The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

Infobox hotel
hotel_name = The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

image_width = 200
caption =
location = Downtown Core, Singapore
coordinates = coord|1|17|10|N|103|51|10|E|type:landmark
opening_date = 2001
stars = 5
diamonds =
closing_date =
developer = Far East Organization
Sino Land Company Ltd
architect = Keys & Dowdeswell
operator = Sino Land
owner = Sino Land
number_of_restaurants =
number_of_rooms = 400
number_of_suites =
floor_area =
floors = 9 (including 1 basement)
parking = 350
website =
footnotes =

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore (zh-sp|s=浮尔顿酒店|p=Fú'ěrdùn jiǔdiàn) is a five-star boutique hotel located near the mouth of the Singapore River, in the Downtown Core of Central Area, Singapore. It was originally known as The Fullerton Building, and also as the General Post Office Building.cite web | title = Our History | publisher = The Fullerton Hotel Singapore | url = | accessdate = 2007-09-03] cite web|author=Vernon Cornelius-Takahama|title=Fullerton Building|url=|publisher=Singapore Infopedia, National Library Board|date=2001-05-19|accessdate=2007-09-04] . The address is 1 Fullerton Square.


Fullerton Building

The Fullerton Building was named after Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlements (1826-1829).cite book|author=National Heritage Board|title=Singapore's 100 Historic Places|location=Singapore|publisher=Archipelago Press|year=2002|isbn=981-4068-23-3] Commissioned in 1919 as part of the British colony's centennial celebrations, the building was designed as an office building by Major P.H. Keys of Keys & Dowdeswell, a Shanghai firm of architects, which won the project through an architectural design competition.cite book|author=Tommy Koh, "et al." (eds.)|title=|location=Singapore|publisher=Editions Didier Millet in association with the National Heritage Board|year=2006|isbn=981-4155-63-2 (hbk.)] cite news | author = Colin Tan | title = Fullerton | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 14 December 2000| page=M12] cite news | author = Arthur Sim | title = Fullerton wins heritage award | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 19 July 2001| page=L7] cite book|author=Norman Edwards, Peter Keys|title=Singapore - A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places|location=Singapore|publisher=Times Books International|year=1996|isbn=9971-65-231-5] cite book|author=Wong Yunn Chii|title=Singapore 1:1 City: A Gallery of Architecture & Urban Design|location=Singapore|publisher=Urban Redevelopment Authority|year=2005|isbn=981-05-4467-7] The architectural firm also designed the Capitol Theatre and the Singapore General Hospital.cite news | author = Koh Boon Pin | title = A peek into the Fullerton | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 6 June 2000| page=40]

Fort Fullerton and the Singapore Stone

The northern end of the building covers the site of Fort Fullerton, a fort built in 1829 to defend the settlement against any naval attacks. In 1843, the fort was extended after a sandstone monolith with an inscription possibly dating back to the 13th century was demolished. A fragment of this monolith, known as the "Singapore Stone", was salvaged and preserved in the collection of the National Museum at Stamford Road. National Heritage Board, "The Fullerton Singapore" (On-site heritage board). ] The fort gave way to the first General Post Office and the Exchange Building in 1874. Plans to erect Fullerton Building were drawn up in 1920. However, due to a lack of funds, construction only began in February 1924.cite news | author = | title = New look for ol' lady | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 29 May 1999| page=86] Built at a cost of $4.1 million and after delays of a few months, the building was completed in June 1928.

The Fullerton Building was opened on 27 June 1928 by the Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford, who suggested the building be named after Robert Fullerton. The building had five founding tenants: the General Post Office, The Exchange, Singapore Club (now Singapore Town Club), the Marine Department, and the Import and Export Department (later the Ministry of Trade and Industry).cite news | author = Clara Chow | title = It was more than just the GPO | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 31 October 2001| page=L5] It also housed the Chamber of Commerce, and various government departments dealing with agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

General Post Office

The General Post Office (GPO) was the anchor tenant, which only moved in a fortnight after the Fullerton Building's official opening. GPO covered the two lower floors with postal halls, offices and sorting rooms. There were mail drops through which mail would fall to a band conveyor on the basement and dispatched up to the sorting room. The basement was connected to a 35-metre subway that ran underneath Fullerton Road to a pier, where overseas mail would be transferred to or picked up from ships.

