Old Sea View Hotel


The old Sea View Hotel was set up during the hotel boom years of the early 1900s.  Unlike most of the early hotels that were set up in the town or its vicinity, Sea View Hotel, like the Grove Hotel, was set up in the countryside in Tanjong Katong. Established in 1906, it became the second hotel to do so soon after Grove Hotel. It soon became the only seaside resort in Singapore when the Grove Hotel became one of its two annexes around 1909. With its idyllic surroundings and location by the sea it could offer an ambiance and facilities that hotels in the town could not, such as setting in a grove of coconut trees, and areas for having a picnic or enjoying a hike.

Started in 1906, the old Sea View Hotel was built in Tanjong Katong in the late 19th century. The property was owned by Reuben Manasseh Meyer. It was leased to several people including Eleazar Johannes (from 1912-1923), and the Sarkies Brothers (from 1923-1931), who operated it as the Sea View Hotel and Sanatorium and from 1926 the Sea View Hotel. The hotel was taken over as a going concern by the executors of the estate of the late Manasseh Meyer in 1931. Sea View Hotel Ltd. then became the proprietors and operated the hotel till 1962. Subsequently the old hotel was demolished for the construction of a new hotel bearing the same name. The new hotel began operations in 1969 but ceased in 2003. A condominium is now being developed on the site of the old Sea View Hotel.

The old Sea View Hotel was originally a large colonial bungalow situated on the sea front, and surrounded by a grove of coconut trees. 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 to the hotel whenever its management changed hands to make it a hotel par excellence. When Eleazar Johannes took over in 1912, he added improvements such as the installation of electric lighting and fans. In 1923, when the Sarkies Brothers became the proprietors, the Sea View Hotel went through extensive renovations, and a new wing and additional bedrooms were added to the building.   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.  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.  The hotel also had facilities for golf and tennis, and a magnificent ballroom where dancing took place frequently. Occasionally, guests were treated with cabarets and performances by a variety of artistes.

Willis's Singapore Guide
described the Sea View Hotel as one of the three leading hotels in Singapore, the others being the Adelphi Hotel and Raffles Hotel. In an advertisement placed in One hundred years of progress: Centenary number, October 8, 1935 of the Singapore Free Press, the hotel was promoted as "the hotel on the sea-shore" and situated on "One of Singapores natural Beauty Spots". It had earned a reputation as a place for guests to rest and recuperate after an illness. In fact when Charlie Chaplin came to this part of the world, and contracted dengue fever in the Dutch East Indies, he chose to stay in the Sea View Hotel after his discharge from hospital.


Joshua Chia Yeong Jia

Dunlop, P. K. G.  (2000).  Street names of Singapore (p. 169).  Singapore: Who's Who.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)

Reith, G. M. (1985).  Handbook to Singapore (p. 85).  Singapore: Oxford University Press.  
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 REI)

Sin Chew Jit Poh and Archives and Oral History Department (1982).  Singapore retrospect through postcards, 1900-1930 (pp. 88-89).  Sin Chew Jit Poh and Archives and Oral History Department. 
(Call no.: RSING 769.4995957 SIN)

Singapore and Malayan directory for 1932 (p. 473) [Microfilm: NL3174]. (1932). Singapore: Fraser & Neave.

Singapore and Straits directory for 1907
(p. 120) [Microfilm: NL1182]. (1907) Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press.

Singapore Free Press. (1935). One hundred years of progress: centenary number, October 8, 1935 (Section 4, p. 17) [Microfilm: NL3615]. Singapore: Author

Turnbull, C. M.  (1985).  A history of Singapore: 1819-1975 (p. 140).  Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR)

Willis, A. C. (1936).  Willis's Singapore guide (pp. 30-31, 33) [Microfilm: NL 9039].  Singapore: Author.

Wright, Nadia H. (2003). Respected citizens: the history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia (pp. 136-137). Middle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing.
(Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI)

Tay, S. C.  ( 2006, August 19).  Past presence. Perfect sense; retaining old buildings in new residential developments adds to the area's history, making the projects richer for it..  The Straits Times, Life!.  Retrieved August 29, 2007, from Factiva database.

Teo, G.  (2003, August 26).  View point: Laidback and rundown, Sea View Hotel will soon close.  The Straits Times.  Retrieved August 29, 2007, from Factiva database.

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. 

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Sea View Hotel (Singapore)

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