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The "Scary" Ryugyong Hotel Is Happening. For Real This Time

November 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM | by | ()

Better late than never, eh?

That must be what North Korea is telling itself after the announcement late last week—right around Halloween, in fact—that the world's scariest hotel is set to open sometime next year. Aaaahhh! Even better, Munich-based luxury chain Kempinski has been chosen to manage the hotel.

Given Kempinski's gorgeous properties in Europe and beyond (we're particularly fond of London's The Stafford), the brand will be adding some much-needed credibility to Pyongyang's 105-story pyramid-shaped "monster hotel."

Though, the execs at Kempinski aren't fools. With all the buzz this hotel has had over the years (as they say, there's no such thing as bad press!), they stand to make a fortune in sales. In the words of Kempinski CEO Reto Wittwer:

"I said to myself, we have to get this hotel if there is ever a chance, because this will become a money-printing machine if North Korea opens up."

Spoken like a true hotelier.

Indeed, if all goes as planned, and the Rugyong Hotel becomes the boost North Korea needs for its tourism industry, then all the better for Kempinski. And all the better for us, the guests who get to sleep in that looming, glass-armored, pyramid of doom.

Bloomberg reports:

"The top floors of the hotel will house guests in 150 of the originally planned 1,500 rooms, which “will be developed over time” to remodel the insufficiently designed spaces, Wittwer said.

Shops, restaurants, a ballroom and Orascom’s offices on the ground and mezzanine floors will also open next year"

Orascom, of course, is the Egyptian cellular phone company that fronted the $180 million to get the hotel finished. Or, at least, finished enough to open with 150 rooms next summer.

Oddly, several reports are calling this the "world's tallest hotel," though we're confused because as far as we know, Dubai's JW Marriott Marquis, at 355 meters, was, and still is, the tallest hotel in the world. The Ryugyong Hotel, though certainly impressive, only spans 330 meters.

So, which one's it supposed to be? Dubai? Pyongyang? Duke it out, guys!

[Photo: Ryugyong Hotel]

Archived Comments:


I'm sort of surprised a brand like Kempinski would associate itself with the hotel and North Korea in general?