Karikal Mahal

A pale-bluish mansion occupies a large plot of land at the junction of Still Road South and St Patrick’s Road. It is the Karikal Mahal, the former residence of a rich Indian merchant.

In 1917, wealthy cattle merchant Moona Kadir Sultan bought this plot of land and built a large mansion for his numerous wives. The majestic mansion was completed three years later and comprised four houses with a luxurious garden, fountains and beautiful angel sculptures by an artificial lake. The whole project, modelled after a mixture of Victorian, Italianate and Indian-styled designs, cost $500,000, a huge amount in the twenties.

Karikal Mahal was named after Moona Kadir Sultan’s hometown, a small town located in South India’s state of Tamil Nadu. Mahal means palace in Indian. Before the land reclamation of Marine Parade in the late sixties, the mansion was only a short distance away from the coastline, allowing the residents to enjoy sea breezes and listen to the sounds of waves.

In 1947, the property was sold to a local company Lee Rubber Company, who renovated the mansion into a 20-room budget hotel, named as Renaissance Grand Hotel. The hotel had enjoyed brisk business in the past but today its glory days have clearly passed, with the mansion converted into a temporary warehouse for unwanted furniture.

The land is still owned by Lee Rubber, and is estimated to be worth $300m in the current property boom.

The government acquired part of the land in 1973 in order to construct a main road linking the north part (Joo Chiat area) to south. Still Road cuts through the occupied land, splitting the garden from the mansion. Today, one can still spot some small old houses located in a barren land directly opposite Grand Hotel that were likely to be the servant quarters of the former Karikal Mahal.

Nearby, there is a road named after Karikal Mahal. It is the Karikal Lane, a short stretch of road perpendicular to St Patrick’s Road. There was once a Karikal Road too, but had become part of the present-day Still Road South. Some 100 buildings, including Karikal Mahal, around Joo Chiat and Katong area were placed on the conservation list by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 2009.

Also read The Story of “The Cattle King” and his Karikal Mahal Palace.

Published: 03 February 2012

Updated: 21 September 2020

96 Responses to Karikal Mahal

  1. Eugene says:

    Brilliant. It’s great that you are documenting our heritage and past. Been wanting to get inside this place to do some interior photography.

    Enjoy reading your posts. Very unique! What’s next? 🙂 Rochor area?

  2. nicolas villar says:

    I lived in that address with my wife for a while in 1972. When we left for Italy we were told the place was slated for demolition, and it broke our heart. I’m so happy it was preserved and placed in the Conservation List.

  3. Edwin Pereira says:

    I was born in 24 Karikal Lane in 1946 and lived till 1979 I will always remember the Graand Hotel,we payed football in the field in front before Still Road cut it in half.

    • Teo Meng Toon says:

      I would like to say hello to Mr Edwin Pereira. I remember you well. I lived in the workers’ quarters of the Grand Hotel where my father was a waiter. We were there from I think 1948/49 till 1968. Yes we played football and flew fighting kites in the big field outside the Grand Hotel. What is now Still Road South was Karikal Road, and Grand Hotel’s address was then 24/26 Karikal Road, Singapore 15.

      • Edwin says:

        Yes, I remember you too, ‘suki’ we were young then, we played football and flew kites, I have been living in Sydney, Australia for the last 28 years, I remember you had an older brother, I hope everything is well with you.

      • Melissa says:

        Hi Mr Teo and Mr Pereira, I’m hoping to find out more about the old Grand Hotel. May I know how I can contact you? Thank you.


      • wana says:

        Hi! Mr Teo
        Are you a Hainanese?

    • Sahida Jinah says:

      I was brought up at 22 karikal Lane. If anyone remembers. I have 4brothers all from St Patrick. HAKAMALI, Habib
      AHMED and Riyaz.
      I remembered your mum. Mrs pereira. That’s what we used to call her. Maybe it was your grand mother. Are you still staying there. I was looking to buy back my old house. But the house on sale is 24 karikal Lane.

