Pothonggang Hotel Review
Fun fact, kids: there is a hotel in Pyongyang that is jointly owned by the government of the DPRK and the avowedly anti-communist Unification Church, or as the cool kids call them, the ‘Moonies’.
What and why are great questions here. Long story short, the Reverend Moon was born in North Korea and, to some extent, members come here to pay homage.
Why the Pothonggang Hotel?
I personally have only ever once stayed in the Pothonggang Hotel, and that was 10 years ago during my first research trip to the country. My reasoning for going was a bizarre fascination with the place, and that I wanted to check out all of the best hotels in Pyongyang.
I have been back a few times since and it is not uncommon for banks and other businesses to have offices located here, or for embassies to hold events here, such as the the British Embassy during the Queen’s Jubilee.
What are Pothonggang Hotel rooms like?
The Pothonggang Hotel can be considered one of the best hotels in Pyongyang and thus North Korea, and the rooms reflect that. By Western standards we would say 4-5 star, or on the lower end of a 5 at best. It sports standard facilities but with one kicker; the Pothonggang Hotel is the only hotel in the DPRK where you can watch CNN, which depending on the news that day, can make it quite a surreal affair.
Pothonggang Hotel Location
The Pothonggang Hotel is very centrally located, specifically being in the embassy district, and close to the famous hot-pot restaurant amongst others.
If you’re thirsty it is also close to the “Diplo”, or better still if you have access to some actual diplomats, the near-mythical Random Access Club on the UN compound.
Pothonggang Hotel – Facilities
Pretty damned good!
- Two high quality lobby bars (although quite expensive);
- Indoor swimming pool;
- The only TV in Pyongyang that gets both BBC and CNN;
- A number of great restaurants;
- Allegedly there’s a Unification church on the compound;
- Great function rooms that are often rented by embassies, which means you might bump into some diplomats;
- On our last trip we even saw a sign that said WiFi. Internet in North Korea you say? We were not able to verify it, but it looks promising;
- A great location.
Conclusion on the Pothonggang Hotel
The Pothonggang Hotel is one of the best hotels in North Korea, and thus Pyongyang, although you will not stay here on a YPT group tour. If you are doing an independent tour, it is at least hypothetically possible to stay here.
The Pothonggang Hotel is certainly an interesting place to see, but if you want action or company, then you should stay at the Koryo, or better still at the Yanggakdo Hotel.