This old picture taken in 1982, opens a window to Kian Hua Hotel. The little alley (most likely Lorong Mandai, now expunged) off Bencoolen Street led into a community, a village of sorts. The hotel has gone but the building (81, Bencoolen Street) is still standing -- though it is no longer Kian Hua but part of a contemporary "furniture hub', Space (below).
Before development took place at Bencoolen Street, there was also Nam Hai Hotel, the building was not as "grand" as Kian Hua Hotel though. Today, there are still a lot of hotels along Bencoolen Street. But this is how I always remember Bencoolen Street (from my bus journeys): http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/pictures/Details/06086887-8ba2-45eb-a3e8-5c49e6d7800a (Picture SG, National Library Board).