    • Wendy Low says:

      Hello mr Edwin Pereira and mr MT Teo , would you be able to share some photos of the Karikal mahal in its glorious days before it was divided into two plots …? I’m unable to find any pics online …

      Wendy Low

  4. xlash says:

    Yo ! I am doing a project on this can I give ma more info

  5. Typi says:

    I was from Katong Convent Secondary (1978-1981) at Martia Road and my art class overlooked the compound of Karikal Mansion. It inspired many of the styles I used during Still Life painting as I brushed along daydreaming about this mysterious and massive mansion which beautiful as it was I did not see anyone there for some years. Till I read your post it was always a mystery. Only once did I remember seeing bikini clad white women happily dipping in the swimming pool. This place shaped many a fantasy during art lessons and now at 47 finally the mystery is unravelled. I wish I could one day visit past the lawns that I used to admire from my classroom window on the upper floors of the old convent. Now thanks to you, I understand its 2 parts to the mansion split by Still Road.

  6. Teo Meng Toon says:

    Hi Edwin, good to know you read my post. Yes have not seen you since 1968. I am contactable at my email address “mtteo@pacific.net.sg”. If you care to we can exchange some musings of old times. Yes my elder brother and I are both well.

  7. Edwin Pereira!Wow haven’t heard or seen you for ages.We always mention you when talk about the old times.Do you remember Barnaby Leicester,Peter Foo,Jared Lazaroo, Chew Hai Huat and Charles Remedios and Barry Desker?We still meet up at times for lunch.

  8. Edwin says:

    Yes, Lionel, I remember all these guys, I have been living in Sydney for nearly 30 years, I have seen Barry on Channel News Asia discussing subjects on Asean with Kisho Murabini, I watch CNA via satellite, still pluged in to Spore, still working for the Dept of Health, please send my regards to all our school mates.

  9. I will.You might be receiving some contact from some of them when I let them know I’ve located your whereabouts!Keep well and safe.

  10. Peter Dunlop author "Street names of Singapore" says:

    Huts? Surely servants quarters, garages/stables

  11. daralkhayrat says:

    Anyone interested to hear the story, briefly, of Moona ? He is from my community and I grew up listening to these stories and my late uncle who shared most of the stories had lived around the time of Moona to know him also.

    • mariam mohd karim osman kader sultan says:

      Hi daralkhayrat,hmmm..just to make sure u hear the right stories ya…I’m his great grand daughter.I’m not sure if we are related? Would love to hear from you too…and by the way what is your good name?

      • Taher Saheb says:

        Assalamu Alaikum ! I am resident of KARIKAL ( FRENCH TERRITORY-INDIA ). Still I have good contact with your relatives in KARAIKAL.. It will be more delighted if they come to know you also one of their ( KADER SULTAN ) family member. My cell number 0091 9894517606

      • Mumtajbegum says:

        Hello this is Mumtaj Begum from Karaikal. I am grand daughter of Moona Kaanna Kader Sultan living in Kadar Sultan Road near by Kannadi Maaligai which is the miniature of Kader Mahal which is in Singapore (Grand Hotel).

        Convey my salaam to all of our family members. My Mobile number 9843636996 and land line 00914368228996.

      • Riyas Ahamed says:

        Dear Mariam , Assalamu Alaikum. We are related to Osman Kader Sultan. Actually my father tried to meet the family members when he came to singapore . But failed . Please contact me to +6598064240

      • Riyas Ahamed says:

        Assalamu Alaikum,
        My name Riyas Ahamed. My Father related to Kader Sultan. He is eager to see the relatives. If you wish please call me to +6598064240

    • davidyap2013 says:

      Hi Daralkhayrat,

      Some information on Mr. Moona Kader Sultan:
      Born : 1863 Karikal – French India
      1877: Arrival in Singapore at the age of 14
      1924: Received the rank of Knights in The National Order of the Legion of Honour from The French Government
      Mr. Kader Sultan iss the first French Indian subject and one of the most important member of the Muslim group in Singapore. He is a member of the Muslim Advisory Board of Singapore, where he serves as a Justice of Peace.
      He owns the Straits Cattle Trading Company.
      1936: He was sued and went bankrupt and his Karikal Mahal was put up by the British to be auction at $90,000. He did not attend the hearing as he was ill and was in Karikal.
      4th June 1937: Mr. Moona Kader Sultan passed away in his hometown in Karikal at the age of 74.
      By the way, he also built another building at Little India located at Campbell Lane (now known as Madras Street) which has been restored to a Boutique Hotel called The Daulat.

    • My wife, Katijah was born at this house and our grandchildren have been pestering me for more information on the family. So anything you have on Moona, his children, his wives in Singapore and India will be much appreciated. contact me at pmartinssm@gmail.com
      Thank you

    • Riyas Ahamed says:

      Assalamu Alaikum, We are looking for Heir and descendants of Rahmath Beevi w/o shaik mohamed and d/o Moona Kadir Sultan. If anyone knows pls call me to +65 98064240.

