Hotel offers night with the Merlion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 April, 2011, 12:00am


Hotels are constantly looking for creative ways to market themselves. The Kowloon Shangri-La is celebrating its 30th anniversary by inviting the public to submit pictures they have taken of the hotel over the years in a photo contest and a promotion, offering discounts to those celebrating their birthdays in the Tsim Sha Tsui East property.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has gone a step further by helping a Japanese artist create a temporary hotel room around the iconic Merlion statue and inviting guests to spend the night with the half-lion, half-fish statue in it.

As part of the Singapore Biennale 2011 Open House, Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi was invited to participate. He is known for incorporating city landmarks in a living room setting, creating a special encounter between an art object and its viewer.

Nishi has built temporary living rooms around other pieces, such as a one-room apartment atop a 14th century cathedral in Basel and another with the equestrian statue L'Artificier on top of the main Maison Hermes store in Tokyo.

For the Singapore Biennale, the Japanese artist chose the Merlion, symbol of the city state, to place within a temporary hotel room.

The statue is encased in a small temporary structure on stilts on the waterfront and, as the Fullerton is closest to the statue, it was natural for the hotel to participate.

'The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has a sustained commitment to upholding our history presented against modern elements,' says the hotel's general manager Giovanni Viterale.

'This partnership is befitting as the Fullerton Building and the Merlion are both icons of Singapore created in the 1900s. Today, they embody living art and heritage, kept vibrant by continued efforts to celebrate our past and stories. This is also an opportunity for our associates to shine and be a dynamic part of this art installation.'

As Nishi's previous works were living rooms, there's the additional logistical challenge of not only creating a functioning hotel room, complete with a toilet and bathtub, but also providing high-quality service.

While guests can get room service and a butler, the only catch is that they can only check in at 8.30pm and must check out by 8.30am, as the room is open to the public from 11am free of charge as it is an art installation.

Singaporean celebrity Rajiv Ranjan stayed overnight at the Merlion Hotel and was so excited by the experience that he felt sleeping would have been a waste and, instead, 'spent the entire night basking in the glorious presence of the Merlion'.

For S$150 (HK$933.15) people can stay in the Merlion Hotel until May 5.

All 32 nights were sold out within two hours of going on sale.

They promoted the stay through Facebook and in a contest asked the public to explain in 100 words or less why they should stay at the Merlion Hotel.