This £1.6 billion hotel has never had any guests and is now a giant TV

How the tallest building in North Korea earned the title 'Hotel of Doom'.

by | Published on 8th Sep 2023

Known as the Hotel of Doom, this North Korean skyscraper has taken more than 36 years to build, and counting.

Construction on the Ryugyong Hotel started in 1987 with big plans for the 105-storey building to become a tourist hot spot and a symbol of North Korean prestige.

Now the infamous building in Pyongyang sits as an empty eye-sore in the heart of the city.

The 330m (1080ft) pyramid-shaped hotel was set to have 3,000 rooms, as well as restaurants and other amenities.

Its most distinctive feature is its shape and finish.

The pyramid-like structure is covered in reflective glass panels, giving it a decidedly futuristic feel.

Building was halted in 1991 after the Soviet Union, which had been funding the project, collapsed.

The hotel stood unfinished for years, its eerie, empty presence earning it the nickname ‘Hotel of Doom’.

While its full height was realised, the rooms were never completed and it won the dubious honor of the world’s tallest unoccupied building.

The hotel’s bare concrete and windowless exterior alongside rusted cranes also served as a symbolic reminder of the country’s economic failure.

In 2008 the Egyptian company Orascom decided to finish the cursed building once and for all.

Its first move was to completely cover the building in reflective glass panels and add an illuminated top.

But aside from adding a bit of disco ball-esque pizzazz to its exterior, the company seem to have given up on the Ryuogyong.

It has been estimated that to finish the building as planned, which would include five revolving restaurants at its peak, it would cost another £1.6bn.

Seeing as that’s about five percent of the country’s entire GDP, things aren’t looking good for the Hotel of Doom.

A far cry from the initial building plans, Ryugyong Hotel now mainly serves as a massive television for the country’s leader Kin Jong-un.

The hotel has been outfitted with over 100,000 LED screens, regularly used to put on light shows where government slogans are featured prominently.

There are currently no plans to continue construction, and when the first guest will be welcomed through the doors is anyone’s guess.



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