Raffles Singapore opened in 1887 as a beach resort with just 10 guest rooms. It was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, who founded modern Singapore in the early 19th century. Today, some 130 years later, Raffles Singapore is one of the oldest luxury hotels in the world, offering only 115 suites and is also a National Monument – an accolade conferred upon it in 1987 by the Singaporean Government.
The island-nation of Singapore is filled with magnificent contemporary hotels & resorts – at the cutting edge of technology and architecture - but Raffles - complete with its tropical gardens - is still the most revered. Over the centuries, Singapore has been a melting pot for Asian cultures so expect Indian, Chinese, Japanese and other influences in the architecture and cuisine throughout the Island and indeed hotel.
The hotel boasts 9 restaurants & bars. Anne-Sophie Pic won a Michelin star for La Dame de Pic at Raffles Hotel in 2022 and BBR by Alain Ducasse can be found in the cherished Bar & Billiard Room. Guests also can enjoy the Raffles Spa, rooftop swimming pool, meeting rooms, ballrooms, and a luxury shopping arcade. The Long Bar is one of the most famous drinking-holes in the world – and home to the famous Singapore Sling.
The hotel’s address 1, Beach Road is somewhat confusing. Certainly, in the late 19th century when the property was in its infancy, guests could walk out from their bungalows and straight into the warm waters of the Singapore Strait – but no more. While the hotel is no longer beachside – due to reclamation – it is still at the heart of The Lion City – in the Colonial District – part of the Central Business District and close to the famed Orchard Road and Raffles Shopping Centre.
Raffles Singapore is located at the very south of the island ... to the east is the airport and to the north, the nature reserves, and ultimately the bridge to mainland Malaysia. The hotel is just 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Changi Airport – itself a wonder of the aviation world.
There are just 115 suites – set over three floors - at Raffles Singapore, and each comes with butler service. The butler is on hand - around to the clock - to reserve tables in restaurants, book spa treatments and to ensure that your suite is always clean & tidy. Raffles Singapore is a tourist attraction in itself and visitors to Singapore throng to the hotel to enjoy a Singapore Sling or just bask in the luxurious shadow of the hotel. While there are “hotel guest only” areas, your butler is on hand to book your table – for instance – at The Long Bar where hotel staff “know your name” and take special attention of you.
There are nine categories of accommodation from Studio Suites up to Presidential Suites. They differ in size, number of rooms and views (Palm Garden, Palm Court or Beach Road) but all share the same level of impeccable service. Each suite boasts high ceilings, incredible attention to detailing in the furnishings and a sense of being in the Colonial era while still enjoying all the contemporary features of everyday life – Wi-Fi and plasma televisions for instance.
In the latest refurbishment, the designers focused on the bathrooms, and guests now enjoy bathtubs, walk-in showers, and wash basins, all swathed in marble.
There are now twelve “Personality Suites” named after just some of the more famous visitors to the hotel. These include actors Elizabeth Taylor and Charlie Chaplin.
Suite sizes start at 46 sq. metres for a Studio (495 sq. feet) and increase to 260 sq. metres (2798 sq. feet) for a Presidential Suite.
The very moment you arrive at hotel is when you start being exposed to the legendary Raffles Singapore service. A tall Sikh doorman – resplendent in a military-inspired uniform and bright white turban – welcomes you to enter the property with a flourish. If you are a frequent visitor to the hotel, they will remember your name. It is worth noting that the doormen love being photographed with guests and visitors alike – they welcome and treat allcomers in the same affable but professional manner. From then on, your butler takes control, ensuring that you will get anything you request and are always on hand to give advice. These multi-lingual butlers are there to fulfil every wish & need of the guest but since the hotel reopened in 2019, they have alson taken on other duties. Raffles Singapore no longer has a check-in facility in the lobby – this formality is now conducted in your suite by your butler.
