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 old Sea View Hotel was originally a large colonial bungalow situated on the sea front, and surrounded by a grove of coconut trees.3 It was known for its idyllic surroundings and seaside location.4
The building that housed 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
When Eleazar Johannes took over in 1912, he added improvements such as the installation of electric lighting and fans.6 In 1913, a bungalow was converted into an annex known as Grove Bungalow for additional accommodation.7 By then, Sea View Hotel had also been using the nearby Grove Hotel as an annex.8
The Sarkies brothers became the hotel’s proprietors in 1923.9 Sea View Hotel 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.10 On its long verandah, guests were treated to 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.11 The hotel had a sea swimming pool with reinforced barriers to protect bathers from sharks, and bathing costumes and towels were available for hire at a small fee.12 There were also a ballroom and facilities for golf and tennis.13 Occasionally, cabarets and performances by a variety of artistes were held at the premises.14
In 1931, the hotel was taken over as a going concern by the executors of the estate of the late Manasseh Meyer,15 and came under the management of Sea View Hotel Ltd.16
Willis’s Singapore Guide (1936) described Sea View Hotel as one of the three leading hotels in Singapore, the other two being the Adelphi Hotel and Raffles Hotel.17 In an advertisement, Sea View Hotel was promoted as “the hotel on the sea-shore” and described as being situated on “One of Singapore’s natural Beauty Spots”.18 It earned a reputation as a place for guests to rest and recuperate after an illness.19
In the 1960s and after
In November 1962, more than 160 workers went on strike over a wage dispute.20 The strike, which lasted almost three months, ended in February 1963.21 The hotel closed in 1964, and thereafter its furniture was auctioned.22
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 1969.23 On 1 November 2003, the hotel ceased operations after Wheelock Properties (formerly known as Marco Polo Developments) acquired the site, and the building was demolished in June 2004.24 A new condominium named The Sea View was built at the Amber Close site.25
Joshua Chia Yeong Jia
1. Sin Chew Jit Poh (Singapore) and Archives and Oral History Department, Singapore, Singapore Retrospect Through Postcards 1900–1930 (Singapore: Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department, 1982), 88 (Call no. RSING 769.4995957 SIN); “Sea View Hotel,” Straits Times, 5 June 1906, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Singapore and Malayan Directory (Singapore: Fraser & Neave, 1932), p. 473 (Call no. 382.09595 STR-[LKL]; microfilm NL3174); G. M. Reith, Handbook to Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1985), 85. (Call no. RSING 959.57 REI-[HIS])
3. Souvenir of Singapore: A Descriptive and Illustrated Guide Book of Singapore (Singapore: Straits Times Press, 1905), 77. (Call no. RRARE 915.957 SOU; microfilm NL16348)
4. Souvenir of Singapore, 73; A. C. Willis, Willis’s Singapore Guide (Singapore: A. C. Willis, 1936), 30–31. (From BookSG)
5. Nadia H. Wright, Respected Citizens: The History of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia (Vic.: Amassia Publishing, 2003), 136–37 (Call no. RSING 305.891992 WRI); Singapore and Straits Directory (Singapore: Mission Press, 1907), 120. (Call no. RRARE 382.09595 STR; microfilm NL1182)
6. Wright, Respected Citizens, 136.
7. Untitled. (1913, May 31). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. "Page 11 advertisements column 3: Sea View Hotel," Straits Times, 5 April 1913, 11. (From NewspaperSG)
9. “Untitled,” Straits Times, 22 May 1923, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
10. Wright, Respected Citizens, 136–37; Sin Chew Jit Poh (Singapore) and Archives and Oral History Department, Singapore, Singapore Retrospect, 88.
11. Willis, Willis’s Singapore Guide, 30; Singapore Free Press, One Hundred Years of Progress: Centenary Number, October 8, 1935 (Singapore: The Singapore Free Press, 1935), 17, section 4. (Call no. RRARE 959.59 SIN; microfilm NL3615)
12. Willis, Willis’s Singapore Guide, 31, 33.
13. Wright, Respected Citizens, 136–37; Willis, Willis’s Singapore Guide, 30, 33.
14. Willis, Willis’s Singapore Guide, 31.
15. Wright, Respected Citizens, 137.
16. “Page 4 Advertisements Column 4: Sea View Hotel,” Straits Times, 3 August 1931, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
17. Willis, Willis’s Singapore Guide, 31.
18. Singapore Free Press, One Hundred Years of Progress, 17, section 4.
19. Ginnie Teo, “View Point,” Straits Times, 26 August 2003, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
20. “Sea View Hotel Strike On,” Straits Times, 11 November 1962, 13. (From NewspaperSG)
21. “Sea View Staff Back at Work,” Straits Times, 7 February 1963, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
22. “Biggest-Ever Auction of 60-Year Old [sic] Hotel’s Property,” Straits Times, 4 May 1964, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
23. “Barker Opens $20M. Luxury Hotel,” Straits Times, 17 December 1969, 31. (From NewspaperSG)
24. Kalpana Rashiwala, “Sea View Hotel to Close Down Tomorrow,” Business Times, 31 October 2003, 4; “Sea View of Yore,” Straits Times, 9 June 2004, 4 (From NewspaperSG); Wheelock Properties Limited, Annual Report 2003/04 (Hong Kong: Wheelock Properties Limited, n.d.), 5.
25. Daryl Loo, “You Can Get First Pick of Choicest Units Too,” Straits Times, 3 July 2005, 25; “Prime Property,” Straits Times, 5 January 2006, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
Sea View Hotel, Singapore, 1910s, photograph, Lim Keng Chye Collection, National Archives of Singapore (media-image no. 19980005884 – 0110)
Tay Suan Ching, “Past Presence, Perfect Sense,” Straits Times, 19 August 2006, 4. (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.