The Raffles Hotel Singapore, is one of the few remaining great nineteenth century hotels in the world. How lucky we are still to have it. With its totally unique blend of classical architecture and tropical garden setting, alongside extensive and sympathetic restorations that closed the hotel for two and a half years back in 1989 and now another year until mid 2019, it has never looked more ravishing.
The restored Raffles Hotel features 103 suites, each with beautiful hardwood floors, fourteen foot ceilings, persian rugs, and antique furnishings which reflect the style and ambience of the hotel’s colonial heyday. Over four hundred pieces of existing furniture were restored and re-used. These items are easy to spot: bearing identifying brass crests signifying that they are part of an illustrious past dating back to 1887 when the Sarkies Brothers – owners of the Eastern and Oriental in Penang – decided to open a hotel and name it after Singapore’s founder: Sir Stamford Raffles.
Regal elegance wafts along its breezy verandahs, through the spacious tasteful suites and settles in the fragrant gardens. In fact tropical gardens cover more than a quarter of the entire estate, acting as a welcome buffer to the the bustling city beyond. Just sitting quietly at your private table on the verandah, you can tune in to a melody of enchanting birdsong and watch giant Swallowtail moths as they gently flutter by.
We stayed in a delightful Courtyard suite (below) which was divided unto four separate areas: a parlour and dining area, bedroom, dressing area and en-suite bathroom with the most glorious Victorian tiled deep bathtub complete with all the original fittings. Should you care to use it, there is also a 24-hour personalised service of a Raffles Butler activated by a service call button.
Even when it’s an oppressive 30 degrees outside, there’s always an airy calmness to the hotel, and plenty of personal space in which to sit and relax undisturbed in the public areas.
There are 15 restaurant and bars, ranging from the Long Bar (home of the Singapore Sling) to Raffles Grill (fine dining) to the Bar and Billiard Room (with its decidedly masculine feel) to the Writers Bar (which honours the literary luminaries who have stayed at the hotel, including Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward).
The Tiffin Room, adjacent to the lobby, continues as the main dining room and is where a scrumptious buffet breakfast is served every morning and then the space transforms again for lunch, high tea and dinner. But it’s the Tiffin Curry Buffet served daily, featuring traditional Northern India and Asian favourites that has become a thing of legend.
The Raffles Hotel & Resorts portfolio currently comprises nine luxurious properties, from secluded resorts to chic hotels in key locations around the world: Singapore, Cambodia, China, UAE, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles and Paris.
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CELLOPHANELAND* was a guest of Raffles Hotel
All images by CELLOPHANELAND* and Raffles Hotel