The world’s finest luxury hotels are distinguished by a few essential qualities: perfection in service and physical surroundings, a sense of heritage, a rich tradition and an authentic connection with their location. In every one of these qualities, Singapore’s Raffles Hotel is rightly famous as a global standard.
A stay at this legendary hotel has been on my bucket list for a long time and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to fulfill this dream recently. As high as my expectations were for this experience, the Raffles Hotel surpassed them all.
Luxury Accommodations Since 1887
Ask any seasoned traveler with a taste for the finer things for advice on visiting Singapore and they will suggest that you spend at least one night at the Raffles Hotel. Over the years since the hotel first began providing luxury accommodation to travelers in 1887, numerous colorful figures, from Rudyard Kipling to Noel Coward to Michael Jackson to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and scores of other notable guests have followed this advice. During my visit I had the chance to meet the hotel’s historian, Leslie Danker, who explained that not only had many a famous political, literary and entertainment figure spent the night under the Raffles Hotel’s roof, a tiger once spent the night under a billiard table in the hotel’s Bar and Billiard Room. The tiger, sadly, met his end once discovered.
However, the Bar and Billiard room, built in 1896 and believed to be the oldest bar in Singapore still occupying its original location, continues to provide rest and refreshment to travelers. Speaking of refreshment, the Raffles Hotel is home to several bars and restaurants, ensuring that you will always find a delightful meal or cocktail to meet your needs, served in elegant and peaceful surroundings. Of course, during my visit I made sure to sample the famous cocktail, the Singapore Sling at the Long Bar at Raffles, the very place where it was invented. The bartender mixed the delicious and potent drink with expertise and flair for a truly memorable experience befitting the location and the occasion of my first stay at this storied hotel. In addition to fine dining, the hotel also offers a wide variety of fine boutiques to visit. You’ll find an impressive selection of fine jewelry, watches and the latest fashions without ever having to leave the hotel. After all, why would you want to?
It doesn’t take long after your arrival to realize what a special hotel this is. Entering the lobby, a lofty three-story atrium with impeccably polished marble floors and gleaming white columns supporting the three stories of dark teak railed balconies is simply breathtaking. The guest rooms, like the public areas of the hotel are impeccably cared for and elegantly appointed with furnishings that perfectly reflect the hotel’s colonial heritage without being overly ornate. Outdoors as well, particularly in the hotel’s lush green courtyard, the serenity and understated elegance of the surroundings make you feel like you’ve stepped out of time. The seamless blend of Asian and Western design creates a unique and authentic atmosphere that brings the history and Singapore and its place in the world to life before your eyes. For more information visit www.raffles.com/singapore