The Pothonggang Hotel is a hotel located in downtown Pyongyang. A more upmarket venue compared to hotels such as the Yanggakdo International Hotel the Pothonggang specializes in hosting foreign delegations of a more prestige nature and is less common as a destination for regular tourist groups. Established in the 1970s and personally endorsed by Kim Il Sung, the hotel was rennovated in 2018 and became famous as the first accommodation in North Korea to provide WiFi services to tourists in the lobby, albeit at a price. The experience of the Pothonggang is typically quieter, more relaxed and formal than other venues in the country.
The Pothonggang as of 2018 offers a well furnished and quality interior with an emphasis on luxury, typically akin to a western four star hotel. Rooms come equipped with modern air conditioners, hairdryers, toiletries and amenities and televisions. Downstairs facilities around the lobby include several Korean restaurants, a Karaoke Room, a bar, a cafe, a convenience store, a bookstore and a gift shop. As the hotel is smaller and quieter, these facilities are open less hours than bigger facilities such as the Yanggakdo, typically having a 9am-8pm duration. Unlike other hotels, the Pothonggang also has a store selling local Sim cards and smartphones.A Pyongyang smartphone is on display and costs around $200.
As noted above, the hotel was also the first in North Korea to introduce Wifi services to foreigners. The wifi system in the lobby costs 10 RMB for 10 minutes. To use it, one must pay at the desk where they will enter for you a password onto your phone undisclosed. The system will sign you out after the duration is complete. It is important to bring a VPN if you are going to use this, for like China, the DPRK imposes censorship on mainstream social media websites such as facebook, twitter, google and also wechat. It is a much easier task to get round it, however.