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“Friendly staff” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ryanggang Hotel

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Ryanggang Hotel
Ranked #8 of 8 Hotels in Pyongyang
Tokyo, Japan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Friendly staff”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 8, 2012

I stayed in room 615 of this hotel in mid March 2012. It was my first time in Pyongyang, so I am unable to compare it to other hotels in the region. The hotel had good food, absolutely excellent coffee, and the staff were lively and humerous. Our group felt very welcome. Rooms and facilities were more than adequate and I slept very well.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Phelel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    6
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    6
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2012

My partner and I visited North Korea on in mid-April 2012 during the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. As a result of the rare convergence of the Centenary, one of the first Worker’s Party Conferences in years, and the historic invitation of Western media into the Country to cover a missile launch, mere tourists like us were shuffled off to a hotel that probably hasn’t seen western tourists in years. If ever. As a result I doubt anyone reading this review will actually be sent to the Ryanggang again.
A hotel like this needs graded on a curve. In the West, it would be a 1 star. In North Korea, it probably deserves an extra star since it would be luxurious by their standards.
The hotel had a full complement of activities. A movie theater (we didn’t visit it), a karaoke bar, a rotating restaurant (That didn’t rotate), a ping pong room, a sauna, multiple restaurants (or at least dining rooms), a coffee shop, a book store (selling the works of the Kims of course) and a gift shop that only had bottled water when we arrived, but was fully stocked with Coke products from Singapore by the time we left.
The hotel was….odd. I think parts of it had been mothballed, and our room seemed to have been one of them. In fact, the hall beyond our room was blocked off. We didn’t have a working TV (The plug in was falling to pieces) and the electrical outlet for it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in a hotel. When the only light in the room was on, it actually crackled. And it was directly above frayed carpet. Given the cinder block construction of the hotel, I was afraid our room would become a giant tandoori oven.
We had ample radiant heat from the floor, and we also consistently had hot water. However, the shower only came up to my chest, and we had no shower curtain, which resulted in wet floors. The built in radio was just a shell as the radio workings had fallen back into the cabinet. The wake up call (on the morning it actually came) was a recording of a North Korean man shouting something at us. The absolute worst thing was that we were given “Korean” mattresses. Or so we were told. They were literally a board covered with a thin red quilting, a blanket and a sheet. Over that was a comforter you slept under. It was honestly awful. It actually made a sleep number bed seem appealing. I was able to see a room in the tower, and it had a working TV and a mattress, so the quality of the rooms seems to vary wildly.
One good thing was that we were in the low rise part of the hotel, which allowed us to walk to the lobby instead of waiting for the unreliable elevators. Our only experience with them was in trying to get to the rotating restaurant. If you can hide a restaurant, the hotel tried to do it. Only one of the elevators in the bank actually went to the restaurant, but there was no indication which one it was. We ended up in the wrong elevator, and after unsuccessfully searching for stairs, transferred to the correct elevator on a higher floor. While trying toi summon the elevator, we noticed that while the button for it only showed up, but the floor monitor showed the elevator descending. The karaoke bar was similarly hidden. You had to open a set of double doors, with a single door opening outward immediately behind them. It opened into a curtain. If you pushed the curtain aside, you would find yourself on the stage. Nevertheless, some people still managed to find it.

We were in the hotel 3 nights, and had breakfast there each morning. The breakfasts were acceptable, but I did witness one tourist getting chastised for taking too many eggs. Once by the server, and again by a supervisor who came out to wave her finger at him.
The best story to show the flavor of the hotel happened to a fellow member of our tour group. At about 1 am one night the front desk called and asked if he would share his room as they were out of rooms and he was in a single. They were preparing to send up a stranger. He was such a nice guy he agreed, and although he stayed up for an hour, no one showed up.
I would never, ever choose the hotel anywhere else in the world. But in North Korea it merely added to the bizarre society we were immersed in and it was a fine place to stay

Room Tip: Try to get a room in the Tower and make certain you ask for a mattress
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
18 Thank BPStPaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Pyongyang hotels

Tallangatta, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2012

Due to a shortage of rooms in Pyongyang during the centenary celebrations of Kim Il Sungs birthday in April we stayed here instead of where we were supposed to.
Tour days in the DPRK are long and tiring so at least it was a place to have a shower and a sleep in the hard beds which are customary throughout the country.
Water was always hot so no problems there, shower curtain let a lot of water onto the floor no matter how you tried to avoid it. Main light didn't work and despite a couple of requests to get it fixed and assurances it would be it never was (such is life, it was not a major drama)
Only one power outlet seemed to work and it took some fiddling to get the TV to work (for what it was worth!)
Small bar located on the ground floor along with a shop.
Breakfast at the hotel was OK in comparision to others we had in the DPRK.
All in all it was an average hotel but it provided a hot shower and a bed at the end of the day and lets face it you get no choice sokame the most of it.

