360° Tour

A collaboration with The Straits Times, the multimedia interactive site offers users an immersive experience of touring the building and grounds of Istana through augmented reality and 360-degree virtual tours.

Inside the Istana

Take a closer look inside.

Explore the rooms in the Istana main building where guests are honoured and entertained at state functions and other gatherings.

You may be tempted to head straight up the grand staircase to the drawing rooms with their cosier atmosphere on the second level.

Before you do so, explore the stately rooms on the first level in 360-degree photos.

Istana reception hall 

Rolling out the blue and beige carpet

Look around the Reception Hall. Here, the Istana rolls out the red, or rather, an exquisite blue and beige Persian carpet for visitors.


There are two more beautiful rooms to explore on the first level.

Go across the entry foyer to get to the State Room.

Official ceremonies, such as award investitures, are usually held in there.

Istana state room

A place for honouring good people

Look around the formal and dignified State Room where the stage is set for official presentations.


Before you glide up the grand staircase to check out the drawing rooms and more, there is one more stop on the first level.

It is a grand one, and it is where guests are hosted to state dinners and other gatherings.


Glittering and grand

Look around the Banquet Hall, where warm ties are made over meals and conversations.


That cosier feeling upstairs

Nyatoh wood covers most of the floor on the second level.

It gives the area on the second floor a feeling of a home-like place - albeit a grand and big one. It contrasts with the formality of the rooms below.

Scroll on and step right up to the grand staircase to see how it will lead you to a space with a cosier atmosphere.

You get that cosier feeling when the Statuario white marble of the grand staircase, which begins at the entry foyer, ends at the second landing. The latter is finished in hardwood floorboards and leads to flights of timber treads and rises on each side.

On your way up, your feet will sink into an Axminster woven runner carpet in red sitting on the central portion of the staircase.

You will pass by the Guardian Of The House statue. The convict-artisans who built the Istana worshipped the divine entity as a spiritual benefactor.

But if climbing the stairs is not for you, there is a lift.

It is finished with teak-veneered panels on the sides, a bevelled mirror at the rear, and rust-coloured leather padding on the lower wall panels.

The lift door is etched with a classic trellis design.

At the reception area on the second floor, a Maria Theresa-style chandelier hangs from the ceiling. It is even bigger than the one in the Banquet Hall below, measuring 3.6m by 1.7m, and weighing a massive 350kg.

Mahogany armchairs with blue upholstery, blackwood-stained Chinese coffee tables and a fine wool Persian carpet in red and blue tones complete the look of the reception area.

It might just tempt a visitor to sink into a chair to gaze at the dazzling chandelier for a while before heading into the drawing rooms on either side.

Perhaps you would prefer to head to the verandahs instead to enjoy more of that pleasing wooden floor.

The verandahs enclosing the rooms on the second level add to that sense of cosiness. Standing there while enjoying a view of the grounds, you are protected from the heat and humidity by glass panels enclosing the verandahs. You are also shielded from harsh sunlight by mechanically operated louvred shutters.

Although there is air-conditioning in the Istana main building, there are still period ceiling fans in it. It is a nod to the tropical architectural aspects of the building, along with the antique furniture, from the Chinese altar tables to the mother-of-pearl inlaid chairs.

The choice of furnishings in the West Drawing Room is dominated by Louis XIV chairs in dark leather, complemented in turn by sofas upholstered in rich damask.

The West Drawing Room is separated by a chinoiserie divider from the Sheares Room with its boat-shaped mahogany table.

Click here to view other chapters of the multimedia interactive site.

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