This is where the legend began…
The year was 1887 when the doors to the Raffles Singapore first opened. Since then, it has become an icon that epitomises the romance of the Far East – an intoxicating blend of luxury, history and colonial design. No visit to Singapore is complete without a stay at Raffles; tradition demands it.
A veritable oasis in the city, Raffles Singapore is situated in the heart of the business and civic district. Surrounded by modern skyscrapers, it perfectly preserves its classic colonial architecture, providing a stark contrast against its neighbours. In 1987, the hotel was declared a National Monument by the Singapore Government, after which it underwent a complete restoration at a cost of S$160 million.
Through the decades, liveried Sikh doormen have welcomed some of the most famous personalities through the ornate wrought-iron portico. Writers Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway and Alfred Hitchcock were among those who had succumbed to the charms of Raffles. Today, nothing much has changed with esteemed guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, George Bush, Karl Lagerfield, Christian Louboutin, Tory Birch and Juliette Binoche adoring her gracious hospitality.
Enter the main building of the hotel and the magnificence of the lobby, seemingly unaltered from the turn of the century, takes the breath away. White marble colonnades, also found throughout the hotel, encircle an atrium that soars four floors up. During the day, sunlight pours through illuminating polished teak verandas that lead to 103 suites.
The main building is occupied by the presidential and grand hotel suites, while the remaining suites face adjacent courtyards each with their own period furnishings, 14-foot ceiling and modern conveniences. Available round the clock is service by the legendary Raffles butlers, who are as discreet as they are efficient in the fulfilment of requests both ordinary and extraordinary.
The distinctive restaurants and bars within Raffles recall the atmosphere of an elegant era, providing a culinary paradise which combines the best of local culture and cuisine with dishes from around the world.
Tiffin Room, adjacent to the lobby, is the hotel’s main dining area. The elegant restaurant offers a sumptuous buffet of authentic North Indian specialities and curries during lunch and dinner, and the well-loved classic afternoon tea.
Raffles Grill presents exquisite contemporary French cuisine in a sophisticated dining setting. Overlooking the Palm Court, the hotel’s formal dining room features an extensive wine selection complementing the impeccable menu.
Writers Bar, located in the hotel lobby, continues to pay tribute to the novelists and travel writers who have become part of the hotel’s legend.
Housed off the main lobby, Bar & Billiard Room offers a generous whisky and cocktail bar, and lavish champagne brunch on Sundays. Two antique billiard tables, one of them a Raffles Hotel original, date back to the turn of the century and take pride of place at the distinguished bar.
Up on the second floor of the hotel, the renowned Long Bar, where the famous Singapore Sling was created, can be found. Busy regardless of time of day, it is the only place in the country where people are encouraged to litter by tossing peanut shells on the floor.
Down the corridor is Long Bar Steakhouse, perfect for grilled prime cuts of Australian and US beef, quality seafood and a tantalising selection of cold and hot appetizers.
At Raffles Courtyard, savour authentic Italian specialities; hot from the stove pizzas, a regional selection of pastas and fresh salads, in an expansive alfresco setting flanked by tropical palms.
Ah Teng’s Bakery, the cosy café features delicious pastries, biscuits and cake complete with freshly brewed coffee and tea to soothe the haste of the bustling city.
An Oasis of Luxury
Adjoining the hotel and built in architectural harmony with it is the Raffles Hotel Arcade. It houses a broad range of facilities for visitors to enjoy, including 40 regional and specialty boutiques, indoor and outdoor function areas – The Ballroom and The Lawn – and Jubilee Hall, a replica of a 19thcentury playhouse where plays, recitals and cultural events are staged.
Intricately woven into the buildings are lush tropical gardens. These occupy more than a quarter of the entire estate, providing a tranquil contrast to the hustle and bustle beyond. It is not uncommon to hear the delightful melodies of singing birds beyond the verandas, and the rustle of palm branches in the breeze – welcome to the oasis that is Raffles Singapore.
The story continues…