North Korea often feels shrouded in an air of mystery, sparking curiosity for what exactly hides within.

What you’re probably not imagining when you picture the country is luxurious hotels complete with huge swimming pools and and massive marble lobbies.

This is the strange and surreal side of North Korea photographer Nicole Reed and author James Scullin explore in their new book, Hotels of Pyongyang.

‘Under constant supervision from local tour guides, a visitor is not permitted to walk freely along the streets of Pyongyang,’ explains the press release for the book. ‘This leaves considerable downtime spent within the confines of one of Pyongyang’s architecturally beguiling hotels where travellers dine in
grand banquet halls, belt out numbers in kitsch karaoke rooms and take in the evening view from one of the hotels’ revolving restaurants.’

All the hotels in the book permit foreign visitors, and have wildly varied – and oddly glamorous – decors. Take a look below.

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