A 105-story, pyramid-shaped hotel in North Korea’s capital city just might be on the verge of opening after 20 years of planning and construction.
According to the Associated Press, Pyongyang’s Ryugyong Hotel will "partially, probably" open in the middle of next year, Reto Wittwer, CEO of international hotel operator Kempinski AG, told the newswire.
The highly anticipated hotel, which will be managed by Kempinski, will come equipped with shops, offices, ballrooms, restaurants and 150 rooms.
The monstrosity of hotel has long been a source of embarrassment and ridicule for North Korea's authoritarian regime since they began construction back in the 1980s. A work stoppage was eventually put in place in the 1990s after funding ran out. Exterior construction resumed in 2009.
While there have various reports in recent years that the hotel was preparing to finally open, a Beijing-based tour agency was allowed to peek inside this past September and released pictures of the bare concrete lobby.
Wittwer told AP that he first saw a picture of the hotel many years ago, and thought then that it could eventually make a lot of money.
The Kempinski CEO added that Cairo-based Orascom Telecom is funding the construction and that the firm launched a mobile network in North Korea in 2008.