Singapore Club

The exclusive Singapore Club rented premises on the upper floors of the building to provide for their members' need and comfort. There were rooms where members dined, lounged, conferred, and played billiards and cards. Bedrooms on the attic storey provide accommodaton for members. When the Economic Development Board (EDB) was formed in 1961, it evicted the Singapore Club from the Fullerton Building. Subsequently, the Singapore Club relocated to Clifford House at Collyer Quay and then to Straits Trading Building on Battery Road near Boat Quay, vacating Fullerton Building for use by EDB and more government offices.cite book|author=Edwin Lee|title=Historic Buildings of Singapore|location=Singapore|publisher=Preservation of Monuments Board|year=1990|isbn=9971-88-224-8] cite web|author=Joshua Chia, Nor-Afidah Abd Rahman|title=Singapore Club|url=|publisher=Singapore Infopedia, National Library Board|date=2006-06-17|accessdate=2007-09-04]

World War II

In the last days before Britain's surrender to Japan in 1942, the building was used as a hospital, with makeshift operation rooms for wounded British soldiers.cite news | author = Pauline Leong | title = Hotel project preserves hallmarks of Fullerton Building | publisher = The Straits Times | date = 12 April 2001| page=43] During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, Governor Sir Shenton Thomas and Lady Thomas sought refuge in the sleeping quarters of the Singapore Club. The Fullerton Building was also where General Percival discussed with Sir Shenton the possibility of surrendering Singapore to the Japanese. Subsequently, Fullerton Building became the headquarters of the Japanese Military Administration in Singapore.

Post-war years

From the 1970s to 1995, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore used the building as its headquarters. The General Post Office, under Singapore Post, vacated the building in March 1996. Internal alterations were carried out on the building by the Public Works Department in 1985. Though plans were initiated to conserve the Fullerton Building after that, it was only gazetted as a conservation building by the Singapore Government in 1997.


In 1997, Sino Land (Hong Kong) Company Ltd, a sister company of Far East Organization, acquired the Fullerton Building from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). It spent close to another S$300 million converting Fullerton Building into a hotel and building the two-storey commercial complex One Fullerton opposite Fullerton Road. Renovation works on the Fullerton Building were completed on 8 December 2000. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore was officially opened by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on 1 January 2001.cite web|author=Phyllis Wee|title=Fullerton Hotel|url=|publisher=Singapore Infopedia, National Library Board|date=2001-05-28|accessdate=2007-09-04] cite news | author = Tee Hun Ching | title = One Up: Its uncluttered sea view, mix of trendy joints and the bayside location of One Fullerton have pulled in the crowds | publisher = The Sunday Times | date = 16 September 2001| page=SP6]

The site, sandwiched between the Civic District and the central business district, was sold together with an underpass and the seafront site on which One Fullerton now stands for S$110 million. The two are linked by an air-conditioned underground pedestrian walkway with travellators. To ensure that the historical Fullerton Building continues to be visible from Marina Bay, URA specified a low building height for One Fullerton across the road. This also ensured that guests at The Fullerton Hotel would have unobstructed views of the sea.

Architecture and conservation

Original design

The grey Aberdeen granite Fullerton Building sits on 41,100 square metres (442,400 square feet) of land. The height of its walls measures 36.6 metres (120 ft) from the ground. The building has Neo-classical architectural features which include fluted Doric colonnades on their heavy base, and the lofty portico over the main entrance with trophy designs and the Royal Coat of Arms, crafted by Italian Cavalieri Rodolfo Nolli. Originally, there were five distinct frontages, each treated in the Doric order. 14 elevators served the four floors plus the basement floors. A hollow cellular raft foundation was proposed by the original contractors in 1920s to save cost because bedrock lies directly below the building.


The Fullerton Building restoration project from 1998 to 2000 was one of the few conservation projects in the world involving an institutional building. Architects 61, together with DP Consultants, was engaged to convert it into a 400-room luxury hotel. The hotel rooms were designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates.

