Sarkies Brothers

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Clockwise from top: Arshak, Tigran and Aviet Sarkies

The Sarkies Brothers were a group of brothers of Armenian ethnicity, best known for founding a chain of luxury hotels throughout Southeast Asia. Born in Isfahan, Iran,[1] the brothers were:

  • Martin Sarkies (1852–1912)
  • Tigran Sarkies (1861–1912)
  • Aviet Sarkies (1862–1923)
  • Arshak Sarkies (1868–1931)
Tombs of the Sarkies family from the 19th century in the churchyard of the Armenian Church, Singapore

In chronological order, the hotels founded or run by the brothers were:[2]

It was 23-year-old Tigran who took the first step into the hotel industry, seeing it as more profitable than his fledgling auctioneering business. Taking over the lease of a large compound house at 1A Light Street, he named it the Eastern Hotel, announcing on 15 April 1884 that the hotel was open to receive boarders.[6]

Tombs of the Sarkies family from the 20th century in the churchyard of the Armenian Church, Singapore

In addition, the brothers' cousin Arathoon Sarkies (1882–1932) managed the Adelphi Hotel in Singapore from 1903 to 1908,[7] and Hotel Majapahit (as Hotel Oranje) in Surabaya, Indonesia was founded in 1910 by Martin's cousin Lucas Martin Sarkies (1876–?) and his brother John.[8][9] Kartika Wijaya in Batu, Java, Indonesia was originally built as a vacation villa for the Sarkies, and was only later turned into a hotel.[10]

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 in Singapore and Penang.[2] The hotel in Surabaya, however, stayed in the hands of the Sarkies' cousins' descendants until 1969.[11]

Another Sarkies hotel still operating is The Niagara Hotel, Lawang, East Java.

The Sarkies name still lives on in Singapore through the namesake Sarkies Road. However this is named after Mrs Regina Sarkies, not of the Raffles Hotel Sarkies family.[12] (home of the Alliance Française de Singapour, next to Newton Circus), and in Arathoon's descendants.[13]


  1. ^ a b The History of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  2. ^ a b Sarkies Brothers. Famous Hotels. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  3. ^ Old Sea View Hotel. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  4. ^ The Straits Times, 28 July 1905, Page 6 NL300
  5. ^ Chong, Debra. (2010-05-26) Main – Malaysia – Penang opens tender to restore Crag Hotel @ Wed May 26 2010. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  6. ^
  7. ^ July « Preservation Of Monuments Board. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  8. ^
  9. ^ A. Mirzaian, Armenians in Australia and New Zealand.216
  10. ^ Kartika Wijaya Hotel. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  11. ^ Hotel Majapahit. Hotel Majapahit (1945-11-10). Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
  12. ^ Wright, Nadia H. (2003). Respected citizens: the history of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia. Amassia Publishing. 
  13. ^ "Proud of the legendary Sarkies name". The Straits Times. September 17, 2015. 

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