Yanggakdo International Hotel: A standard stop for most tour of North Korea
This is where most tourists in Pyongyang end up staying. The Yanggakdo Hotel was opened in 1995 as a deluxe hotel. It's one of the three "Super First Class" hotels in North Korea by the time of my visit. I suspect "Super First Class" is equivalent to 5 star, although it felt like 3 and half star to me. While far from luxurious, it was fine.
The hotel is situated on Yanggakdo Island in the middle of the Taedong River. Yanggakdo means "goat's horn". Relatively isolated, with the only connections to the rest of the city being two bridges, the hotel seemed a perfect spot to house foreigners.
As I was clearly aware of the shortage of food here and didn't expect much, I thought the food was pretty satisfactory.
I tried the massage. It wasn't as cheap as in China, but I just wanted to know how a massage by a North Korean masseuse feels like.
The hotel rises to an overall height of 170 meters and sports a slowly revolving restaurant on the 47th floor. The rooms were big with incredible views stretching from the heart of Pyongyang to the distant countryside.
It features a variety of restaurants (serving Chinese, Korean and Japanese food), coffeeshops, and bars, plus a casino and Macau Restaurant in the basement. Beer was available (and payable) at lunch and dinner. The hotel's basement contains a bowling alley, a swimming pool, a barbers, a casino and a "gentlemen's massage club" run by a Chinese company with an exclusively female staff.