5 Things You Should Know About Mandarin Oriental

MandarinOrientalLogoIf you know your five-star hotels then the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, run by Mandarin Oriental International (SGX: M04) will be a familiar name.

But the original Mandarin Oriental Hotel is located on Connaught Road, Hong Kong Island.

In 1958, Hugh Barton, chairman of the Hong Kong conglomerate Jardine Matheson (SGX: J36) (Jardine’s) decided that Hong Kong’s central district “needed a landmark”.

The Mandarin, Hong Kong

Opened in 1963 and called The Mandarin, Jardine’s flagship 650-room, 27-storey edifice was Hong Kong’s tallest building, making it an instant landmark. But it was the luxury, service and elegance proffered by “The Mando” as it was nicknamed that got everyone talking and the hotel was soon drawing in a slew of famous guests – from film stars to royalty.

The Oriental, Bangkok

In 1974, Mandarin International Hotels Limited was formed to manage Jardine’s hotels, with the intention of expanding into Asia. The company had its eye on another legendary property – The Oriental, Bangkok, and acquired a 49% stake in the property. Now in the possession of two “flagship” hotels, in 1985 the company combined the two, to create the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

But did you know…

  1. When opened, The Mandarin Hotel, Hong Kong was actually on the waterfront with waves lapping just yards from the lobby and amazing harbour views. Today, the harbour is half a mile away, having been pushed north by decades of land reclamation.
  2. In 1967, The Mandarin Hotel, Hong Kong was listed alongside The Ritz, Paris and Connaught, London as one of Fortune Magazine’s “Eleven Great Hotels of the World”.
  3. Reporters from the South China Morning Post who came to review The Mandarin Hotel marvelled at its “space-age” elevators that “catapulted”      guests to the top floor in just “21 seconds!” as well as the direct-dial phones and bathtubs in every room – the likes of which had never before been seen in Asian hotels.
  4. The hotel’s Clipper Lounge takes its name from the large golden figurehead that stands at the entrance staircase. Originally designed for the prow of the clipper sailing ship seen in the film “Billy Budd” it was placed in the hotel by film art director Don Ashton – who was designing the hotel’s lavish interiors at the time.
  5. When the hotel closed its doors in 2005 to oversee a nine-month US$150m refurbishment, it is reputed that the trading floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange held a mock two-minute silence in its memory.

Today, Mandarin Oriental International Limited is an international investment and managements group, with deluxe and first class hotels, resorts and residences all over the world.

It currently operates (or has under development) 45 hotels in 26 countries, throughout Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, including our very own Mandarin Oriental, Singapore. It also operates 13 Residences at Mandarin Oriental connected to its properties.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Alison Hunt doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.