During its redevelopment, the historical building had most of its special architectural features retained and restored. The conservation work was coordinated by the URA, which had certain stipulations that the new owners had to comply with. Several features of the original building had to be restored faithfully. These included the General Post Office gallery area on the ground floor, with bays that corresponded with the building's towering Doric columns on the façade, and the Straits Club Billiard Room. The post office gallery no longer exists, but has been subdivided to provide a bar, a restaurant and the hotel foyer. The Straits Club Billiard Room was kept, but without its wood panelling.

Exterior works

The building's neo-classical columns and high-ceiling verandas were retained. It was clad in Shanghai plaster panels, which have been restored. The owners converted the windows back to be housed in timber frames. Part of the tunnel under Fullerton Road, which was used to transfer mail onto ships waiting in the harbour, has also been kept.

Interior works

While the building's exterior has been conserved, the developers had also to transform the interior into a five-star hotel. The room on the fourth storey, where the British Governor was first told of the British military's decision to surrender to the Japanese during World War II, was converted to an exclusive lounge. The room has a barrel-vaulted, coffered ceiling, which is the only one of its kind in Singapore.

The building's historical lighthouse, which used to guide ships into the port, has been incorporated into a food and beverage outlet. The Fullerton Light, a revolving beacon of 540 kilocandelas mounted on the roof of the building, was installed in 1958 to replace the Fort Canning Lighthouse which was being demolished. The beacon could be seen by ships 29 kilometres (15.7 nautical miles) away.

The Fullerton Building was designed for natural ventilation before the age of air-conditioning; one of the architectural devices used to provide this was the internal air-wells. There were four air-wells along the central longitudinal axis, divided by three internal bays of offices, linking the front façade with the rear. It was the largest and the last example of this kind of architecture in Singapore. As air-conditioning became increasingly common, the air-wells became redundant.

Two parallel sets of guest rooms now ring the hotel's central triangular sky-lit atrium. One row faces out towards the harbour and the tall buildings of the central business district. The rooms of the inner ring have views of the courtyard in the centre of the building. There is an indoor garden over the old Straits Club at the centre of the atrium which can double as a venue for cocktails. The main entrance into the hotel, where dignitaries and celebrities are received, is covered with a large glass canopy at the porch.

tructural and foundation works

Construction work in the interior was carried out to reinforce the beams and columns, while retrofitting done on the exterior to restore the façade.

Although studies carried out before the renovation work began showed most of the raft foundation was still in good condition, water from the adjacent Singapore River had seeped slowly into some of the foundation's cells over the years, flooding parts of the old basement. As a result, a new precast concrete platform was built over the cells, and waterproofing added. Pillars supporting the entire building now rest on the platform. The engineering team installed a new set of five drainage pumps to counteract the slow seepage of river water. As the building sits on solid rock foundation, no additional piling was required.


The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has 400 rooms and suites which either overlook the atrium courtyard, or face downtown Singapore's skyline, the Singapore River promenade or the Marina Bay.cite book|author=Aun Koh, Susan Leong|title=Singapore chic|location=Singapore|publisher=Archipelago Press|year=2006|isbn=981-4155-74-8]

The hotel has a 25 metre outdoor infinity swimming pool, fitness centre and a luxury spa. It also has five food and beverage outlets. For business travellers, the hotel has a 24-hour financial centre with the Bloomberg Professional service that provides financial reports and world news, and 15 meeting rooms equipped with conference facilities.


The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has won major travel awards such as the "Condé Nast Traveler" Gold List award. On 18 July 2001, the hotel received an architectural heritage award from the Urban Redevelopment Authority for its successful restoration of the former Fullerton Building.cite press release | title = The Fullerton Singapore wins 2001 URA Architectural Heritage Award | publisher = The Fullerton Hotel Singapore | url = | date = 18 July 2001]

Notes and references

Further reading

*cite book|author=Melanie Chew|title=Memories of the Fullerton|location=Singapore|publisher=The Fullerton Hotel Singapore|year=2001|isbn=981-044777-9
*cite book|author=William Warren, Jill Gocher|title=Asia's legendary hotels: the romance of travel|location=Singapore|publisher=Periplus Editions|year=2007|isbn=978-0-7946-0174-4

External links

*commons-inline|The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
* [ The Fullerton Hotel] Homepage

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