Hotel Haegumgang

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Hotel Haegumgang
Chosŏn'gŭl
호텔해금강
Hancha
호텔海金剛
Revised RomanizationHotel Haegeumgang
McCune–ReischauerHot'el Haegŭmgang

The Hotel Haegumgang is a floating hotel that began operations in Queensland, Australia, was moved to Vietnam, and is currently docked at Mount Kumgang on the east coast North Korea. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, it "has developed something of a cult following in Australia".[1]

The hotel was the brainchild of Australian developer Doug Tarca and his son Peter. It was constructed in Singapore and opened in 1988 as the John Brewer Floating Hotel.[2] It was positioned on the John Brewer Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Townsville, Queensland, Australia.[3] The seven-storey structure had nearly 200 rooms, nightclub, bars, restaurants, a helipad, and a tennis court.[2] However, the hotel soon began to struggle financially.[2]

It operated as the Four Seasons Barrier Reef Resort for a year until it was relocated to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 1989, operating as the Saigon Floating Hotel.[4][5][6] It was moored in the Saigon River, near the Tran Hung Dao Statue, from 1989 to 1997.[2] Colloquially known as "The Floater", it was a popular nightspot, but again ran into financial difficulties.[2]

The hotel was bought by North Korea and taken to the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region which opened in 1998 on the border between North and South Korea.[2] Tours to the resort were suspended in 2008 after a South Korean woman was shot dead by a North Korean soldier. In 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to reopen the resort.[1]

In October 2019, it was reported that Kim Jong-un had visited the site and criticised the facilities, being quoted as saying that "they are not only very backward in terms of architecture but look so shabby as they are not properly cared for. The buildings are just a hotchpotch with no national character at all." He reportedly went on to say that the "unpleasant-looking facilities" should be removed and rebuilt to "meet [North Korea's] own sentiment and aesthetic taste".[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Shelton, Tracey (2019-10-24). "Australia's world-first floating hotel in dire straits as Kim Jong-un seeks renovations". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Carl (14 June 2018). "The bizarre story of Australia's floating hotel and its 14,000km round journey to North Korea". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  3. ^ "The John Brewer Reef Floating Hotel: A Case-Study in Marine Environmental Monitoring" (PDF). December 1989. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  4. ^ Dennis, Anthony (18 May 1990). "Refloating a concept that sank on the Barrier Reef". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  5. ^ Abjorensen, Norman (6 September 1987). "Tourist boom won't last, says man with the floating hotel". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Floating Vietnam nightspot languishes in North Korean port". Thanh Nien News. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015.