Old Sea View Hotel



The old Sea View Hotel was opened in 1906, during the hotel boom years of the early 20th century.1 Unlike most of the early hotels that were located in town or its vicinity, Sea View Hotel was set up in Tanjong Katong, what was then considered the countryside.2 The hotel was known for its idyllic surroundings and seaside location.3

History
Opened in June 1906,4 the building that housed the Sea View Hotel was owned by Manasseh Meyer. The hotel was leased to several people over the years, including Eleazar Johannes (1912–23) and the Sarkies brothers (1923–31).5 In 1931, the hotel was taken over as a going concern by the executors of the estate of the late Manasseh Meyer,6 and came under the management of Sea View Hotel Ltd.7


In November 1962, more than 160 workers went on strike over a wage dispute.8 The strike ended in February 1963, lasting almost three months.9 The hotel closed in 1964, and thereafter its furniture was auctioned off.10

The Sea View Hotel was subsequently demolished, while a new 18-storey hotel of the same name was constructed at nearby Amber Close. The new Sea View Hotel opened in 1969.11

Description
The old Sea View Hotel was originally a large colonial bungalow situated on the sea front, and surrounded by a grove of coconut trees.12 From its humble beginnings in the early 20th century, the hotel had become one of the best in Singapore by the 1930s as a result of improvements and additions made to the hotel over time. When Eleazar Johannes took over in 1912, he added improvements such as the installation of electric lighting and fans.13


In 1913, a bungalow was converted into an annex known as Grove Bungalow for additional accommodation.14 By then, Sea View Hotel had also been using the nearby Grove Hotel as an annex.15

The Sarkies brothers became the hotel’s proprietors in 1923.16 The Sea View then underwent extensive renovations – a new wing was built, along with additional bedrooms, a new swimming pool as well as a new reading and writing room.17 On its long verandah, guests were treated with a panoramic view of the sea. Every room in the hotel was fitted with a bathroom with running hot and cold water, and modern sanitation.18 The hotel had a sea swimming pool with reinforced barriers to protect the bathers from sharks, and bathing costumes and towels were available for hire at a small fee.19 There were also a ballroom and facilities for golf and tennis.20 Occasionally, cabarets and performances by a variety of artistes were held at the premises.21

Willis’s Singapore Guide
(1936) described the Sea View Hotel as one of the three leading hotels in Singapore, the other two being the Adelphi Hotel and Raffles Hotel.22 In an advertisement, the hotel was promoted as “the hotel on the sea-shore” and situated on “One of Singapore’s natural Beauty Spots”.23 It earned a reputation as a place for guests to rest and recuperate after an illness.24




Author

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia



References
1. Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department. (1982). Singapore retrospect through postcards 1900–1930. Singapore: Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department, p. 88. (Call no.: RSING 769.4995957 SIN)
2. Singapore and Malayan directory, 1932 [Microfilm no.: NL 3174]. (1932). Singapore: Fraser & Neave, p. 473; Reith, G. M. (1985). Handbook to Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 85. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 REI-[HIS])
3. Souvenir of Singapore: A descriptive and illustrated guide book of Singapore [Microfilm no.: NL 16348]. Singapore: Straits Times Press, p. 73; Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, pp. 30—31.
4. Sea View Hotel. (1906, June 5). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Middle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing. pp. 136–137. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI); Singapore and Straits directory for 1907 [Microfilm no.: NL 1182]. (1907). Singapore: Mission Press, p. 120.
6. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Middle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing, p. 137. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI)
7. Page 4 advertisements column 4: Sea View Hotel. (1931, August 3). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sea View Hotel strike on. (1962, November 11). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Sea View staff back at work. (1963, February 7). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Biggest-ever auction of 60-year old [sic] hotel’s property. (1964, May 4). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Barker opens $20m. luxury hotel. (1969, December 17). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Souvenir of Singapore: A descriptive and illustrated guide book of Singapore [Microfilm no.: NL 16348]. (1905). Singapore: Straits Times Press, p. 77.
13. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Middle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing. p. 136. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI)
14. Untitled. (1913, May 31). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Page 11 advertisements column 3: Sea View Hotel. (1913, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Untitled. (1923, May 22). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Middle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing, pp. 136—137. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI); Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department. (1982). Singapore retrospect through postcards, 1900–1930. Singapore: Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department, p. 88. (Call no.: RSING 769.4995957 SIN)
18. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, p. 30; The Singapore Free Press. (1935). One hundred years of progress: Centenary number, October 8, 1935 [Microfilm no.: NL 3615]. Singapore: The Singapore Free Press, p. 17, Section 4.
19. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, pp. 31, 33.
20. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Middle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing, pp. 136–137. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI); Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, pp. 30, 33.
21. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, p. 31.
22. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, p. 31.
23. The Singapore Free Press. (1935). One hundred years of progress: Centenary number, October 8, 1935 [Microfilm no.: NL 3615]. Singapore: The Singapore Free Press, p. 17, Section 4.
24. Teo, G. (2003, August 26). View point. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Lim, K. C. (1910s). Sea View Hotel, Singapore [Image accession no. 37034]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
 

Tay, S. C. (2006, August 19). Past presence, perfect sense. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2007 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Hotels--Singapore--History
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Services>>Tourism and hospitality
Recreation>>Places of Interest
Places of interest
Sea View Hotel (Singapore)