Yue Hwa Department Store 裕华国货 (Former Great Southern Hotel 旧南天大酒店)
70 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059805
Chinatown MRT Station
Great Southern Hotel was once the place for Chinese high society in the 1930s. Built by tycoon Eu Tong Sen, Great Southern was considered highly modern when it opened in 1927. Popular with high society including celebrities from Hong Kong and China, the six-storey hotel was once the tallest building in the area and was the first Chinese hotel in Singapore to boast a lift service. The hotel was designed by architectural firm Swan & Maclaren and was once regarded as the Raffles Hotel of Chinatown.
Occupying the entire fifth floor, the chic Southern Cabaret was the hotel's greatest asset. Here the glitterati would live it up. They sipped the finest liquor, smoked opium on handcrafted pipes and danced with night away. Great Southern Hotel also provided services such as the remittance of money to China, the booking of steamer tickers, luggage transfer and other travel-related services. The hotel stayed in business well past it heyday and eventually closed down.
In 1993, the building was sold to Hong Kong businessman Yu Kwok Chun for S$25 million and converted it to the first Yue Hwa Chinese Products department store in Singapore in 1994. The renovation and restoration process itself cost S$25 million. It conserved the exterior and won the building the Architectural Heritage Award by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 1997. It now houses a department store selling Chinese goods.