invited to celebrate Kim Il Sung's birthday.
Rooms and rates
According to the World Health Organization, the rates are:
- single, upper story room: US$112
- double, upper story room: US$121
- single, lower story room: US$102
- double, lower story room: US$112
Rooms, services, food, and other goods within the hotel appear to be priced in dollars.
In room TVs carry three channels. Guests report power outages and recommend packing your own flashlight.  Rooms are equipped with a mini-bar and are checked each day by a team of three people, of which one person inventories, the second recounts and a third supervises the pair.
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. One can order steak ("the best steak in town") at the restaurant. 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 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.
Older Koryo Hotel
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. When United Nations forces threatened to overrun Pyongyang in October 1950, it is thought he was executed.
Koryo Hotel in South Korea
There is also a Koryo Hotel in Bucheon, South Korea. Bucheon is satellite city of Seoul (located roughly halfway between Seoul and Incheon). It is popular with corporate travelers as it is one of the few hotels in the area which is not a by-the-hour "love hotel". Some larger companies in the area have travel agreements with this hotel, which is undergoing an expansion and renovation.
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- Flickr: Picture of the lobby
- Flickr: The billiards room
- Flickr: Casino entrance
- Flickr: Swimming pool
- Flickr: Guest room
- Flickr: Another guest room
- Flickr:Beside night stand in guest room
- Flickr: Hotel entrance
- Flickr: Hotel gift shop
- Urinals in, presumably, the men's washroom of the billiard's room