Amber Road was named after Amber Elias, a famous Jewish property owner back in the 1920s. She had three sons. The Amber Building on Malacca Street and Amber Mansion on Orchard Road were also named after her. Amber Road was filled with bloodshed during the war. Many anti-Japanese males were killed during the Japanese Occupation at the beach across Amber Road. In 1950, the Maria Hertogh Riots took place on Amber Road. Amber Road was lined with old bungalows on the road’s beach front. The design of the houses were modeled after the houses in India which had special architecture that protected the occupants from the tropical heat. Equipped with shutters and wide eaves to provide shade and ventilation, it was also raised above the ground and fitted with high ceilings for maximum breeze. Rich Chinese ‘towkays’ or businessmen owned these houses. The Mandalay Villa built in 1902 by Lee Choon Guan is an important landmark on Amber Road. It had a magnificent structure with intricate carvings. Sadly, a bomb ruined a large portion of this house during the Japanese Occupation. A Japanese General used to live in the villa, but it was sold in the late 1970s and torn down to build a condominium project soon after in the early 1980s. Another landmark which survived the war is the Chinese Swimming Club. Established in 1905 by a group of six Chinese, it was meant to be the answer to the Singapore Swimming Club. The original Singapore Swimming Club was set up by the British and mainly used by Caucasians. Besides being used as a swimming pool, the Chinese Swimming Club was also an institution of the Chinese Peranakans and a gathering place for Katong residents. Built in 1985, the Jin Fu Apartments was put up for en bloc sale in 1995. It was located next to the Chinese Swimming Club and consisted of 18 apartments.
Between East Coast Road and Amber Road lay Kampong Amber, a Malay fishermen kampong. During those days, the hawkers of Kampong Amber fed the fishermen with cheap local dishes such as nasi lemak and mee rebus for less than three cents a portion. The villagers lived beside the rich Chinese towkays, including Lee Choon Guan. As Singapore developed, Kampong Amber vanished with high rise flats replacing it.
An 18-storey hotel, the Sea View Hotel used to stand in Amber Close. Built in 1969, it was dubbed “the jewel of Katong” because of its luxurious quality. However, it closed down in 2003 due to financial constraints.
Today Amber Road is a modern residential area with apartments and mansions such as Amber Towers, Amber Point, Amber Apartments, Amber Lodge, Parkway Mansion, Parkway Apartments and Orchid Mansion.