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. Arathoon's descendants continue to reside in Singapore.
In chronological order, the hotels founded or run by the brothers were:
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.