FRANKFURT, April 9 (Reuters) - Swiss-German group Kempinski has dropped plans to operate a hotel in North Korea, ending negotiations to manage rooms in the vast Ryugyong Hotel as the country threatens war against the United States and South Korea.
Kempinski said in November that it wished to open a 150 room luxury hotel in the pyramid-shaped building, which has 105 floors but has stood empty for years.
At the time its chief executive Reto Wittwer was quoted as saying that the project would be a ‘money-printing machine’ should North Korea ever open up.
However, North Korea intensified threats of an imminent conflict against the United States and the South on Tuesday, warning foreigners to evacuate South Korea to avoid being dragged into “thermonuclear war”.
“No contract was concluded for the management of the hotel and so a market entry is not possible at this time,” a spokeswoman for the group said on Tuesday.
She declined to comment further on the reasons behind the deal falling through. The negotiations were being run by Kempinski’s joint venture Key International.
Kempinski describes itself as Europe’s oldest luxury hotelier, with operations since 1897.
Among Kempinski’s hotels are the Adlon in Berlin, situated by the Brandenburg Gate and which has played host to royalty, politicians and celebrities such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Greta Garbo and Kaiser Wilhelm II. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)