    • Riyas Ahamed says:

      Pls call me to 98064240, if you are related to Moona Kadir Sultan.

  12. daralkhayrat! let’s hear your story!The original owner was a rich cattle trader etc if I am not mistaken from stories I vaguely remember from my father who used to play for a football team he sponsored in the late nineteen twenties to the early ninteen thirties!

  13. Just passed by Karikal Mahal.Its all boarded and covered.Some kind of renovation works going on.Anybody in the know about this?

  14. Eileen says:

    My family are some kind of distant relatives with Lee Rubber so anyway. I have pictures of myself as a toddler playing in the garden of Grand Hotel and i think it dates back to 1983-1990. We still lived a few doors to Grand Hotel. The old servants of Lee Rubber are still living inside. I’ll try to listen to gossips and find out what’s going on with the renovation!

  15. Thank you Eileen.Sure would like to know what’s happening!

  16. Eileen says:

    Roof fell down couple of months ago so they are just restoring and repairing it that’s all. No one lives there anymore, they lived on the other Grand Hotel side. Still road still actually belongs to Lee Rubber, they merely loaned it to the govt. The colonial SD behind are also owned by them. They acquired all the units many years ago, probably 10yrs or more and its all rented out. The front garden was sold and it’s now a condo D’Ecosia, they tried it buy it back from the condo residents but they refused to sell.

  17. Melissa says:

    Wow Eileen, thanks for the update! So, any plans for Lee Rubber to sell this place, or do something about it?

  18. Melissa says:

    daralkhayrat – please do tell us your stories!

  19. Mariam says:

    Daralkhayrat please tell us your story.
    My great great grandfather was Moona Kadir Sultan, my grandfather was actually born in the Karikal Mahal and lived there until his father died. I would love to hear the stories you know

    • Mumtajbegum says:

      you c​an c​all me de​ar I ​am h​a​​ving more inform​ation ​about our f​amily. If you communic​ate with me I will be the h​appiest person. J​az​ak​all​ah.

    • Riyas Ahamed says:

      Dear Mariam,
      Assalamu Alaikum.My name Riyas Ahamed. I am very close relative to Kader Sultan Family. One of his sons Abu Bake family contact me from Bangkok and intetested to see relatives. Pls call me to +6598064240.

  20. KS descendant says:

    Hi Mariam. Could we be related? My grandfather was Hussain Kader Sultan. We still have old black and white photographs of the men in the family in rows with long moustaches and their tarbush hats. The only female in the group photo of about 20+ people was my aunt as a baby. I have always been intrigued by why the family estate was sold shortly after World War II ended a mere 30 years after the estate was built. They lived such a life of grandeur then but the family empire in Singapore fell apart quite quickly. I heard stories that the Cattle King left Singapore for India quite abruptly after he was disappointed by one of his children’s behaviour. The estate was then sold off by one of the children who then ran out of the country with the proceeds. I can’t confirm these stories. But if anyone could shed some light on this mystery and on what had really happened, maybe it could give some peace to a many of the Kader Sultan descendants.

    • mariam mohd karim osman kader sultan says:

      Yes we are related..can I know your real name..this is my contact 82454709 ..

      • Taher Saheb says:

        ASSALAMU ALAIKUM Mrs Mariam Mohamed Karim ! Have you met some of your relatives in Karaikal. Hope you had a wonderful time on that day.

      • Rokiah says:

        Hi Mariam, my name is Rokiah and my grandfather is Mohamed Yusoff bin Kadir Sultan son of Moona Kadir Sultan. I have always been interested in our family history and I am sure we are related. My grandfather had nine children and my father grew up in Karikal Mahal. But my father’s family left Karikal Mahal when my grandfather died at a young age of 41 years old. My grandmother and my father have told me many stories and most of it are sad incidents. My family and I have lived in England since 1972 but last year I visited my cousins in Singapore and went past the old mansion. It is still magnificent even at this age. If you have any other stories , I would love to hear it.

      • Riyas Ahamed says:

        Assalamu Alaikum Mariam,
        I am collecting details of Kader Sultan. Kader Sultan’s One of sons Abu Bakr Family from Bangkok contacting me to meet the Relatives. Pls call me to +6598064240 Riyas Ahamed.

