Former DPRK embassy to become hotel

As has been chronicled before on this website, North Korean embassies generally secure their own  operating funds.  Although this might seem odd to western observers, it is an innovative model that has its benefits (i.e. the embassies earn a profit and economic considerations play a large role in determining whether an embassy is worth the cost).  There is also a downside to this model, and that is that more than one North Korean diplomat has been caught in some sort of shady smuggling or tax avoidance scheme.

The staff at the DPRK’s embassy in Germany, however, have been quite entrepreneurial in managing their real estate holdings.  They are converting their old offices into hotel space:

The Cityhostel Berlin will initially have 37 rooms at a charge of 20 Euros ($31) per head a night, Sankei reported. A reception with a grand piano is being built and a Korean restaurant is due to open in May, the newspaper said.

The embassy buildings, occupying 8,160 square meters (87,788 square feet), were built in the 1970s during the Cold War and are located in old East Berlin, Sankei said. Staff numbers at the embassy were cut after the Cold War ended and the building being converted was previously leased to corporations, Sankei said.

Update 4/5/2008:
From the Daily Telegraph:

A spokesman for the North Korean embassy dismissed the reports as Japanese propaganda, however.

“The rumours about this hostel are based on Japanese media reports, but they are not correct,” the spokesman said.

“The Japanese media are very much influenced by their government and they probably gave out this wrong information because they are our enemies.”

but…

On its website, City Hostel notes that it signed a contract in December to occupy the building, which it describes as “formerly the consulate of North Korea”.

Read the full articles here:
North Korea Converts German Embassy Into Hostel, Sankei Reports
Bloomberg
Hideko Takayama
3/25/2008

Enjoy your stay… at North Korean embassy
Daily Telegraph
Harry de Quetteville
4/5/2008

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4 Responses to “Former DPRK embassy to become hotel”

  1. AlexOverseas Says:

    Fascinating! I used to live in Cairo, and the DPRK embassy there is a wonderful, mouldering, “Sunset Boulevard” style mansion in what was once a very posh district (much of it nationlized after the 1952 revolution). We used to sit on a friend’s balcony and watch the staff’s weekend activities in the embassy’s overgrown garden, which consisted entirely of playing volleyball, getting drunk, and then fighting. We also used to peer up the front walk into the sometimes half-open door; the lobby was dominated by a a large illuminated Great Leader/Dear Leader mural that often seemed, at night, the only source of light on the premises.

    It would make an atmospheric hotel, that’s for sure…

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