Capella Hotel, Singapore at Sentosa sits on top of a gentle slope surrounded by lush and vibrant gardens. The undulating terrain of the front entrance creates a grand and elegant entrance, enchanting visitors with a sweeping perspective of the estate as they drive up the winding driveway.
A magnificent brick and plaster building with a red tiled roof, the hotel is built in the tropical colonial classical architecture style, typical of pre-war colonial buildings. Inspired by the Western Classical architectural style, adaptions were made to make it more suitable for tropical weather. The roof extends out significantly to provide shelter from the elements. Large, external corridors double as entrances to the hotel rooms and shelter from the heat. Windows as tall as the celling help to dissipate heat and enhance ventilation.
Restoration works in 2006 transformed the building into what it is today. Gazetted for conservation in 2000, the revamp earned the establishment the title as one of the winners of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Architectural Heritage Awards in 2009.
However, the buildings, formerly known as 48 - 51 Ironside Road, also have a rich military history of their own. Built in the 1880s, these two-storey buildings were initially used as garrisons for the British Artillery. Blocks 48 and 49 were used for the Officers’ Mess and living quarters for the unmarried officers, while Blocks 50 and 51 were for married officers and their families.
The Officers’ Mess was where the officers and family members had their meals and recreational activities. One can get a good view of the Singapore harbour from the Officer’s Mess, and it was tradition to have the ships at the harbour honk loudly to welcome the New Year.
The buildings continued to be used after World War II. Officers who served on the island after the war probably know of the legend of treasures. In the last days before they surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, the previous officers buried their regimental silver on the lawn in front of the Officers’ Mess to prevent its seizure by the Japanese. A portion was recovered in Malaysia in 1950, but the location of the remaining silver is still unknown.
In 1956, the British Government disbanded all of their overseas coast artillery, and the remaining troops on the island gathered on 18 May 1958 at the Officer’s Mess for a farewell parade and party.
In 2018, the hotel hosted the summit meeting between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and United States President Donald Trump.
This is a conserved building(s) by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), please visit URA’s Conservation Portal for more details.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.SG are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.SG does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of May 2019 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.