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About Hotel Fort Canning Singapore

Nestled between Orchard Road, the Clarke Quay entertainment hub and Central Business District, The 86-room Hotel Fort Canning is a one-of-a-kind urban sanctuary amidst the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city at Fort Canning Park.

Awarded the prestigious Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Architectural Heritage Award (AHA) for carefully preserving and integrating a 1926 heritage icon – Hotel Fort Canning is the former administration building of the British Far East Command Headquarters.

Hotel Fort Canning is just a 5-minute walk from Orchard Road and a 10-minute stroll from Clarke Quay / Boat Quay entertainment hub, as well as the Museums & Civic District, and a 30-minute drive from the airport. The Hotel Fort Canning perfectly combines the best of modern amenities with timeless elegance and character with all guest rooms offering either beautiful park or pool views.

Fort Canning is the most historic part of Singapore.  The Fort was named in 1861 in the honor of Viscount Charles John Canning, the first Viceroy of India.  The hill underwent several name changes.  The Malays called it Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill) for several possible reasons.  (1) it reputedly contains the tomb or keramat of Sultan Iskandar Shah, the Malay ruler of the Kingdom of Singapura, who is said to have forbidden ordinary people to come to the hill because his concubines and wives used to bath at a spring there.  (2) the Malays were fearful of climbing the hill as they thought the palace of their ancestor kings had once stood there.  (3) the site had sightings of fabled lion for which Sri Tri Buana, ruler of Temasek, later named the island Singapura (Lion City).  (4) besides the fabled lion, the Malays believed that the hill is haunted by many other ghosts and spirits.

Sir Stamford Raffles claimed the hill for his residence, naming it Government Hill in 1822.  Until mid-19th century, Singapore's governors were residents here; thus the epithet 'Government Hill' as well as 'Central Park'.

The later Malay name for Fort Canning was Bukit Tuan Bonham, after Sir Samuel George Bonham, Governor 1836-48.  In the latter part of the 19th century it was called Bukit Bendera (Flag Hill), because of the signals made for shipping from its flagstaff, the red ensign for the closing of the P&O mails for Europe, a yellow flag for the China mails, for Calcutta the blue ensign, and for Australia the white ensign.

There is archaeological evidence of a 14th century town at Fort Canning and along the Stamford Canal and Singapore River. During the construction of the 30 million gallon capacity reservoir in 1928, Hindu Javanese gold jewelries dated to about 1360 was found.  Ruins of ancient brick buildings were found, that gave support to the legend of an ancient palace.

Some 400 coolies were mobilized in leveling 3 hectares of hilltop and constructing the elaborate fort complex of barrack blocks, hospital, gunpowder magazines and supporting artillery.  In 1867, the fort had seven 68-pounder guns, eight 8-inch guns, two 13-inch mortars and some 14-pounder cannonades.  A cannon was fired three times a day (at 5am, 1pm and 9pm) in colonial times to announce the hour.

The Battle Box

The Colonial Building and park was once a British barrack before they were bombed by the Japanese during WWII.  Construction of this Underground Far East Command Centre began in 1936.  It was to be used in the event of war as the nerve centre for British Military operations in South East Asia.  The Centre was a maze-like complex of 26 rooms and corridors 9 meters underground.  It was there, during the WWII, on the morning of 15 February 1942 that Lt. Percival made the crucial decision to surrender to the Japanese. Today, a wax museum has been built bringing alive the days of the latest military operation complex in Singapore. 



Hotel Majestic
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam

Opened in 1925 as the cities finest abode, the Majestic has gone through several reincarnations over the years, changes that reflect the tumultuous history of Vietnam.

During WW2 the Japanese Imperial Army use this French Colonial structure as a military barracks. During the Vietnam War it was used by foreign correspondents and spies!

It seems that they are building two 'tower' extensions to increase capacity. The original buildling will remain as it is. It remains to be seen how the 'towers' will affect the overall 'look'. If booking a room make sure you get confirmation that you are in the 'old part'.

The hotel boasts 175 rooms, six restaurants and bars, this chic art deco structure sits regally in the heart of the pulsating city, on the picturesque riverside corner of Dong Khoi Street. Much of its 83-year-old façade has been retained, as can be seen from the sweeping arches of the lobby and the private balconies of each room, enabling guests to take in the bustling street life of the city below.
Location-wise, the hotel is hard to beat. The world-famous Ben Thanh Market—where antique furniture, silks, and lacquer ware are sold—is within walking distance, while the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace are all also a stone's throw away.

Raffles in Singapore opened in 1887
Yes this is the birthplace of the famed cocktail, the Singapore Sling. It was concocted in 1915 by mixologist Ngiam Tong Boon at the hotel's Long Bar, and was a favourite of Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, and Alfred Hitchcock. One hundred years after its opening, Raffles was recognized as a National Monument. As WWII drew to a close, Raffles -- for a spell called Syonan Ryokan due to Japan's occupation of Singapore -- housed prisoners of war; the hotel's current name comes from the British colonial Stamford Raffles who was the man that started Singapore on the road to what it has now become.