Caledonian Hotel



Caledonian Hotel, which was established in 1904, was one of the principal hotels in Singapore in the early 20th century.1 It was also said to be “the only British hotel in Singapore” at the time.2

History
Located at 77 Bras Basah Road, Caledonian Hotel was opened in 1904. It was listed in that year’s Singapore and Straits Directory as a principal hotel. The proprietor and manager were Thomas Sargeant and Thomas Martin Connolly respectively.

The hotel was housed at the site formerly occupied by Central Hotel, whose proprietor (Connolly) later became the manager of Caledonian Hotel.4 In 1908, the hotel came under a new management team, and was renovated and installed with electric lights, fans and gas. Uniformed staff were available to receive guests at Johnston’s Pier and Tanjong Pagar Wharves.5

Caledonian Hotel most probably ceased operations sometime in the 1910s.6 The building was subsequently occupied by a number of other hotels, including St George Hotel, Oriental Hotel, Metropole Hotel and Rex Hotel.7 After Rex Hotel, the premises was taken over in 1948 by the Mountbatten Club for British servicemen.8 Today, Carlton Hotel stands at the former site of the building.9

Description
At the time of its opening in 1904, The Straits Times newspaper described the Caledonian Hotel as a “handsome building” with a “cool restful appearance”, and with the interior “fitted in a most generous style”. The hotel had a large hall on the ground floor that was used as a billiard room-cum-bar. The billiard room was decorated with mirrors and furnished with six billiard tables imported from London.10

An advertisement in the book Souvenir of Singapore, which was published in 1905, dubbed the hotel “the only British hotel in Singapore”. It was described as a recently renovated and beautifully decorated hotel with 40 well-ventilated bedrooms, each installed with an electric bell and an en-suite bathroom. The hotel reportedly served excellent cuisine as well as “the choicest brands of wines and spirits”.11 

In advertisements published in the Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser in 1905, the hotel was called “the lightest and brightest rendezvous in the colony, and it was claimed that “those who stay at the Caledonian wear [a] smile that won’t come off”.12



Author

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia



References

1. ‘The Caledonian’. (1904, June 22). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Reith, G. M. (1985). Handbook to Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 85. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 REI-[HIS])
2. Souvenir of Singapore: A descriptive and illustrated guide book of Singapore [Microfilm no.: NL 16348]. (1905). Singapore: Straits Times Press, p. 105.
3. ‘The Caledonian’. (1904, June 22). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore and Straits directory for 1904 [Microfilm no.: NL 1181]. (1904). Singapore: Mission Press, p. 114.
4. Singapore and Straits directory for 1902 [Microfilm no.: NL 1181]. (1902). Singapore: Mission Press, p. 109; Singapore and Straits directory for 1904 [Microfilm no.: NL 1181]. (1904). Singapore: Mission Press, p. 114.
5. Page 2 advertisements column 1. (1908, September 21). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 2; Page 1 advertisements column 2. (1908, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 1; Page 1 advertisements column 2. (1908, December 15). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. National Heritage Board. (n.d.).
The Caledonia Hotel. Retrieved 2019, May 3 from National Heritage Board website: https://roots.sg/%20learn/collections/listing/1049013
7. New hotel. (1923, September 21). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 6; Local hotel to let. (1937, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 4; Air-conditioned rooms for new hotel. (1938, March 6). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Services club moving to new site. (1948, April 13). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. National Heritage Board. (n.d.). The Caledonia Hotel. Retrieved 2019, May 3 from National Heritage Board website: https://roots.sg/%20learn/collections/listing/1049013
10. ‘The Caledonian’. (1904, June 22). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Souvenir of Singapore: A descriptive and illustrated guide book of Singapore [Microfilm no.: NL 16348]. (1905). Singapore: Straits Times Press, p. 105.
12. Page 4 advertisements column 3. (1905, September 15). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, p. 4; Page 4 advertisements column 3. (1905, October 9). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at May 2019 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
Streets and Places
Heritage and Culture
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places