Architecture / Interior /

The 8 Luxurious Hotels of the Orient World

For many centuries, history has recorded that the Orient has consistently been among the most opulent parts of the world. From palaces to artisan works, the Oriental world continues this tradition in a way which is still relevant in the modern day. Over the last 10 months, I have been travelling to the ancient city of Byzantium (now is Istanbul), all the way up to 3,000 meter above sea level to another ancient city of Lijiang, down to the shore of the Lhaviyani Atolls in the Maldives, and finally to Singapore to find eight luxury hotels that still keep the spirit of Oriental world opulence.


The Iconic Landmark

A building can have various roles in human life from merely a place to shelter to a mute witness of history. In human civilisation, we have seen many buildings that stand the test of time and become part of history. The Fullerton Building that was founded in 1928 in Singapore is a great example of an architectural marvel that has become one of the country’s most famous landmarks as a result of its historical journey.


Built as the main post office, the Fullerton Building was designed by Major Percy Keys, a government architect from the Public Works Department, and his assistant, Frank Dowdeswell. The building was opened in 1928 by Sir Hugh Clifford (Governor of the Straits Settlements, 1927 – 1929) and named the “Fullerton Building”, as a tribute to Sir Robert Fullerton, the first governor. The building was designed with a neoclassical façade made of reinforced concrete.

The building possesses five frontages with a colossal two-storey Doric colonnade, creating a visually impressive façade. The façade includes ornate classical decorations created by Swiss sculptor Rudolf Wening and Italian sculptor Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli. The building was designed to be multi-purpose, housing the General Post Office, Singapore Club, Chamber of Commerce, Marine Office and other government departments. It was not until 1996 that the Singapore government decided to turn this building into a hotel and it was fnally opened to its frst guests on 1 January 2001.


The hotel today is a perfect amalgamation of its glorious past with modern sophistication that oozes peace and tranquility. The hotel’s interior designers, Hirsch Bedner and Associates created a décor that is contemporary and stylish, while James Park Associates is currently undertaking a renovation of the 400 guestrooms and suites to elevate the guest experience to the utmost in luxury and comfort, while still keeping the neoclassical character. The interior of the newly renovated rooms draws from the opulent history of classical style with book matched rosewood veneers featured on the bespoke cabinets alongside Italian marble countertops, while elegant plaster moldings reinforce the narrative.

The colour theme here is inspired by the varying shades of celadon found in classical Chinese porcelains, while the artwork showcases both established and up-and-coming local artists. Subtle vernacular accents appear in the rich embroidery and velvets of the soft furnishings, while traditional patterns are abstracted into decorative motifs, reinforcing the theme in a delicate, understated manner.

The Fullerton Hotel represents the height of Palladian architecture in Singapore and has witnessed many political rallies, including the one where Lee Kuan Yew was representing striking postal workers and led him to become the founding Prime Minister of Singapore in 1959. The Fullerton Building has seen it all and is still standing – ready to be part of the future history of Singapore.


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