  21. L H Tan says:

    Hi All!! This is great I live very near that area. Can someone post a beachfront picture or any old one of Kariral Mahal next to the sea please. Or painting. I hv been searchin so long .
    My email is ketch232002@yahoo.com.sg


  22. Suraya KSM Anuar says:


  23. Suraya KSMA says:

    would be great to create a group or facebook page to link up all the members of the Kader Sultan Family. (me being one)
    i could start off, but any takers?

    • Suraya says:

      a descendant just passed away on Tuesday. Kareem bin Osman Kader Sultan.
      my granduncle. Alfatehah for him please. 😦

      • mariam mohd karim osman kader sultan says:

        Hi suraya..mariam here,,yes that is my dad.how are you..stay in touch

      • Suraya KSM Anuar says:

        Salam Mariam. Add me at FB. @elyqa azura (bibi n suraya kadirsultan)
        And we can start connecting again.
        Like I mentioned, thot of creating a page for The Kader Sultan family. 🙂

    • Mumtajbegum says:

      Hello this is Mumtaj Begum from Karaikal. I am grand daughter of Moona Kaanna Kader Sultan living in Kadar Sultan Road near by Kannadi Maaligai which is the miniature of Kader Mahal which is in Singapore (Grand Hotel).

      Convey my salaam to all of our family members. My Mobile number 9843636996 and land line 00914368228996.

  24. kader mastan says:

    Could you please send any photos related to that,,,,,
    my name is kader mastan and my father name k.sulthan maraicar and his father name kader mastan maricar and his father k.sultan maricar,,,,,,,, he is the cattle king king in 1920’s “kader sultan”

    • mariam mohd karim osman kader sultan says:

      Hmmm..hi kader,,I’m am surprised we are related too..I went to India pondicherry and had seen the kader sultan mahal there itself..

      • David Yap says:

        Hi Mariam Mohd Karim Osman Kader Sultan,

        I was chance upon your story and I am not related in anyway but I have some question about an older building believed to be owned by Moona Sultan Kader and was ordered to be built in 1912 at Campbell Lane (Madras Street now). The previous name before the developer bought over was named as GEO building, but now has been converted to a beautiful boutique hotel, called The Daulat. I would like to piece the history data together and bring some recognition to the gentleman who order this to be built then. I wish I could attached a picture of the facade which was just completed but couldnt get it attached here. The original story which this building was built was to house his immediate family and workers for his cattles (cows and goats) and his cow shed was just behind this building streched till Perak road.

        Best wishes,
        David Yap

    • Mumtajbegum says:

      Hello this is Mumtaj Begum from Karaikal. I am grand daughter of Moona Kaanna Kader Sultan living in Kadar Sultan Road near by Kannadi Maaligai which is the miniature of Kader Mahal which is in Singapore (Grand Hotel).

      Convey my salaam to all of our family members. My Mobile number 9843636996 and land line 00914368228996.

      Yes am having. Send your email id and mobile no. Whats app.

  25. Peter Dunlop author "Street names of Singapore" says:

    Hey! Campbell Lane is still there, according to streetdirectory.com

  26. David Yap says:

    Hi Peter,
    Sorry to confused you. Indeed you are right, Campbell is still there. Madras Street is part of Campbell Lane previously that connects to Dalhousie Lane. Madras Street was named between 1935 to 1940. The building that Moona Kader Sultan owns is located now at the Madras Street.

  27. Lee Yong Ming says:

    Hello. I’m very keen on purchasing a copy of Peter Dunlop’s “Street Names Of Singapore”. Can anyone help me please? I’m Lee Yong Ming and my Handphone number is +65 96683118. Thanks everyone.

    My aunt used to work at the Grand Hotel. Alice Thomas is her name. I also knew Susan Ang who was a famous Singapore model from my era. She lived in the wooden hut across the Still Road South from Grand Hotel.

    Lee Yong ming

  28. TAHER SAHEB says:


    • Please contact me at pmartinssm@gmail.com. Mt wife is the grand daughter of Moona Kader Sultan and we’re trying to put together the family tree for our grand children

      Thank you Peter Martin@Mohamed Abdullah Martin

      • Mumtajbegum says:

        Hello this is Mumtaj Begum from Karaikal. I am grand daughter of Moona Kaanna Kader Sultan living in Kadar Sultan Road near by Kannadi Maaligai which is the miniature of Kader Mahal which is in Singapore (Grand Hotel).

