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'Hotel of doom' that cost £600 million has never had a single guest stay there

'Hotel of doom' that cost £600 million has never had a single guest stay there

Building work started on the hotel back in the 1980s but its yet to welcome its first guest

A hotel built all the way back in the 1980s - at great cost - has never welcomed a guest, earning itself the undesirable nickname ‘the hotel of doom’.

Situated in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, building began on the Ryugyong Hotel back in 1987 with grand plans to have it open for visitors in two years.

The hotel’s opening was timed to coincide with the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students - with designers intending to break the record for the world’s tallest hotel, a title that was held by South Korea at the time.

The Ryugyong Hotel was designed in an unusual pyramid shape and exceeds 1,000 feet in height with 105 storeys, and was designed to have as many as 3,000 rooms and five restaurants.

However, despite organisers splashing approximately £600 million on the project, progress on the building has been stilted over the years.

It reached its planned height in 1992, but with North Korea heading for an economic crisis construction was then halted, with a crane left abandoned on the top of the building.

Construction started on the Ryugyong Hotel in the 1980s.

For the following 16 years, the Ryugyong Hotel stood hollow, with its naked concrete exterior looming over the surrounding buildings.

It was during that time that the menacing structure earned itself the nickname the 'hotel of doom'.

After the lengthy break, the crane was removed and the Ryugyong Hotel was clad in metal and glass which cost £144m.

In late 2012, German hotel group Kempinski announced that it would be partially opening the Ryugyong under its management the following year. Just a few months later, however, the company pulled out.

More than 30 years since work began, the hotel is still yet to open to guests - though one man who's been inside the building has made clear that it's not exactly a welcoming environment.

More than 30 years since building began on the hotel it still hasn’t welcomed any visitors.
Catriona MacGregor/Getty

Simon Cockerell, general manager of a company specialising in North Korea tours, told CNN: "They took us into the lobby area, where there was a lot of exposed cement. Then we went (on) the one working elevator to the top, which was the 99th floor, I believe.

“It took a long time to get there, because it was a service elevator, not a modern lift with a string of buttons. There was a lift operator who determined where to stop. At the top we had a look around, took some pictures and went back down to the lobby again.”

It would apparently cost £1.6 billion to complete the hotel, according to Reuters.

Further work on the hotel took place in 2018, when it was fitted with LED lights in an attempt to make it a bit more pleasant to look at, as well as a sign which simply read: "The Ryugyong Hotel.”

It's still not open for bookings, though. Who knows if it ever will be?

Featured Image Credit: Tarzan2980/Getty Catriona MacGregor/Getty

Topics: Travel, History