Old Sea View Hotel



The old Sea View Hotel was opened in 1906, during the hotel boom years of the early 20th century.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

Early history
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.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



Author

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia



References
1. Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department. (1982). Singapore retrospect through postcards 1900–1930Singapore: Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department, p. 88. (Call no.: RSING 769.4995957 SIN); Sea View Hotel. (1906, June 5). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Singapore and Malayan directory1932 [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]. (1905). Singapore: Straits Times Press, p. 77.
4. 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.
5.  Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and MalaysiaMiddle 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 MalaysiaMiddle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing. p. 136. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI)
7. Untitled. (1913, May 31). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Page 11 advertisements column 3: Sea View Hotel. (1913, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Untitled. (1923, May 22). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and MalaysiaMiddle 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, 1900–1930Singapore: Sin Chew Jit Poh & Archives and Oral History Department, p. 88. (Call no.: RSING 769.4995957 SIN)
11. 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.
12. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, pp. 31, 33.
13. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and MalaysiaMiddle 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.
14. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, p. 31.
15. Wright, N. H. (2003). Respected citizens: The history of Armenians in Singapore and MalaysiaMiddle Park, Vic.: Amassia Publishing, p. 137. (Call no.: RSING 305.891992 WRI)
16. Page 4 advertisements column 4: Sea View Hotel. (1931, August 3). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Willis, A. C. (1936). Willis’s Singapore guide [Microfilm no.: NL 9039]. Singapore: Author, p. 31.
18. 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. Teo, G. (2003, August 26). View pointThe Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Sea View Hotel strike on. (1962, November 11). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Sea View staff back at work. (1963, February 7). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Biggest-ever auction of 60-year old [sic] hotel’s property. (1964, May 4). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Barker opens $20m. luxury hotel. (1969, December 17). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Rashiwala, K. (2003, October 31). Sea View Hotel to close down tomorrow. Business Times, p. 4; Sea view of yore. (2004, June 9). The Straits Times, p.4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Wheelock Properties Limited. Annual Report 2003/04, p. 5. Retrieved 2019, May 3 from Wheelock Company website: http://www.wheelockcompany.com/investors/NewAsiaE_AR0304.pdf
25. L, Daryl. (2005, July 3). You can get first pick of choicest units too. The Straits Times, p. 25; Prime property. (2006, January 5). The Straits Times, p.10. 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 senseThe Straits Times, 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
Places of interest
Trade and industry
Hotels--Singapore--History
Commerce and Industry
Sea View Hotel (Singapore)
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Services>>Tourism and hospitality
Recreation>>Places of Interest