Singapore River may be only just over three kilometres long, but it packs a lot into those three kilometres. Officially it begins at Kim Seng Bridge (though it extends back another two kilometres under the guise of the Alexandra Canal), before making its way via a series of turns to Marina Bay and eventually out into the Singapore Strait.
Throughout the centuries, the river has been the focus of life in Singapore and certainly its trade, and was where Sir Stamford Raffles first landed. His arrival changed the river for ever, like much of the rest of the island, and within a year of stepping foot onto dry land he had ordered the north bank to be drained so it could house the government buildings he had planned. Just a few years later the southern bank followed suit, and a wall and steps built. The importance of the thoroughfare grew rapidly, warehouses sprung up along its banks, and traffic increased markedly. And with it came pollution.
The thought of spending an afternoon or evening by the water enjoying a drink or a meal would have been incomprehensible if not for Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s clean up drive of the 1970’s. The government spent $300 million to transform the waterway from a foul smelling, polluted sewer into what we have today. The effort also meant rehousing dozens of hawkers, and thousands of squatters.
The three main wharfs on the river were kept, at least in name, and are the three quays that are enjoyed by so many today. The first of those as you head downstream is Robertson Quay.
Perhaps the least well known of the three quays, certainly to tourists, but one very popular with the large expat community that lives in the immediate area and surrounding River Valley. Originally home to Chinese and European style warehouses, the URA transformed the area in the 1990’s allocating the area along both banks of the river for commercial, hotel and residential use. Today, it is an area characterised by a large number of bars and restaurants that feature alfresco dining and drinking by the riverside.
Overall, Robertson Quay covers an area of approximately 50 hectares and has two distinct areas: the stretch between the multicoloured Alkaff Bridge and Robertson’s Bridge, and the area around Robertson’s Walk. It is, especially the first of those, a lot more laid back than both Boat and Clarke Quays, and has a more sophisticated ambience than its more brash and boisterous cousins.
In recent years, more and more hotel chains have moved into this stretch of the water, including M Social, and The Warehouse Hotel, though its most famous resident – Zouk, moved out to its new home in Clarke Quay at the end of 2016.
The area, along with nearby River Valley is much sought after property wise. This is not only due to the large array of international and local dining and drinking options, but its proximity to Orchard Road, Clarke Quay, UE Square and Great World City.
New launch condos that are nearby
Upcoming freehold condo in the prime district
New launches in other districts of Singapore