Room Tip: you won't get a say !
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lostinegypt05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
34 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2012

As a last minute change in plans, our group was housed at the Ryanggang Hotel during the Centennial celebration in April. Walking down the hall to our room was eerily similar to the hallway in “The Shining” because we seemed to put in some area of the hotel that isn’t used much and it was very quiet and dark. The room had two single beds without mattresses and balcony overlooking a soccer field (or rather Football for my non-American friends). The TV did not work, there wasn’t a light bulb in the ceiling and there were exposed live wires at the base of the wall by the carpet. The bathroom didn’t have a shower curtain, but it did have hot water and decent pressure through the handheld shower head. Also, the ancient radio next to the bed was just a shell of a radio. Fortunately, we were so exhausted from touring every day that sleeping on a wood platform wasn’t that bad. Also, the somewhat comfortable comforter could be draped around your body to give the illusion of a mattress. Our morning wake-up call was a shrill telephone ring followed by a man shouting in Korean similar to drill sergeant. I assume it was a recorded message. The hotel was fairly large and had bar off the lobby and a Karaoke club in the basement. I didn’t get a chance to visit the Karaoke club, but I think I heard a group singing “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Jon Bon Jovi when I walked by so I gather you don’t have to brush up on your North Korean top 40 songs to participate. On the top floor is a revolving restaurant that didn’t revolve, but it did provide more comfortable seating to drink and relax than the lobby bar.

I didn’t find the food at the hotel to be as bad as other reviewers have cited – there were eggs in the morning with toast (but don’t take too many b/c you’ll get scolded) and the dinner on the first night was traditional Korean and also decent. Staying here was a rude awakening after my luxury hotel in Beijing, but it was so exciting to be in North Korea that it didn’t really matter about my room as long as it was clean and I could take a hot shower and this hotel provided those necessities. I’d probably choose another hotel on my next visit to the DPRK – ha – just kidding – there’s no “choosing” involved and I don’t anticipate any near-future return visits, but I highly recommend the trip to everyone.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank patrickstpaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wirral
Level Contributor
25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2012

This hotel is shocking, my room was so bad you would think I was making it up. I promise the rooms electricals were very bad. I flushed the toilet and my feet got a wash...... The beds are so hard I think the floor was more comfortable. I am trying to think of something positive to say about the Ryanggang hotel, I can't.......

Room Tip: Book into another hotel
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank SimonRyder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tasmania
Level Contributor
718 reviews
140 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 357 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 28, 2012

We had the "pleasure" of staying in three different rooms in this hotel during a recent trip to the DPRK. It was a busy time so the better hotels were full and we even believe that this hotel is usually closed...

If you can, avoid it as the rooms are basic and beds can be very uncomfortable (ask for a mattress if you have to stay here!). The breakfast was terrible and the location out of town. The hot water does not work on higher floors.

The good things were a cheap and comprehensive shop (we bought the most souvenirs here and the lady was very helpful) and a true DPRK experience - we can now look back and laugh!

Room Tip: Low floors get more hot water and ask for a mattress
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank wombatdavid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
150 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 24, 2012

We suspect that this hotel was only in use to cope with the additional tourist visiting for Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday celebrations. Not all floors were in use and they look like parts of the hotel have be decommissioned for years.
The rooms are 1* and only a selection have mattresses. The remainder had 2 pieces of hardboard, with 0,5 cm of wadding on top, I didn't get a mattress for any of the 3 days we stayed, but we managed to get a mattress for the wife on the 3rd night!
Breakfasts are poor, with everything cold, including the boiled eggs. If you are lucky enough to get a piece of omelette, they tended to be rubbery and cold as if they were 'shipped in'. On the one night we were unfortunate enough to have our evening meal in the hotel, it was also cold and consisted of much the same as the breakfast selections (e.g. Bread, spam and cold vegetables!).
The rooms above floor 5 do not get hot water (we stayed on floor 10 one visit!), even when the hjot water is on for the 1 hour on the morning. All the rooms are too hot due to underfloor heating, but we just opened the balcony window.
The best aspect of this hotel was the 2 bars and the shops. The revolving Bar (only 1 lift goes to that floor), obviously hasn't revolved for years and is now a chinese restaurant, but no one eats there and it was just used as a bar. The lobby bar was also OK, but had limited seating. Less than half a euro for a large bottle of Korean beer!
The hotel is also out of the main city centre.
My advice is to avoid this hotel unless you have know option.

Room Tip: Choose floors 5 or below and you might get hot water!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank PJEColchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Ryanggang Hotel

Property: Ryanggang Hotel
Address: Chongchun Street | Mangyongdae District, Pyongyang, North Korea
Location: North Korea > Pyongyang
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 8 Hotels in Pyongyang
Number of rooms: 330

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