Tourist claims he was told to ‘be prepared’ before entering 'Hotel of Doom'
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A tourist has opened up about the forebodingly-named 'Hotel of Doom', which anyone who has ever visited North Korea is likely to be familiar with.
The opening of the hotel was supposed to coincide the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students, and was intended to break the record for the world's tallest hotel, which at the time was held by a South Korean firm.
But despite costing approximately £600 million, progress on the building has been stilted over the years.
For decades it was left as a bare concrete structure - which is why it earned itself the nickname the 'Hotel of Doom' -before finally being given a plate glass finish.
Now, it sticks out over the Pyongyang skyline with the reflective plate glass being a stark contrast to the plain concrete of many surrounding buildings in the capital.
The hotel is just over 330 metres tall, or around 1000ft, and has 105 floors above ground, and three below.
Despite its distinct form in Pyongyang, it's believed that the hotel is still unoccupied. However, recently screens were installed on the structure which show the North Korean flag.
There is also a reason that the structure is a pyramid as well, and it is to do with the building materials available.
Singapore-based architect Calvin Chua has researched Pyongyang's urbanism.
He told CNN: “It was built like this because the upper levels needed to be lighter. They didn’t have advanced construction materials, so it was built entirely in concrete. You can’t achieve a slender tower that way, you need to have a massive base with a tapered top."
Simon Cockrell is one of the few outsiders to have actually been inside the hotel.
Back in 2021, he shared his experience with YouTube channel Zoe Discovers, claiming he was told to 'be prepared'.
He said: "As I was about to go over to North Korea, in late September of that year, he [contact] said, Oh, yeah, I've actually arranged for you to visit the site. So when you're there, just be prepared. And I thought it was, you know, not really true. I thought it was a joke. And when but when I was there, I was taken away from the tour group and told, right, you know, we're off to the Ryugyong Hotel.
"They showed us this amazing kind of computer aided design type video, 3d rendering of what it would be like, it looks really fancy."
Featured Image Credit: YouTube / Zoe Discovers / Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images
Topics: World News