THERE used to be not-so-private gentlemen’s “clubs” of a different character in the Keong Saik Road and Bukit Pasoh Road area.
Brothels, clans and gangs were regular features until it was designated a conservation area and up popped the trendy cafes and boutique hotels.
The New Majestic Hotel played a significant role in the gentrification of the area, as it anchored the locale with its offbeat rooms and facilities. It played a part in the ebb and flow of businesses that would eventually wash away the red lights that lingered and flickered to the very last.
With the June shuttering of the hotel, The Straits Clan, a private club, will take its place. While it may spell the arrival of a new business model, it’s a shrewd business decision by Loh Lik Peng of the Unlisted Collection: which acquired the property, along with Hotel 1929, on Keong Saik Road.
Coming on 11 years of service, it was a decision between refurbishing the hotel or repurposing the building.
“It was due for a major upgrade so I had to consider what other uses the building might serve,” Loh explains.
“This opportunity came along and it just seemed to be a good fit. I think it’s the perfect location and building for a member’s club. The area is home to many clan associations already.”
Moving With The Times
The current business climate may have swayed the decision.
“This was a business decision based on present market conditions. With small hotels in Singapore, depending on what segment of the market they are in, you need to be at the cutting edge to stay ahead of the pack. That means being innovative.
“The New Majestic was the best boutique hotel in Singapore when we launched in 2006, but it’s been 11 years and the game has moved on.
“We either do a major reinvention of the hotel or we put the building to another use. We decided the club had great potential.”
The Straits Clan is expected to open next year. While the new operators are tightlipped about what to expect, as landlord, Loh reckons that membership will be reasonable as “it is not meant to be an elitist club”.