The Raffles Spa – located in the Raffles Arcade – offers 7 suites including the couples Gem Suite. Here you can enjoy treatments from facials to massages – with therapists using ISUN and Mikimoto products. Also on offer in the spa are a steam bath, sauna, ice fountain and a vitality pool. A rooftop swimming pool is exclusively available to hotel guests.
The Raffles Arcade has been recently refurbished and is home to all the hotel’s restaurant & bar offerings as well as a plethora of boutiques. You will find Leica, Patek Philippe, Hublot and the premium whisky brand Macallan represented here. The Raffles Boutique gives you the chance to purchase keepsakes from the hotel including a “Singapore Sling” kit.
Raffles Singapore is wheelchair accessible. Pets are not allowed in the hotel. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome though.
The history of Raffles Singapore explains the style & feel of the hotel. In 1878, the property was the 10-room Emerson Hotel. This was rebranded and opened as Raffles Singapore by the Sarkies Brothers in 1887. Within a decade, three more buildings had been added taking the guest room count to 75. Also, a veranda, ballroom and billiard hall was added. In 1899, the hotel was redesigned in a Neo-Renaissance style and electric lighting and ceiling fans were added to each room. At the time, this was one of the most technologically advanced hotels in the world. To attract mainly a British audience, the look & feel of the hotel was in keeping with “colonial” hotels and examples of this style could be seen in India and across the “Empire”.
When you enter the Grand Lobby, the tall Victorian pillars and chandeliers are stylish remnants of a bygone era. The hotel has large, airy, open spaces, and delightful tropical plants and trees are dotted around the whole site. In the hot, balmy Singapore weather, a breath of wind makes the hotel cool and fresh.
The hotel has been renovated several times throughout its history, most recently from January 2017 to July 2019. Raffles Singapore is a 19th century hotel in a 21st century world, filled with technology but also retaining its colourful history.
Chef Anne-Sophie Pic holds nine Michelin stars in her five international restaurants including one at La Dame de Pic. This restaurant offers her amazing French cuisine in a sophisticated Singaporean setting. The restaurant also offers a vegetarian menu. Her signature “wild sea bass in a caviar and champagne sauce” is the dish to try. The wine list – as with the hotel’s other restaurants – is international and diverse in grape, style, and budget.
Alain Ducasse holds twenty Michelin stars internationally. His restaurant BBR by Alain Ducasse in the cherished Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles Singapore offers Mediterranean sharing food and a grill. The “oven baked rice with lobster and asparagus” is a triumph.
The Butcher’s Block is a traditional steakhouse and at the weekend offers superb burgers – the best in town.
The Grand Lobby offers a superb traditional Afternoon Tea and, in the evenings, Southeast Asian tapas.
The Tiffin Room serves breakfast (European and Asian) and is then transformed into a North Indian restaurant offering mouth-watering dishes like Papdi Chaat.
Yì byJereme Leung is the Raffles Singapore home to the celebrity chef Jereme Leung - who serves a traditional Chinese menu. The “crispy prawns in a passion fruit mayonnaise” is a favourite among its regulars.
The Raffles Courtyard is the place to head for al-fresco dining. It offers easy food and cocktails.
The Writer’s Bar is a quiet place to enjoy a fine whisky or glass of wine. In the past, famous writers like Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham would drink here while contemplating life and the subject of their next tome.
The hotel offers in-room dining – around the clock.
The Long Bar is one of the most famous bars in the world. Over the decades, guests and tourists have flocked here to sup the house cocktail – the Singapore Sling and eat monkey nuts (peanut) – and as is tradition – throw the shell on the floor. The Sling was concocted in 1915 by barman Ngiam Tong Boon who mixed fruit juices and alcohol to produce an easy to drink and colourful cocktail. Accept no alternatives – the original Singapore Sling served at The Long Bar at Raffles Singapore is the best.
Raffles is part of the French hospitality giant Accor. Its “Planet 21” project promotes Green Initiatives in all its hotels & resorts internationally. This includes looking at ways each property can save energy, conserve water, recycle plastics & other inorganic materials while also looking for innovative waste management processes.
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