        Convey my salaam to all of our family members. My Mobile number 9843636996 and land line 00914368228996.

    • Mumtajbegum says:

      From here I will take the process. Kindly excuse us.
      Mumtaj Begum

  29. Alia says:

    Hi. Anyone knows if this place is open for rental for a one day event?

    I love the space and the architecture.

  30. aliogoi says:

    Great. Now I know. Wish can take photos of the place. Looks beautiful and imposing even in its current state.

  31. gerry, says:

    I cannot help adding in my contribution as a ball boy to former Singapore goalkeeper Wilfred Skinner (RIP) when he trained at Karikal field every evening. Players like Vernon Lim, Gerard Bheem, Spencer (Skinner’s neighbour) Brian Plunkett, Brian Rozario (coached by Skinner and subsequently wore national colours) ,as well as many other from St Patrick’s School who were schooled by Skinner and others like Andrew Yap and his brother Sebastian, A proud football playground for the Katong boys until some brainless morons decided to destroy it with a road running right through it. Just like that.

  32. Marian Danker says:

    Does anyone know the historical reference to Martia Road.My grandmother Belinda Martia used to tell me that it was named after her father.

  33. Edwin Pereira says:

    Yes, I remember you and your brother chatu as your mother called him, I havae been living in Sydney for the last 30 years

  34. Sahida Jinah says:

    Yes that’s right. Nickname
    chotu, akuli and Habib, the younger one babu.

    • Sahida Jinah says:

      I will let Chotu know that you still remembers him. He will be excited and will recall his childhood days.

      • Edwin Pereira says:

        Yes, I remember the 3 of them Babu is the youngest, are you the eldest daughter and you have another sister the names Chotu,Akuli and Habib bring back memories, send my regards to all of them

  35. Sahida Jinah says:

    No I’m the youngest. Six girls and four boys. We were the biggest family in karikal Lane. Magi is the eldest. She is in penang. She runs the Mydin’s hypermarket in Penang. Chotu and three brothers sends their regards to you.

  36. Edwin Pereira says:

    Yes, now I recall her name Magi, your mother would be proud of her, she is doing well, did they rebuild 24 Karikal lane

    • A. Sam Jinnah says:

      This is “Akuli’ or ‘Kuli’ and sometime even ‘Hercules’ by those who could not pronounce my name correctly. Sure as been a long time and I still remember my neighbor, the studious, handsome, but very quiet guy, Edwin Pereira. My sister Sahida prompted all of us with regards to your blog that she sighted and got all of us to look into it. It sure brings back a lot of memories. Will always miss that place. My good old friend Reganadan Jaganathan; still resides at 14 Karikal Lane, but in this day and constraint time, have hardly seen him and contacted him. But surprisingly, about a month ago, I met Steven Wong (he was residing on the main road – East Coast Road) who had a brother by the name of Binny boy, over tea (4pm) at Macpherson Road, near my office. He has hardly changed but he had, without hesitation called out my name so loudly ‘Akuli’, to my surprise. Frankly this name has not been mentioned for more than 50 years now, which also means that if you see me on the road, you will definitely recognize me. We had a hearty conversation for more than two or so hours, putting aside all our other programs and in the conversation, your name, names of our other buddies were mentioned; like Franco Fernandez (staying Karikal Road), Denise Wee and his brother Tony Wee (staying in the Zinc house opposite ours), Brian Rozario, his sister Sandra, Johnson Wee and Ah Choo, the shopowners’ sons; to name the least and I was told to keep him informed should I meet anyone of you. So please keep in touch.

      • Edwin Pereira says:

        Akuli, I like your adjectives, very complementary, I can still hear you mother calling you
        Akuli, your narration brings back memories of long forgotten childhood friends like the song has ended but the melody lingers on. you had a big swing in the hall of your house, your mother and the children use to be on it. Steven Wong and his brother use to be flight stewards with SIA and Brian Rozario use to be a footballer, Thanks of the Memories

  37. A. Sam Jinnah says:

    Yes, so true. My mum is 91 and with the grace of God healthy and in good spirit. By the way Edwin, should you visit Singapore, please do not forget to call. My mum and all, will definitely love to meet up with you. My mobile number is +65-97368810, which has been the same since the eighties; hence, will not change anytime soon. Cheers!

