The Hyangsan Hotel is considered a 6 star hotel in North Korea. Needless to say, it is one of the most luxurious hotels in the DPRK.
As you drive through the lush area of Mount Myohyang 묘향산 (roughly translating as Beautiful Fragrance Mountain), approximately 160 km north of Pyongyang in the northern interior of North Korea, meandering your way up while enjoying views of the crystalline water of the Chongchon River, you will notice a sci-fi pyramid appear into scene.
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The Hyangsan Hotel is just a few minutes drive away from the International Friendship Exhibition Centre where hundreds of thousands of gifts presented to the leaders of the country are put on display in two buildings partially built into the mountains and underground.
The International Friendship Exhibition Centre in Mount Myohyang is just a few minutes' drive away from the Hyangsan Hotel.
We usually arrange lunch at the Hyangsan Hotel when going on a day trip to Mount Myohyang.
Another highlight of the area is Pohyon Temple where monks currently live.
Pohyon Buddhist Temple, Mount Myohyang
If staying overnight at the Hyangsan Hotel you will be able to go on a hike around Mount Myohyang and visit the Ryongmun Caverns which are a 40 minute drive south.
Hiking trail in the Manpok Valley
The Hyangsan Hotel was not always a luxurious one. It was built in 1986 and its interior refurbished in 2010. Let’s take a brief look at what it looked like before being refurbished.
The exterior itself has not changed much. The main difference is that the banquet hall windows where travellers have lunch have been covered up.
The Hyangsan Hotel in 2008, before being renovated. Note the windows in the restaurant on the first floor (second in Korean terms).
Great views before renovation - the Hyangsan Hotel's banquet hall, where travellers have lunch, used to have opened windows. These have all been covered up now. We took this in 2008.
Whereas before we could enjoy the scenery from the restaurant located on the second floor (in Korean terms, first floor in western terms), this is now not possible. The food is much tastier now, but not being able to enjoy the stunning views from the banquet hall is a minus.
The Hyangsan Hotel Now. Notice that the restaurant windows are covered up now.
What a Pity! - the Hyangsan Hotel is undoubtably much better now, but we can't help think that having views of the surrounding beautiful area from the banquet hall, where travellers have lunch, as was the case before would have been a major extra plus.
The main difference is with no question the interior of the hotel.
Nature in the Hotel - compare the lobby in the picture above before the hotel was renovated with the picture below.
Spot the Difference? The Hyangsan Hotel lobby now
It has changed so much that the Hyangsan is in fact a totally different hotel now. From a low budget hotel with plastic deer in the lobby and a 1970s decor that looks straight out from a 007 movie, the Hyangsan Hotel has been transformed into the one of the crown jewels of DPRK tourism.
Back in the Days - entrance to the karaoke room when the Hyangsan was a low cost hotel with a groovy feel to it. Picture taken in 2008
The Hyangsan Hotel has 15 floors with 228 rooms and all the facilities you would expect from a high class hotel.
Map of the Hyangsan Hotel located in the hotel lobby
This includes a great swimming pool, gym with the latest fitness equipment, sauna, two spas, bars, billiards room, dance hall, karaoke room and several restaurants and conference halls. On the top floor you will also find a revolving restaurant which you cannot miss if staying there overnight.
The lobby has a tea & coffee shop, beer bar, beauty salon and souvenir shop.
Coffee shop in the Hyansgan Hotel
Outdoor facilities include a tennis and a badminton court as well as an open-air restaurant. You can pick your fish in the outdoor restaurant and the chef will cook it up for you there!
Rooms are spacious and comfortable with flat screen TVs.
Standard Room at the Hyangsan Hotel
Standard Room at the Hyangsan Hotel
They all have a balcony from which you can enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains.
Balcony views from one of the rooms
All rooms have a shower and a bathtub.
We usually have lunch here when going on a day trip to Mt. Myohyang.
Although we do not get to see the beautiful view of Mount Myohyang from the banquet hall where lunch is served, as used to be the case, the food is certainly a big plus here.
Lunch is served in several courses and a typical meal includes fresh bread and butter, chicken soup, boneless trout, deep fried vegetables, fried mashed potato and a meatball in sauce at the end.
Complimentary drinks, as per all meals in DPRK, include local bear and water. You can swap your beer for a fizzy drink if you like.
After lunch, you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at the teahouse downstairs at the lobby.
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