Singapore is home to many state-of-the-art architectures, fascinating museums and galleries, and unique places such as food centers and nature parks. For many years, the country has established itself as one of the safest cities in the world. Also referred to as the little red dot, this 56-year-old nation, while young compared to its neighboring countries is brimming with rich history underneath modernized infrastructures.

The Fullerton Hotel, previously called Fullerton Building is an iconic symbol of Singapore. It is located at the heart of the picturesque Marina Bay area, blending with the effortless charm of the Singapore River. This magnificent building has witnessed historical events dating back from the Japanese occupation to the post-war period. It was named after Robert Fullerton, a Scotsman and the first governor of the Straits Settlements from 1826 to 1830. 

The call to build such a remarkable building was derived from the celebration of Singapore’s founding centennial anniversary in 1919. Sir Lawrence Guillemard, the island’s governor at that time, commissioned British architect, Major P. Hubert Keys of Keys & Dowdeswell, after winning a design competition, to create a municipal building that will mark the new wealth and power of Singapore. The design exhibited a neoclassical architecture that echoed the Greek’s fluted Doric colonnades, like that of the Parthenon, and is integrated with intricate details and elaborate ornamentations.

In 1965, when Singapore gained its independence, the then Fullerton Building started to house some of the most important government offices that empowered the country’s development and economic stability. On the ground floor was Singapore’s General Post Office. The Trade Division and the Economic Development Board were both on the second floor. On the fourth floor is the Income Tax Department and on the fifth floor was the Ministry of Finance. And after more than 30 years, the building needed a major transformation that will bring about a whole new purpose for the contemporary world.

According to Ngiam Tong Dow, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance and former Chairman of Economic Development Board, “For a time, we thought of making Fullerton Building, the Stock Exchange, but I think to Mr. Lim Hng Kiang’s great credit, actually, he was my Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of National Development, he said no. He said we should transform Fullerton into a grand hotel.” True enough, after being acquired by the Hong Kong-based Sino Land, restoration and renovation work started in 1997, transforming the building into a majestic, luxurious hotel. The overall redesign of the structure was through the great collaboration of professionals from Architects 61 and DP Consultants. And the creation of the new 400-room accommodation was under the directives of Hirsch Bender Associates. 

Even though there was a major transformation that happened, the building’s iconic characteristics, all the details, and ornamentations were restored and preserved. In December 2015, it became Singapore’s 71st National Monument. To continuously safeguard fragments of history, the hotel dedicated a gallery at the ground level featuring photographs that captured the developmental milestones of Singapore and how the building played a critical role throughout the years. Hotel guests can also take advantage of the Fullerton Monument Tour allowing them to discover the deep historical roots and gain exclusive access to preserved areas.

Today, the Fullerton Hotel is one of the most sought-after opulent accommodations both to international travelers and locals who fancy a memorable staycation weekend. Guests will not only enjoy its luxurious ambiance, but they will also get a glimpse of what Singapore was like almost a century ago, taking away a piece of Singapore’s history with them – making their stay extra memorable.

Article Credits: Historic Hotels Worldwide, The Fullerton Heritage, Roots SG, Agoda, Tripadvisor

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