Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Singapore and enjoy a stay at the iconic Raffles Hotel, one of the oldest, grandest and most fabled luxury hotels in the world. A visit to this legendary hotel has been on my bucket list for a long time and I was really thrilled to finally get to experience all that this special property has to offer.
Founded in 1887 when Singapore was still a sleepy but growing trading center and a colony of the British Empire, the Raffles Hotel developed a reputation for luxury early on and has maintained its impeccable standards to this day. As a fine example of colonial style architecture, the hotel is now a national landmark and although the grandeur of the Victorian era is evident in the hotel’s imposing white columned facade and the soaring lobby atrium, the feeling on the interior is bright, comfortable and spacious. When I entered the lobby for the first time it truly took my breath away. It is a really spectacular place with ornate white columns supporting three stories of balconies encircled by dark teak railings. The skillful combination of Asian and Western design in the architecture and the furnishings really reflects the fascinating global city around it.
The guest list at the Raffles Hotel has always included the most notable political, literary and entertainment figures of the age, with presidents, prime ministers, royalty and celebrated entertainers regularly represented among those spending their stay in Singapore at the hotel. To serve the high-end clientele that call the hotel their home away from home, fine restaurants serving a variety of global cuisines, bars that effortlessly blend the hotel’s history with the casual elegance of today, a full-service spa and a selection of fine boutiques provide everything necessary for a comfortable and exciting stay. I was particularly excited to try the famous Singapore Sling, the potent pink cocktail known worldwide that was created at the hotel’s legendary Long Bar.
Enjoying this delightful libation in the warm surroundings of the historic hotel bar was a special experience. I also recommend a visit to the Bar and Billiard Room, which was built in 1896 and once hosted a tiger who stayed the night under a billiard table. The Writer’s Bar, a bright and cozy space located off the main lobby and overlooking the Palm Court, is named to honor the many well-known writers such as Noel Coward and Rudyard Kipling who have stayed at the Raffles Hotel and whose writings have contributed to the hotel’s fame.
The outdoor environment at the Raffles Hotel is as exquisite and serene as the indoor spaces. The lush courtyard, especially, with its tall palm trees and immaculate green lawn, is a peaceful oasis in the bustling commercial center that is modern day Singapore. The feeling of having entered a quieter and more gracious era is one of the special qualities found only in the finest old luxury properties around the world. The Raffles Hotel really sets the standard in this regard.