From sorting out mail to housing the Chamber of Commerce, this stalwart hotel holds some of Singapore’s key moments in history, and will continue to do so for a long time to come
It’s hard to miss the iconic The Fullerton Hotel Singapore when you’re in the Marina Bay area. You’ll see it from rooftop bars and restaurants overlooking the bay. The stately building – Como The Treasury followed its footsteps – sits quietly amidst a sea of towering skyscrapers, yet has managed to hold its own for the past 90 years. And most would know that it wasn’t always a hotel — the General Post Office was home to the longest post-office counter in the world — but the younger ones may be hard pressed to recall any more than that.
The Fullerton building’s timeline is dotted with numerous governmental milestones, functioning as offices of the Economic Development Board, Income Tax Department, the Ministry of Finance, and even the exclusive Singapore Club. In fact, it was only in 2000 where it was converted into a hotel.
The restoration works in 1997 saw the addition of the two upper floors, bringing the total capacity of the hotel to 400 rooms and suites over eight floors. Rooms face the courtyard, Marina Bay, or the Singapore River, where old-world Singapore and modern city skyline meet, making it the perfect location for an intergenerational staycation — allowing the pioneer generation to reminisce and share stories of their past with their loved ones.
After a night’s stay, one thing is clear: the hotel hides a trove of undiscovered stories waiting to be told. But while the walls may hide secrets, speak to any of its staff for a personal history lesson.
“I used to come here to post my mail when I was much younger. If I remember correctly, my kitchen is now where the main entrance to the post office used to be,” laughs Leong Chee Yeng, executive chef of the hotel’s Jade Restaurant. He recalls the days of his youth where he would hop on a sampan to go fishing. “There wasn’t the Marina Bay Sands hotel then, we could go straight to the sea from here,” he says, while excitedly scrolling through his phone to show old photos of Singapore’s skyline in the 80s.
And given that the hotel used to be a centre of power for top executives officials from around the world, it’s little wonder that the building has played a part in many dinnertime conversations.
“We’ve had numerous guests visit our hotel and tell us that their grandparents and parents used to frequent this place,” says Cathy Chia, assistant director of marketing and communications at The Fullerton Hotel. And not one to let stories fade into the background, the hotel is currently working constructing a Heritage Museum in the basement, featuring plaques detailing significant events and historical moments that took place on the grounds of the hotel.
But don’t let the hotel’s heritage fool you into thinking it’s good only for a novelty stay – the element of luxury is certainly up to par for the well-heeled. With premium views of the F1 circuit, the ample verandas in the loft rooms are ideal to host viewing parties in the thick of the race action.
True to the Fullerton brand, no detail of your experience is overlooked; from the impressive pillow menu to the lush Bottega amenities in suites and club rooms, (other guest rooms are equipped with the equally luxurious Atkinsons’ Amber Empire collection) you’ll certainly find your stay more than comfortable. Sure, some may have a bone to pick with the slightly dated decor, but not to worry, a refurbishment has been scheduled for the end of 2018.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is certainly one that sets out to impress, and indeed meets expectations. The building is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, and the hotel is also ‘stepping into adulthood’ with its 18th year in the business, both achievements which are by no means an easy feat.
And despite its continuous radical transformation, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore remains as the epicentre of business and pleasure. The Post Office was marked ‘Mile Zero’, where addresses were measured in terms of road distances before postal codes were implemented. Today, it acts as landmark for people to gather, with numerous museums and office buildings surrounding it. And with scores of changes in the pipeline for 2019 and beyond, we’ll be looking forward to our future visits.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
1 Fullerton Square
+65 6733 8388