Hello, reception? There is a Merlion in my room!
Walking along the Singapore river will inevitably take you to the Merlion – the statue that is the symbol of the city. Look into any tourist book, leaflet, guide, website that is about Singapore and you will see it, if not as a picture it will be a scribble, a drawing or a stylized representation, it is so intertwined with its image.
The Merlion was born in 1966 as a logo for the tourist office and is a creature with a head of a lion and body of a fish, which is meant to pay homage to the long history of the island. The latter was originally called Temasek (sea town), a fishing village by the Javanese. Time passed and a series of random events and adventures brought on a Srivijayan prince to the land who decides that the lion he thinks he sees on the shores of the river is a good enough omen for him to build a kingdom on the spot. I guess if its good enough reason to settle, his choice for a new name – Singapura (“Singa” malay for lion; “pura” city) is not surprising. And this part of the history of the island is what the lion head in the Merlion is supposed to represent. Curiously enough, scientists agree that lions have most likely never roamed the lands and the animal the prince had seen was probably a tiger. But there you go, one erroneous sighting and history is changed forever.
The Merlion statue was created in the 70s on the shores of the river and just about every tourist that has ever been to Singapore will have a picture of it and, most likely, themselves with it. Its just the way it is. I have one, Mr.Blab has one, and if you have been here, you have one, admit it.
Ok, so this is what the Merlion should look like (courtesy of Wikipedia):
The sculpture on the river with water coming out of its mouth.
Instead, on our recent walk down the river, preparing the girls for the landmark Merlion, we were arrived at this:
Now it gets exciting, because we actually got to experience something new.
Here is the scoop.
How absolutely out of the ordinary. We got all excited and lined up to get in.
(toilet break with the Dod, who decided the need for pee was more urgent than visiting the Merlion Hotel – roll eyes)
Inside is where the real magic happened though, because its one thing to imagine this, its another to actually enter the beautifully crafted room and see the head of the lion right there in the middle of it. It looked just like a regular fancy hotel room and all of its comforts and furnishings.
There was Raffles wallpaper and incense, as well as desk, slippers and an inviting tub with the best view of Singapore.
“Me go toi” – translation “I need to go to the toilet” to which the guides quickly made sure we knew it was not appropriate and he looked confused why is there a toilet there he cant use.
To sleep in this one of a kind hotel room would cost you 150 Singapore dollars, which is really nothing considering the hotel prices of the city. Oh, that and to win the lottery that they ran for the project.
And what a great project it was.
We were there.
And we loved it.