The Amara Hotel at Tanjong Pagar Road

The Amara Hotel was opened in May 1986 along Tanjong Pagar Road near the Shenton Way financial district to serve business travellers. The hotel complex was developed and built by the Teo Teck Huat Group, which started off as a family-owned construction firm that expanded in the 1930s and later became involved in large building projects such as the Cathay cinema at Orchard Road. Teo Joo Lai, the son of the company’s founder, decided to diversify the family business by venturing into hotel development with the Amara Hotel. The name ‘Amara’ (which means ‘eternity’ in Sanskrit) was derived from the amaranth flower noted in ancient folklore for its unfading beauty. The hotel was initially called the SAS Amara Hotel during the building phase after SAS International Hotels, a subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), was contracted to manage the hotel. However, the property’s name was changed to simply Amara Hotel after SAS decided to pull out of the deal two weeks prior to the hotel’s opening. The hotel complex initially comprised of a 25-storey tower block perched atop a shopping podium, with a 12-storey corporate tower block added in 2002. The expansion project was supervised by the CEO of Amara Holdings, Albert Teo, the grandson of the company’s founder.