The Ducor Hotel swimming pool – Monrovia, Liberia. Image © Mark Fischer licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
The luxury hotel, as an architectural typology, is distinctive. In effect, it’s a self-contained community, a building that immerses the well-off visitor into their local context. Self-contained communities they might be, but these hotels are also vessels of the wider socioeconomic character of a place, where luxury living is often next door to informal settlements in the most extreme examples of social inequality.