The new Ramada and Days Hotels within Zhongshan Park are key components of the first park-integrated development in Singapore. The Zhongshan Park development is a mixed-use project comprising a 17-storey Ramada Singapore, a 14-storey Days Hotel Singapore, an office tower and low-rise F&B amenities within the public park. While the location has long been known due to the adjacent historical Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, the new mixed-use development’s goal is to celebrate the landmark and bring new life to the Balestier Conservation Area with new amenities and programmes.
The strategy was to condense the programme along the two axes of Balestier Road and Jalan Rajah Road to create a unified street-front with enough critical mass of activity to create a new focal point. By concentrating activities to the boundaries of the site, it opens the space between the footprints of the two hotels and creates an unobstructed view corridor towards the memorial hall. The resulting space is used as a public park for the community, providing a variety of gathering spaces. The footprint of Days Hotel Singapore is gently rotated towards Jalan Rajah Road to generate an entrance plaza.
At the base, the low-rise retail podium is designed to harmonise with the scale and materiality that are characteristic of the Balestier area – an array of conserved shophouses mixed with modern residential and commercial buildings. The exterior perimeter of the hotel towers is arranged to provide entrances from the adjoining Balestier Road, Ah Hood Road and Jalan Rajah Road. The podium has a scale that is similar to the surrounding urban fabric. It is respectful to the human scale which encourages pedestrian flow through the site.
The continuous walkways provide shaded routes throughout the park, which is reminiscent of the traditional changlang (long corridor) in Chinese gardens. The podium has a strong multicultural identity through its use of simple materials rooted in Chinese, Peranakan and Colonial architecture. For example, the pitched roofs and generous use of horizontal timber-like louvres with vertical trellis, reflect the scale and proportions of the typical elements of Southeast Asian architecture. Inspired by nature, a unique bamboo-inspired screen wraps the façade facing the park. Patterns of light passing through these openings gradually appear and disappear throughout the day.
At the upper floors, the hotel towers are clad in panels of glass which is a contemporary complement to the intricate façade of the podium below. This intervention is created to capture and diffuse light, whose appearance keeps changing as it captures and combines reflections from the sky, the water and the city. A sky terrace is located on the sixteenth floor of Ramada Singapore, admitting daylight and direct views toward the city.
Like the buildings’ exterior, the interior design of both hotels takes its inspiration from the vibrancy of rich multiple cultures of the Balestier Conservation Area. The 17-storey Ramada Singapore is a four-star hotel with 384 rooms, including a full service all-day-dining restaurant and bar, fitness centre, swimming pool, business centre, and meeting and banquet space. The hotel is also conveniently linked to the shopping mall, catering to both business and leisure travellers. Bamboo-inspired panels are placed along the guestroom corridors, connecting the indoor space with nature. Organic-shaped lights hang from the ceiling, casting a gentle light onto the restaurant and bar. By using a mix of materials and styles from different cultures that come together in layers, a unique atmosphere is created, giving the interior space a new look.
Similarly, the 14-storey Days Hotel Singapore has 405 contemporary guestrooms decorated in a vibrant avant-garde style. The hotel also features a range of amenities including an all-day-dining restaurant facing the park and fitness centre on the second-storey landscape deck. The lobby is filled with furniture clad in black stainless steel which marks the space with a contemporary style. The lattice panel is a recurring element in the lobby which is used to separate different areas. In the restaurant, the hovering birdcages are nestled amidst the lush surrounding greenery, adding a touch of whimsy; modern touches such as the brightly coloured stripe carpet complement the vintage items, creating a new look in a brilliant way.
Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park bring a contemporary interpretation of different cultures to create a uniquely local flavour while adding a modern touch to the Balestier Conservation Area. They not only create a welcoming and distinctive atmosphere for the guests but also celebrate the rich cultural and historical setting.