The Sarkies brothers
Clockwise from top:
Arshak, Tigran and Aviet Sarkies
|Known for||Founding the Raffles Hotel, Eastern & Oriental Hotel and the Strand Hotel.|
The Sarkies Brothers, Martin (1852–1912), Tigran (1861–1912), Aviet (1862–1923), and Arshak (1868–1931), were a group of brothers of Armenian ethnicity best known for founding a chain of luxury hotels throughout Southeast Asia. The brothers were born in Isfahan, Iran.
It was 23-year-old Tigran who took the first step into the hotel industry, seeing it as more profitable than his fledgeling auctioneering business. Taking over the lease of a large compound house at 1A Light Street, George Town, Penang, he named it the Eastern Hotel (now Eastern & Oriental Hotel), announcing on 15 April 1884 that the hotel was open to receive boarders. The brothers went on to found several hotels in the region, including the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and the Strand Hotel in Rangoon (Yangon).
Arshak, the last of the brothers, died on January 9, 1931. On June 10 of the same year, a bankruptcy case was filed against the Raffles Hotel, eventually resulting in the Sarkies family losing control of their hotels.
The Sarkies name still lives on in Singapore through the namesake Sarkies Road. However, the road was named after Regina Sarkies (née Carapiet), the wife of Arathoon Sarkies, who was a cousin of the brothers and fellow hotelier. In addition, Sarkies Corner, the coffee shop in the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, is named after the brothers.
In chronological order, the hotels founded or run by the brothers were:
- 1884: Eastern Hotel, George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
- 1885: Oriental Hotel, George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Previously the Hotel de l’Europe.
- 1887: Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
- 1889: Eastern & Oriental Hotel formed as a result of the renaming of the Oriental Hotel, and the selling of the Eastern Hotel.
- 1901: Strand Hotel, Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar). Sold by the brothers in 1925.
- 1905: Crag Hotel, Penang Hill, Malaysia.
- 1923: Sea View Hotel, Singapore, originally built in 1906 and operated by the Sarkies Brothers under lease until 1931.
In addition, Kartika Wijaya (originally Jambe Dawe) in Batu, Java, Indonesia was built in 1891 originally as a vacation villa for the Sarkies, and was later turned into a hotel. The brothers' cousin Arathoon Sarkies (1882–1932) also managed the Adelphi Hotel in Singapore from 1903 to 1908, while Hotel Majapahit (as Hotel Oranje) in Surabaya, Indonesia was founded in 1910 by Martin's cousin Lucas Martin Sarkies (1876–1941) and his brother John, which stayed in the hands of their descendants until 1969.
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- "Proud of the legendary Sarkies name". The Straits Times. September 17, 2015.
- The Straits Times, 28 July 1905, Page 6 NL300
- Chong, Debra. (2010-05-26) Main – Malaysia – Penang opens tender to restore Crag Hotel @ Wed May 26 2010. Themalaysianinsider.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
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- Kartika Wijaya Hotel. Kartikawijaya.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
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- Hotel Majapahit. Hotel Majapahit (1945-11-10). Retrieved on 2011-10-23.