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“Could be a lot worse”
Review of Yanggakdo Hotel

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Yanggakdo Hotel
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Pyongyang
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
65 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Could be a lot worse”
Reviewed December 13, 2013 via mobile

I had very few preconceptions about what to expect so i tried not to be hopeful. The rooms are scruffy and a touch dated but not bad - i especially loved the complimentary toiletries (every souvenir from this country is unique). The food in the bar at the lobby was bearable while the grub served up in the revolving roof top restaurant was a car crash. The omelette in the morning was the most vile dish i've ever been served!
Lifts are lousy, but you can find a bowling alley, games arcade, shop, sauna, spa and swimming pool in the basement: it certainly has some facilities!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank juzzaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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474 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (96)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
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English first
Kaliningrad, Russia
Level Contributor
177 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2013

Pretty good hotel, impressive with its size, rooms are clean, didn`t noticed any problems with electricity, and almost no problems with water (in case room is high - it takes time for hot water to start). TV was working only first couple of days, then, all the channels disappeared, but not really matters. Hotel location was not critical in case tour was organized, but it`s a little bit far from city center - it gives a nice view to the city and Chuchkhe monument. There are several small shops, including souvenirs and some groceries in lobby, also, there is a post-service, which works surprisingly fast. The revolving restaurant on the hotel`s roof is very nice, sometimes, just need to ask personnel to launch rotation.

Room Tip: Elevators have some problems, sometimes, but taking room on lower floor will steal the ability to en...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank R0man4282
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
119 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2013

It's North Korea... They try to appear impressive. Big lobby, lots of elevators, restaurants, stores etc. No one speaks English. Not even the front desk.
What you will care about is the rooms: basic but clean although I'm not sure I want to walk barefoot. Double windows: which is good because they dredge the river constantly- very noisy. I made the mistake of leaving the windows open one night and found that out the hard way. Air conditioning is hard to adjust: It can be freezing. Bathroom adequate. Hot water not hot but regularly warm which is better than what you get in the rest of North Korea. Elevators are a nightmare especially to get up to the roof restaurant which has lousy food. The restaurants are blah. The first night we were there and several mornings we ate in one that blasted propaganda videos.
What is good is the on site Post Office. Makes sending postcards really easy. You can also make phone calls from there but I didn't try.

Room Tip: No point. You don't have a choice
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Location
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Helpful?
7 Thank Francoise1948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We stayed at the Hotel Yanggakdo in August - the hotel has great views of the city right down the river. The power failed during our stay but wasn't really a problem - that's fairly normal in the DPRK and everyone just gets their torches out! Room was clean and simple, but fine for our stay... while basic was definitely better than expected and definately the best accommodation we visited in the DPRK.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Anthea F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vladivostok
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2013

I was very surprised that hotel Yanggakdo is that big, it is just huge. There were 8 elevators or so. It has several restaurant - Korean and Chinese, banquet halls, lovely pub with good beer and turtles in aquariums. I had great view of Pyongyang city from my vindow. Room was clean, bathroom was big but needed some renovation. There were some international programs on TV. Every morning they put new bottle of water (free). There are 3 souvenir stores there with some snack, soft drinks and alcohol; book store; post office there you can use Internet and call abroad. The only problem is its situation on an island, isolated from the city.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank Mayuna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Acton, MA
Level Contributor
80 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed October 27, 2013

Hotels with revolving restaurants on top seem to have gone out of style in most of the world by around 1980, but North Korea seems to be outside the normal space-time continuum, so why not? The Yanggakdo Hotel is similar in design to hotels I have visited in the former Soviet Union or ones in Africa built by the East Germans or Russians. That said, there is nothing terribly wrong with it. I was there for 4 nights in October, for a 2-day conference, also held in the hotel. The conference facilities were fine and my room was perfectly OK. TV choices were limited: 2 North Korean channels, Chinese CCTV, one or two Russian stations, and the BBC (picture, no sound). Breakfast was pretty good. I had had the foresight to buy some instant coffee at the Starbuck's in the Beijing airport, but otherwise, what they served at breakfast - especially the Korean menu choice - was not bad. Canned juice, but otherwise a fried or scrambled egg, kimchi, some tasty stir-fried tofu with some veggies, and white rice or congee. There are several stores on the ground floor: a bookstore mainly selling works of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un in Korean, Chinese, English, French, and Spanish, plus a collection of North Korean DVDs. I bought one of these, which I have not yet watched. A gift shop selling trinkets, traditional Korean robes, T-shirts, etc. Another gift shop with a pretty eclectic collection of stuff: local booze, lots of ginseng root and ginseng preparations, some pharmaceuticals (antibiotics, pain relievers), quite a lot of cosmetics made by a South Korean company operating in the joint North-South Kaesong special economic zone. Most bizarrely, a shop in the hotel lobby selling Swiss watches. I didn't make it up to the revolving restaurant, but I did visit the casino one night - all Chinese dealers, cashiers and pit bosses, no locals allowed in, whether as players or employees. You can buy chips for dollars, Euros, or renminbi. I won $130 at blackjack, playing with a bunch or rowdy Mongolians. Who'd a thunk?

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank ckrakoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing
Level Contributor
34 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed October 12, 2013

For anyone travelling to North Korea they would have heard about the power cuts, food shortages, crumbling economy and lack of freedom of communication. Even in a hotel that's been hailed as one of the best in the country, you would still notice these things in the form of occasional power outages (only annoying when you are in the lift at the time), lack of choice for breakfast ( the chicken was delicious though), the dated feeling of the hotel and the closed down casino when we were there, and of course no phone and no internet. But if you are travelling to North Korea by choice then it would be silly to assume that you would have all the comfort back home even if they tell you its a '5 start' hotel. Instead, you could marvel at the big turtles in the fishtank in the lobby, enjoy draft beer at the hotel bar for around 2 Euros a pint, try a bit of bowling ( a hilarious experience) or a spot of pool. Just rememeber to give yourself extra time for travelling in the lift as they are notoriously slow. And remember that while you are enjoying this country in the best comfort that they can provide, your guide is probably sleeping ten to a dozen in the lower floors with no electricity or hot water (ours did).

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lucy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Yanggakdo Hotel

Property: Yanggakdo Hotel
Address: | Yanggakdo Island, Pyongyang, North Korea
Location: North Korea > Pyongyang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Casino and Gambling Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Pyongyang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 168
Also Known As:
Yanggakdo Hotel Pyongyang

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