Omni Marco Polo Hotel



Singapore Infopedia

by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala

Background

Built in 1968, Omni Marco Polo Hotel, also known as Marco Polo Hotel, was one of Singapore's famous landmarks. It was so well known that many popular personalities chose to stay there in the 1970s.1 The hotel was torn down in 1999 and on its site now sits a condominium called Grange Residences.

Description
Marco Polo Hotel was located at the junction of Tanglin and Grange roads. It was originally known as Hotel Malaysia when it was first constructed in 1968. Designed by Alfred Wong Partnership, the hotel was a 10-storey building with 300 rooms designed in a contemporary architectural style.3 Owned by the Goodwood Group, the hotel interiors were adorned with materials such as jade, green onyx, marble and teak. It also had a roof-top restaurant. Lobby lounge girls dressed in cheongsams added to the exotic look of the hotel, which was also known for its high quality service.


The hotel’s exterior was simple with a broad sweeping facade and little ornamentation. Big trees, birds and a water fountain added charm to the hotel’s grounds. Additions and changes were made to the hotel in 1981, again by Alfred Wong Partnership. In 1983, the hotel received the Singapore Institute of Architects’ Award for Outstanding Building.In 1988, the hotel underwent a $30-million redecoration programme, adding a new coffeeshop and shopping arcade besides enlarging its lobby. From 1983 to 1988, the hotel was consecutively voted as one of the top 10 business hotels in the world by British-based magazine, Business Traveller.5

Marco Polo Hotel was the accommodation of choice for many famous personalities during their visits to Singapore. These personalities included British pop singer Sir Cliff Richard, Hollywood actor Roger Moore, Prince Sufri Bolkiah of Brunei and former British Prime Minister Edward Heath.6 The hotel was the runner-up in the Overseas Best City Hotel category in the Hotel of the Year 1990 presentation in London.7

The hotel's ownership changed hands twice. In 1973, the Goodwood Group sold it to the Hong Kong-based Wharf and Godown Company Limited. In the same year, the hotel was renamed Marco Polo Hotel.  In 1986, the hotel was acquired by Marco Polo Developments, a group that was 75 percent owned by Hong Kong's Wheelock Group. Although the hotel was renamed yet again in 1989 as Omni Marco Polo Hotel, it was more commonly known as Marco Polo Hotel.8

Affected by the opening of Trader’s Hotel opposite it as well as the economic recession of the late 1990s, the hotel was forced to close down and the building demolished in 1999. A 164-unit luxury condominium called Grange Residences was built on its site.9



Author
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. Evelyn Yap, “Marco Polo Closes, but It Might Return,” Straits Times, 28 July 1999, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Amy Balan, “Marco Polo Hotel Will Close Down Next Month,” Straits Times, 1 June 1999, 53. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Yap, “Marco Polo Closes, but It Might Return.” 
4. Norman Edwards and Keys Peter, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 155, 182. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
5. “Marco Polo Hotel Again in Magazine's Top 10 List,” Straits Times, 16 December 1988, 30. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Yap, “Marco Polo Closes, but It Might Return.” 
7. “Omni Marco Polo Wins Award,” Business Times, 24 July 1990, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Yap, “Marco Polo Closes, but It Might Return.” 
9. Yap, “Marco Polo Closes, but It Might Return”; Setyadi Ongkowidjaja, “Omni Marco Polo Hotel a Landmark of Modern S'pore,” Straits Times, 18 August 1997, 42 (from NewspaperSG); National Heritage Board, The Marco Polo Hotel at Tanglin Circus, 1990s, photograph, National Museum of Singapore Collection.



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


Rights Statement

The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

More to Explore

Magazine Road

ARTICLE

Magazine Road connects Havelock Road and Merchant Road. The road probably got its name due to its association with the old ammunition storage ground of Havelock Road....

Smith Street

ARTICLE

Smith Street lies between South Bridge Road and New Bridge Road, and is located at the centre of Chinatown. The street is believed to be named after Cecil Clementi Smith, governor and high commissioner of the Straits Settlements between 1887 and 1893. Smith Street is also said to be the...

Serangoon Road

ARTICLE

Serangoon Road is one of the earliest roads built in Singapore. It passes through Singapore's Little India, which is the commercial, cultural and religious centre for both the local and foreign Indian community in Singapore. It also served as a highway between town and the Serangoon harbour in the northeast....

Port of Singapore

ARTICLE

The Port of Singapore, which provides services and facilities for ships to dock, load and unload goods, has always been a key contributor to Singapore’s economy and growth. From the early days of modern Singapore as a small town with a harbor on the river banks, the port has expanded...

High Street

ARTICLE

High Street, located in the Downtown Core of the Central Region, stretches from Hill Street to North Bridge Road. Cleared from part of the jungle near the shore in 1819, it was the first street laid out in Singapore. The short street is appropriately named as it sits on high...

Amoy Street

ARTICLE

Amoy Street in Chinatown begins at the junction of McCallum Street, and Telok Ayer Street and ends at Pekin Street. Developed in the 1830s, the street was probably named after the migrants who came from Amoy in China. ...

Fort Canning Park

ARTICLE

Fort Canning Hill, previously known as Bukit Larangan and Government Hill, is 156 ft high and located at the junction of Canning Rise and Fort Canning Road. It has been a landmark since Singapore’s earliest recorded history. In the 14th century, it was likely the site of a palace whose...

Coleman Street

ARTICLE

Coleman Street stretches from Armenian Street to St Andrew’s Road. It was named after George D. Coleman, the first architect in Singapore, who was also overseer of convict labour, superintendent of public works and topographical surveyor. In 1829, Coleman built his personal residence at 3 Coleman Street, which was later...

NEWater

ARTICLE

NEWater refers to the high-grade reclaimed water that has been purified with advanced membrane and ultraviolet technologies. Having passed more than 150,000 scientific tests, and satisfying the World Health Organisation's requirements for safe drinking water, NEWater is said to be “ultra-clean and safe to drink”. It is the third "tap"...

Mohamed Sultan Road

ARTICLE

Mohamed Sultan Road stretches from the junction of Saiboo Street and Martin Road to River Valley Road. The road is home to several conserved shophouses and national monuments like the Hong San See temple. The area was once a street of busy night spots as it was a popular district...