You can’t exactly go on priceline.com to look for hotel deals. All visitors to the hermit kingdom can only stay at Yanggakdo hotel. Its highlights include running hot water and two bowling alleys. The carpet is probably unchanged since the hotel opened in 1987. There are lots of mystery floors in which lift doors open to complete darkness. My neighbour was probably an arms dealer.
Like New York City’s Roosevelt Island, the 47 floored Yanggakdo is located on Yanggak island in the middle of the Taedong River. It is isolated from the centre of Pyongyang which provides a natural boundary for those attempting to see the city. Tourists are prohibited from wandering in public areas without a guide.
The unobstructed view of the city from my hotel room was actually quite spectacular. Skyscrapers like in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and a sports stadium filled the backdrop.