Have you ever heard of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea?

If you’re wondering how many rooms this massive structure has, the answer is…

None. Not a single one.

But this isn’t the only interesting fact about the Ryugyong Hotel. In this article, we’ll explore the history, design, and current state of the hotel, as well as the controversies surrounding it.

The History of the Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel is a towering 105-story pyramid-shaped skyscraper located in Pyongyang, North Korea. It stands at a height of 330 meters (1,080 feet) and has a floor space of 360,000 square meters (3.9 million square feet). The construction of this hotel is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of architecture and engineering.

Construction Begins

The construction of the Ryugyong Hotel began in 1987, with the aim of creating a monument to North Korea’s greatness. The building was designed to be a symbol of the country’s economic and technological progress and would house a hotel, offices, and apartments.

However, the construction of the hotel faced numerous challenges, including economic difficulties and technical problems. The building’s unique design, which involves a steeply sloping pyramid shape with three wings, made it difficult to construct. The construction was also hampered by the lack of modern technology and equipment in North Korea at the time.

Construction Halts

Despite these challenges, the construction of the Ryugyong Hotel continued until 1992 when it was halted due to economic problems in North Korea. At this point, the building’s exterior had been completed, but the interior was left unfinished.

For the next 16 years, the building stood as a concrete shell, known as the “Hotel of Doom,” and became a symbol of North Korea’s economic failures. The unfinished building was also a source of embarrassment for the North Korean government, which had touted it as a symbol of the country’s power and prestige.

Renewed Efforts to Complete the Hotel

In 2008, a group of foreign investors, including the Egyptian telecommunications company Orascom, signed a deal with the North Korean government to complete the Ryugyong Hotel. The investors provided the funding and technology needed to finish the building’s interior.

After years of delays, the Ryugyong Hotel finally opened its doors in 2018, 31 years after construction began. The hotel now features over 1,000 guestrooms, restaurants, and bars, as well as a rotating restaurant at the top of the building that offers stunning views of the city.

The completion of the Ryugyong Hotel is a testament to the perseverance of the North Korean people and the power of international cooperation. While the hotel has received mixed reviews from visitors, it remains a remarkable feat of engineering and architecture.

Design and Features of the Ryugyong Hotel

The Exterior

The Ryugyong Hotel, also known as the “Hotel of Doom,” is an impressive structure that dominates the skyline of Pyongyang, North Korea. The building stands at a height of 330 meters, making it the tallest unoccupied building in the world. It has 105 floors, and its unique design resembles a pyramid with three sides, each sloping at a 75-degree angle. The exterior is covered in glass panels, giving it a sleek and modern look.

The Interior

While the Ryugyong Hotel remains unoccupied, there is some information available regarding its interior design. The building was intended to house a hotel with over 3,000 rooms, multiple restaurants, and a revolving restaurant at the top. The interior was designed to reflect North Korean culture and history, with traditional Korean artwork and motifs throughout the building.

The Facilities

Despite its lack of occupancy, the Ryugyong Hotel was built with modern facilities and amenities in mind. It was designed to have two large swimming pools, a banquet hall, a spa, and a shopping center. The building also has state-of-the-art technology, including high-speed elevators and a communication system that can withstand electromagnetic pulses.

It is worth noting that the Ryugyong Hotel remains unoccupied due to construction issues and a lack of funding. However, the North Korean government has recently resumed construction on the building, and there are plans to open it to the public in the near future.


Current State of the Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel, located in Pyongyang, North Korea, has been the subject of much fascination and curiosity since construction began in 1987. The 105-story, pyramid-shaped building was intended to be a symbol of North Korea’s economic power, but construction was halted in 1992 due to the country’s financial difficulties. For many years, the hotel remained unfinished and unoccupied, earning it the nickname “Hotel of Doom.” However, in recent years, there have been efforts to revive the building and turn it into a functional, luxury hotel.

Exterior Renovations

Since 2008, there have been ongoing efforts to renovate the exterior of the Ryugyong Hotel. The building’s fa├žade has been covered in glass panels, giving it a sleek, modern look. In 2018, it was reported that the exterior renovations were completed, with the final glass panel being installed on the top of the building. The hotel now stands at 330 meters (1,080 feet) tall, making it the tallest unoccupied building in the world.

Interior Renovations

While the exterior of the hotel has been renovated, the interior remains unfinished. There have been reports of some work being done on the lower levels of the building, including the construction of a lobby and some hotel rooms. However, there is no official word on when the hotel will be fully renovated and opened to the public. It is estimated that the cost of renovating the building could be as high as $2 billion.

Future Plans

The North Korean government has expressed a desire to turn the Ryugyong Hotel into a luxury hotel and tourist destination. In 2019, it was reported that a Singaporean company had been granted permission to manage the hotel, but there have been no updates on the status of that agreement. Despite the ongoing efforts to renovate the building, there are still many obstacles to overcome, including North Korea’s strained relationship with the international community and its reputation for human rights abuses.

Despite the challenges, the Ryugyong Hotel remains a fascinating and iconic structure, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this “Hotel of Doom.”

Controversies Surrounding the Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel, located in Pyongyang, North Korea, is known for being the tallest unoccupied building in the world. The construction of this building started in 1987, but it was halted in 1992 due to financial difficulties. It remained untouched for 16 years until construction resumed in 2008, and it was finally completed in 2011. However, the hotel has been surrounded by controversies since its inception.

Cost and Financing

The construction of the Ryugyong Hotel was estimated to cost around $750 million. However, due to the economic difficulties faced by North Korea, it is believed that a significant portion of the funding came from foreign sources. It is rumored that the Egyptian government provided $400 million in aid, and the Orascom Group, an Egyptian telecommunications company, invested $180 million in the project. However, the exact sources of funding remain unclear, and there have been concerns over the financial transparency of the project.

Human Rights Concerns

Another controversy surrounding the Ryugyong Hotel is the use of forced labor during its construction. There have been reports that North Korean citizens were forced to work on the project, and many of them were subjected to inhumane working conditions. Additionally, there are concerns that the construction of the hotel took resources away from other important projects, such as housing and infrastructure development.

Political Symbolism

The construction of the Ryugyong Hotel was seen as a symbol of North Korea’s power and progress. The building was intended to become the tallest hotel in the world and was envisioned as a centerpiece of the Pyongyang skyline. However, the hotel’s completion was delayed for decades, and it remained empty for years after its completion. The building has been seen as a symbol of North Korea’s failed ambitions and has been a source of embarrassment for the government.


The Ryugyong Hotel may not have any rooms, but it certainly has a story to tell. From its beginnings as a symbol of North Korean power and prosperity to its current state as a towering, empty shell, the hotel represents both the ambition and the challenges of the country.

As North Korea continues to evolve and change, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the Ryugyong Hotel. Will it ever be completed and open to guests? Or will it remain a mysterious and enigmatic landmark on the Pyongyang skyline? Only time will tell.

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