The historic district of Singapore’s Chinatown is transforming with a new MRT station (Maxwell) and the fast-emerging high-rise hotel on the junction of Neil Road and Craig Road.
Operated by Accor, Mondrian Singapore is scheduled to open in Q1 of 2023 and will be the first Mondrian hotel in South East Asia, the second in Asia (Mondrian Seoul Itaweon opened in 2020).
The luxury lifestyle hotel is set to add to the liveliness of Duxton Hill.
Mondrian Singapore will open with 300 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, a lounge,and a rooftop bar. The building cleverly reflects the historic architecture of the Chinatown neighbourhood, taking inspiration from Singapore’s traditional shophouse typology.
Additionally, there is a modern tower built as an extension of the main wing where the majority of the hotel’s guestrooms will be located. Both buildings are united by a “Garden City” urban oasis landscape deck.
Guests will have the convenience of staying within the Central Business District of Singapore and have easy access to Duxton Hill, a trendy enclave for dining and drinks with Michelin-starred eateries and other popular restaurants and bars.
Duxton Hill was formerly a nutmeg plantation, and its owner Dr J. William built two dwelling houses in the 19th century, of which one was named Duxton House. It is believed that was how Duxton Hill and its adjacent road Duxton Road were named.
The plantation was subsequently sold and divided into smaller land plots for private residential homes for wealthy Straits Chinese (“Peranakan”) families . This was where the shophouses became part of the neighbourhood streetscape, as the families lived and socialised with other wealthy Chinese immigrants who were living around in the historic Chinatown area.
In the late 1800s to early 1900s, private clubs and clan associations sprouted up in the vicinity around Duxton Hill, including Bukit Pasoh. The Ee Hoe Hean Club, Singapore’s first Millionaire’s Club started its origins at 28 Duxton Hill in 1895 before moving to 38 Club Street in 1911, and then settling in 43 Bukit Pasoh Road in 1925. The Club continues to operate from Bukit Pasoh today, and the ground floor has a Pioneers’ Memorial Hall (commemorating Chinese entrepreneurs and community leaders of the 20th century) that is open for visit and entry is free.
Ee Hoe Hean Club was established by a group of Hokkien community leaders for the wealthy Chinese elite as a social and business club, Its members were also activists and played a role in the political development of China in the early 20th century. They supported the 1911 Xinhai Revolution which overthrew the Qing Dynasty, leading to the establishment of the Republic of China. Members of the club were also active contributors to Singapore’s economic, social, cultural and political change, and also helped to set up Chinese hospitals and Nanyang University, the first university outside of China catering to high school graduates schooled in Chinese.
Duxton Hill has since experienced a renaissance and has transformed into a charming cobblestone street lined on both side with conservation shophouses that are time capsules of Singapore’s colourful history. The area was awarded conservation status by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in the early 1990s following an initial project in 1987 to restore 32 shophouses along Tanjong Pagar, Neil and Duxton Roads to demonstrate the urban renewal concept.
Duxton Hill serves as a focal point for the neighbourhood that sets the ambience and tone for the area. It offers a stunning contrast against the backdrop of skyscraper buildings in the downtown core of Singapore.
“We are thrilled to bring the iconic Mondrian brand to Singapore’s Duxton Hill neighborhood. Mondrian is a natural fit for a global destination like Singapore. The property will provide a cultural hub of food and beverage experiences for locals and travelers alike. Mondrian Singapore will be more than a hotel; it will be a destination.”
Chadi Farhat, Chief Operating Officer of sbe
Mondrian Singapore is well-placed to be a destination hotel for travellers looking to immerse themselves in local cultural explorations.
Accor plans to open more Mondrian hotels globally following their acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands. Accor will continue expanding its footprint with Mondrian Gold Coast (2023) following the openings of Mondrian Shoreditch London in 2021.
Upcoming openings also include Cannes, Bordeaux and Mexico City, and there are further plans to expand into .Dominican Republic, Germany, the Maldives, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Renderings by Accor. Photo of Duxton Hill by Florence Ang