  38. Karikal Mahal in the early 20th century

    (Photo Credit: The Singapore House 1819-1942 by Lee Kip Lin)

    • Rose says:

      I am a family Kader sultan My grandfathers name AbuBakr Kader sultan I have a great grand grandfather of France Medal I live in Thailand contact number 089065523,0810766492 ID line 0890655233

  39. I am putting together a family tree for my wife’s (Grand daughter of Moona Kader Sultan) grandchildren, so any information about his children, wife(s) and ancestors will be much appreciated. Also any information about my wife’s father Ona Shaik Mohamed will be very welcome

    Contact me at pmartinssm@gmail.com

    • Rokiah Gul says:

      My name is Rokiah Suleiman, I am the great granddaughter of Moona Kader Sultan. As you know Moona Kader Sultan had two wives, one from India and another from Singapore. My grandfather Mohamed Yusoff was born in India but came over to Singapore with two of his brothers to work with his father . I do have in my possession few pictures of Kader Sultan but I would really be interested to see the pictures you have. Sadly I do not know much about the Singapore side of the family although I was born and brought up in Singapore and left at 10 years old to live in England.
      So please send any photographs when you are free.

      • Rokiah these are all the photographs I have.

        Whereabouts in UK do you live? I originally came from UK to Singapore in 1972 and after meeting my wife I am still here.

        My wife Katijah binte Shaik Mohamed is the grand daughter of Kader Sultan.

        I would be interested in any information you have about Kader Sultan at all,

        Names of his wives, sons, daughters, grandchildren when and where they were born as well his great grandchildren.

        Look forward to hearing from you

        Peter Martin @ Mohamed Abdullah Martin

        On Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 7:35 AM, Remember Singapore wrote:

        > Rokiah Gul commented: “My name is Rokiah Suleiman, I am the great > granddaughter of Moona Kader Sultan. As you know Moona Kader Sultan had two > wives, one from India and another from Singapore. My grandfather Mohamed > Yusoff was born in India but came over to Singapore with two o” >

      • Rokiah Gul says:

        Hi Peter, my email address is rgulatifc@aol.com., , I would really appreciate if you could send me those pictures.I came to UK with my family in 1972 when I was 10 years old and currently living in Redbridge , Essex.
        My grandfather Mohammed Yusoff (son of Moona Kader Sultan) had eight children and they lived at the mansion when they were young but moved away when their father died at a very young age. There are numerous stories and tragedies that surround the Sultan family and you have a difficult task there to get informations and putting a family tree.
        In fact some time ago one of my cousins tried construct a family tree but he gave up due to lack of information. So good luck and wish you and your family best wishes.

      • Please give me your email address, looks like the photos did not get through

  40. I have photographs and articles of Moona Kader Sultan if anyone is interested

  41. The abandoned Grand Hotel will be transformed into Odyssey the Global Preschool which will be opening its doors in July 2016. Children from 8 months to 6 years will enjoy learning and exploring this historical building.

  42. siti mashita says:

    Can we go in the house to view.

  43. Patrick Terence Lim says:

    You can go in and see if you are intending to enrol your child in Odyssey the Global Preschool. Photography is also not permitted within the compound and inside the buildings.

  44. Still Road’s old Grand Hotel gets new life

    31 July 2016
    The Straits Times

    Mr Ahmad Sultan Ali Mohd Jinnah, 64, remembers trying to sneak into the Grand Hotel in Marine Parade as a boy in the 1960s, only to be chased away each time by its eagle-eyed security guards.

    Now, the two stately bungalows that housed the hotel – both nearly a hundred years old – are opening their doors to children.

    The colonial-style buildings have been converted into pre-schools, following a $5 million makeover of their interiors. They now accommodate the Still Road campus of Odyssey The Global Preschool, and Pat’s Schoolhouse Katong.

    “As heritage buildings, these architectural landmarks came with a lot of history and old-school charm,” said Ms Rabiatul Adawiah, director of business development, curriculum, audit and compliance at Busy Bees Singapore, which owns both pre-school brands.

    Both buildings were once part of the massive Karikal Mahal, built in 1917 by Indian cattle merchant Moona Kader Sultan as a house for himself and his many wives. In 1947, it was converted into the Grand Hotel which, despite its name, was a 20-room budget outfit. Guests enjoyed a direct walk from the compound to the seashore.

