Raffles Hotel Singapore – What Makes The Singapore Hotel So Special?

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Opened in 1887, Raffles Hotel Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world. Till today, its architecture is perfectly preserved both inside and out, giving it an intoxicating blend of luxury, history and classic colonial design. Within its walls are more than a hundred expansive suites, framed by polished teak verandas and white marble colonnades, clustered around lush tropical gardens. Each is serviced by the legendary Raffles butlers and offers every modern convenience necessary.

Raffles Hotel Singapore – The Experience 

The Raffles Hotel Singapore story begins at the door. One of Raffles Singapore’s iconic doormen greets guests in true Raffles style – a big, genuine smile of welcome in his distinctive white Gieves and Hawkes uniform. In the 1990s, Raffles was brought back to its former glory, restored and sensitively expanded over the course of a two and a half year, multimillion-dollar project. History-minded renovators selected 1915 as a benchmark and, with a few changes, faithfully restored the hotel to that era’s magnificence and splendour. Visiting this historical icon is a must if you are coming to Singapore, we are here to share some of the interesting facts that make it so special.   

Raffles Hotel Singapore – The Intricate Details That Makes It So Special

  • The old grandfather clock in the airy, hotel lobby, is said to be the oldest piece of furniture in the hotel. Every evening, when the clock strikes eight, the lobby’s pianist plays the old Noel Coward tune “I’ll See You Again”.
  • The distinctive architecture, the large grounds with its lush gardens, courtyards and fountains and breezy verandas are all special attributes of this Grand Dame.
  • Raffles Hotel Singapore is the home of the legendary Raffles Butlers – who offer magical, unobtrusive service round the clock, often described as being like a “gentle breeze”.
  • The rooftop swimming pool and bar are set in a lush tropical oasis tucked away from the bustling city beyond.

  • Raffles has its own Resident Historian – Leslie Danker has been with the hotel for more than 46 years, and even has a book to his name, Memoirs of a Raffles Original.
  • Stories such as the escape of a tiger from a nearby circus – in August 1902, a tiger was shot under the Bar & Billiard Room, then an elevated building.
  • The silver beef wagon from Raffles Grill that was buried in the garden during World War II, and later recovered was still in use in the restaurant until the hotel’s second restoration.
  • The scent of frangipani in the evening in the atmospheric and incredibly private, lush tropical gardens, cared for by the hotel’s dedicated gardeners.
  • The Singapore Sling, invented in 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Raffles Hotel Singapore as a ladies’ drink, is still enjoyed today. No visit to Singapore is complete without having an iconic Singapore Sling at the Long Bar.

  • Verandas – all the hotel’s romantic verandas have been restored, with their timber floors and tall French windows. The light fittings were created by combining parts from old fittings with fixtures found in antique shops.
  • The cast iron fountain in the Palm Garden was brought from Glasgow to Singapore over 100 years ago.
  • The hotel’s collection of original 19th-century photographs of Singapore and South East Asia.
  • The Travellers’ Palms, rustling in the breeze outside the hotel’s gleaming white façade.

Raffles Hotel Singapore – Restoration & Reopening

Raffles Hotel Singapore is currently undergoing a careful and sensitive restoration that is being carried out in three phases. The hotel is now fully closed with a reopening planned in the first quarter of 2019. The Raffles Gift Shop continues to be in operation at its temporary location on 3 Seah Street alongside a pop-up Long Bar serving the iconic Singapore Sling, around the corner from the hotel.

The restoration of Raffles Hotel Singapore is designed to ensure that Singapore retains what is so special about Raffles – the ambience, the service, the charm and the heritage of the hotel. It is also designed for Raffles Hotel Singapore to stay relevant and distinctive by moving with the times and with its guests and adapting to the changing needs of the well-travelled and Singapore’s community. For more information on their restoration, please visit www.rafflessingapore.com

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