Built on Monrovia’s highest point in a stylishly sophisticated fashion to overlook the Atlantic Ocean and the Saint Paul River, the Ducor Palace Hotel was Liberia’s pride and joy in the 1960s and one of the world’s most luxurious 5-star hotels.
Popularly known as Africas first luxurious hotel, the Ducor Palace hotel was built in 1960 as a way of opening the country up to more tourism opportunities. After an agreement with the local government, the eight stories building was built by a British company known as the Intercontinental hotels and designed by Romanian-Israeli architect and real estate developer, Moshe Mayer.
The hotel had more than a 100 rooms, a state of the art tennis court, a swimming pool and several restaurants with the best of chefs from around the world. It also boasted of modern architecture which stands out to date. According to Fischerfotos.com, Ducor Palace Hotel also featured large, covered circular driveway, tiled in bright blue that dropped visitors at the main lobby. From there, they could ascend the grand circular stairway to the main restaurant.
The circular restaurant was built on top of the driveway and provided panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the swimming pool was set in a lush sub-tropical garden.
Due to its luxurious appeal, the hotel hosted several important political programs between African leaders. It was also the first choice for richer tourists and travellers eager to visit Africa. The Ducor Palace Hotel also hosted diplomats and big-time business moguls from all over the world.
Being the first luxurious five-star hotel in Africa, it quickly sparked the development of the hotel industry in Africa. Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of Ivory Coast commissioned Moshe Moyer to build the 12-story 5-star Hotel Ivoire. It is a popular rumour that during one of his long stays at the hotel, Idi Amin swam in the pool with his gun in hand.
In 1989, the hotel was closed down with immediate effect following concerns of internal conflicts that later led to the First Civil War in Liberia. During the civil war, the interim government took control of the hotel and lived there for safety reasons.
The Hotel was then ceased from the government by the military and shortly after they evacuated it, it was taken up by squatters who made a home out of the hotel after fleeing their original settlements during the war. For several years, the squatters lived in what remained of the hotel after it had been looted.
In 2007, the government attempted to revive the Hotel by evicting all of the squatters from it. After the squatters left and the hotel cleaned up, the Government of Liberia gave the hotel to the government of Libya on lease in order to help renovate and reopen Ducor Hotel. Unfortunately, the fall of Gaddafi brought the dream to a halt.
To date, the hotel remains abandoned but is one of the most visited places in Monrovia especially by tourists who come to see the beautiful ruins. Locals in Liberia also love to visit the hotel for a view of the city during festive seasons.