    But, when Marine Parade was reclaimed, Still Road was extended into Still Road South in 1973, cutting the property into two.

    In the 1990s, according to reports, the hotel charged $70 a day, or $50 for a few hours, for a room with air-conditioning, a colour TV set and a mini-fridge. But it closed in 2000 due to poor business.

    The two buildings at 25 and 26 Still Road South, owned by the privately owned – and very private – Lee Rubber Group, lay quiet for years. In 2007, 25 Still Road South was reportedly being used to store unwanted furniture.

    Busy Bees Asia is leasing both sites from Lee Rubber.

    The ornate facades of both conserved buildings are preserved in the latest renovations.

    Ms Rabiatul added: “We don’t see many buildings like these today. It would be interesting to bridge the old and the new, and refurbish it to become a place for our children to learn and flourish in.”

    The buildings were particularly suitable as they come with expansive grounds as well as “rooms and nooks” that could be converted into learning areas, she added.

    At the Odyssey campus – named The Odyssey Heritage to reflect its history – children have facilities such as a “Little Chef’s Lab”, a music and dance studio, and indoor art galleries.

    The green grounds include interactive music gardens, herb gardens, an outdoor playground and an outdoor water play area. The campus opened earlier this month.

    The Pat’s Schoolhouse campus, which opened in March, includes gardens, an outdoor sandpit area, music rooms and reading corners. Renovations for both campuses cost close to $5 million in total.

    “We’ve managed to secure a long-term lease, so this was a necessary investment that we wanted to make,” said Ms Rabiatul.

    Busy Bees Singapore is no stranger to transforming places into pre-schools, having previously created campuses out of a police driving school, a bowling alley, post offices and a swimming pool.

    But to Mr Ahmad, a marine surveyor, the property will always remind him of his childhood days.

    “The Grand Hotel was just behind my house. I used to play football with my neighbours in the hotel’s field. One of them was (former national footballer and legendary goalkeeper) Wilfred Skinner,” he said. “But it’s been so many years; those days are all gone now.”


  45. Riyas Ahamed says:

    Moona Kader Sultan had one daughter by name Rahamath Beevi. She married to SHAIK MOHAMED. and they lived in Singapore. I want to contact that family. If anyone knows or related to them , Pls call me to +6598064240

    • Yusuff says:

      I was so lucky to found this blog post about Karaikal Mahal. I’m also belong to the same hometown of Mr. Kader Sultan, and have been living in Singapore since 2014, but not related in any way. Actually, until last night, as I heard from my MIL, had no idea about this Mansion and the Cattle King that there was once a rich merchant named Kader Sultan who had a palace in Singapore and also in Karaikal by the name Kannadi (Glass) Maaligai (Palace), meaning a palace mostly made up of glasses, which was located at the street by his name – Kader Sultan Street. I wanted to Google to know more about this man after hearing this, as well as to see if I could find his palace in Singapore. Fortunately, I landed at the right place soon after I started searching. Thanks to the blog owner who captured all the details and also gave the family members a chance to unite.

      I found that this mansion was now divided into two different Pre Schools, and that opened up the possibility to look around these two schools with 360 views available in the Google Map link below, I hope it would be useful for many who are looking forward to visiting this palace.


  46. dianasyrfana says:

    Hi there,

    I am Diana from a Media Production House in Singapore. We are currently doing an info-ed docu drama about Tekka as an enclave for the Indians and how it came to be about. One of our episodes touches on Kader Sultan and as such, I went on research to know more about him and also of the Karikal Mahal. Am glad that there’s photographs of the old house on this website and it would be extremely useful to us to include this in the episode.

    As such, do let me know of whom I can contact to in regards to getting permission to use these photographs and I can discuss further.

    Thank you!

    • Mariam says:

      Hi Diana I’m not sure if you were the one I met during the interview. If yes. We did exchange contacts. Thanks to you and Mr. Subbiah and mediacorp for taking the effort to make this info-ed docu drama. Appreciate all the info given or shared best to our knowledge.

  47. Thanks all for the feedback.

    Have revisited the place recently and written a more detailed history about the place and its creator, based on the resources from the Newspapers Archives of Singapore 🙂


  48. Waleed Baqeer Idham Khalid says:

    My Uncle I met at the mosque said Kader Sultan is a relative to my Gulam Maydin indian great great grandfather who come from Nagore.

    Does anyone who know kader sultan know Gulam Maydin

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