Orchard Road had its humble origins as an unnamed country road lined with fruit orchards, nutmeg plantations, and pepper farms in the early 1830s. By the 1850s, the plantations began to make way for residential development, and the street was soon home to Jewish and Buddhist cemeteries, Hindu temples, outdoor hawker centres, wet markets, and even an open-air laundry basin.
The first signs of retail transformation came only in 1903 with the establishment of Singapore's very first Cold Storage supermarket, on the site now occupied by The Centrepoint. Orchard Road's first department store was set up by a local merchant, C. K. Tang, in 1958 on an isolated plot of land facing a cemetery. When the old C. K. Tang building was demolished in 1982, it was replaced by the high-rise Tang Plaza which houses both the department store TANGS as well as the current Singapore Marriott Hotel. The green, curving roof still marks the location of the original department store, today known simply as TANGS.
By the 1970s, Orchard Road had replaced High Street as the city's main shopping street, and the introduction of cinemas and a bowling alley during the '60s and '70s heralded the area as a main entertainment hub. The first multi-storey shopping mall, Plaza Singapura, was built in 1974 on the site where it still stands today. Bigger and better malls and complexes soon followed, creating an eclectic streetscape with no parallel in the world.
Spanning almost 2.2km, Orchard Road is a swanky, one-way boulevard flanked by distinctive and iconic shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. The shopping belt offers nearly 800,000 sq m of retail, dining and entertainment options to please any taste or budget - from opulent brands to high street fashion, and exclusive restaurants to fast food joints.
Orchard Road is a shopper's haven and cosmopolitan playground set among a lush, tropical landscape that is ubiquitous in this Garden City. It is truly A Great Street!
In 2009, ION Orchard opened its doors. Spread across eight levels, the 66,000 square metres mall is filled with international luxury labels, high street brands, an art and exhibition gallery, casual dining outlets and fine-dining restaurants.
Fronting Orchard Road, ION Orchard is where six top luxury brands have built signature flagships in duplex units. Leading labels include names such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Louis Vuitton and Dior. For those who appreciate the designer things in life, you’ll be thrilled to know that ION Orchard is home to the largest Prada flagship store in the Asia Pacific. Designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, it covers 1,200 sq m over two floors and offers the latest range of ready-to-wear, bags, accessories and footwear for women and men.
Directly linked to the Orchard MRT Station, the four basement levels of ION Orchard are constantly teeming with shoppers from all walks of life. A wide variety of high street brands such as Topshop, Fred Perry and Armani Exchange attract crowds of students and nine-to-five workers. ION Orchard is also where you’ll find French beauty and cosmetics store Sephora—the largest store in Asia. Second in size, only to the main store in France, Sephora at ION Orchard includes an in-store spa that offers a variety of facials, body treatments, waxing and nail care services.
Within Park Hotel Group’s five-star hotel, Grand Park Orchard, stands Knightsbridge, a four-storey retail podium. Its collection of flagship stores includes Malmaison by The Hour Glass, a luxury emporium that houses Patek Philppe and Rolex Boutique Salons, Pierre Corthay shoes, a small selection of vintage Cartier objet d'art and artisan Frederic Malle perfume amongst other items. It is also the first watch retailer to provide specially appointed customer relations officers who act as concierge liaisons.
Knightsbridge is where you’ll find wildly popular American label, Abercrombie & Fitch. The 21,000 sq ft flagship store at Knightsbridge is the casual wear brand’s second store in Asia, after Tokyo.
To enhance your retail experience, make an appointment for an exclusive Fashion Concierge service at the Topshop flagship store. The service includes a dedicated shopping bag deposit counter, shopping bag delivery service and personal shopper services.
H&M Orchard Road
On 3 September 2011, Swedish retail company H&M opened their first store in Southeast Asia. The 30,000 sq ft store spans three floors, offering fashion for women, men, teenagers and children, including accessories and footwear. Seasonal collections are created by about 100 in-house designers, together with buyers and pattern makers. With fashion items refreshed in the store daily, it’s likely that you’ll find something new to buy every day.
Orchard Central distinguishes itself from other malls on Orchard Road with architectural and design forms. Fronted by an exterior featuring a digital art membrane, the mall offers cluster-concept shopping by grouping complementary offerings together for shoppers. Inside the mall, you’ll find the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata climbing wall, a large collection of public art installations by acclaimed international artists and a 24/7-operational Roof Garden and Discovery Walk. The Roof Garden offers dining options on an open-air verandah, along with a sweeping view of the city.
313@Somerset is directly linked to the Somerset MRT station and features a concentration of mid-range retail and dining outlets. Retail options are made of a mix of popular local and global fashion labels including Zara, Uniqlo, New Look, Esprit and a Forever 21 flagship store that spans four floors. A fully integrated retail development, it also offers three dining precincts that cater to various tastes and appetites.
What else to look out for in Orchard Road
One of the oldest shopping centres on Orchard Road is Tanglin Shopping Centre. Just a stone’s throw away from the Regent Hotel, Tanglin Shopping Centre houses specialty stores selling an assortment of products such as beadwork, clothes, accessories, furniture and antiques. If you’re looking for art and craft galleries, be sure to pop in to Asia Ancient Gallery.
With so many different malls selling all sorts of wares—from fashion and ethnic finds, to jewellery and furniture—Orchard Road offers much more than you can imagine. It’s no wonder then, that Singapore is known as a shopping paradise.