Grand old dame Raffles Singapore makes her return
After an extensive two-year facelift, Raffles Singapore has reopened its doors once again
“There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located – and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore,” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Singapore on the re-opening of the iconic 132-year-old hotel, after a two-year careful and sensitive three-phased restoration.
The massive restoration project led by interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud and supported by global architecture and design firm Aedas, refreshes the interiors to bring about new suite categories, while adding a compelling mix of lifestyle experiences and dining concepts for tourists and locals alike to experience the flavours of Singapore.
The reopening comes just in time as Singapore celebrates its bicentennial, the 200th year since its modern founding in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, after whom the hotel is named. Raffles Singapore’s 19th century colonial-style architecture has been perfectly preserved both inside and out. Framed by polished teak verandahs and white marble colonnades, the hotel’s suites surround lush tropical gardens.
The revitalised Raffles Singapore offers nine distinct suite categories: State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Studio Suites, Grand Hotel Suites and Presidential Suites. The Residence, Promenade and Studio Suites are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up, increasing the total suite count from 103 to 115.
The five Residence Suites located in the Raffles Arcade feature either one or two bedrooms and enjoy private access. Built to be a home away from home, each intimate suite comes with a living and dining area, pantry, office space, powder room and bedroom. For a tribute to the late 1800s, the two Promenade Suites in the front-most corner of the building would be a nostalgic reminder of when the hotel faced Singapore’s beachfront. The suites have been named after two prominent female figures – Lady Mountbatten, the Countess of Burma, and Lady Sophia, the wife of Sir Stamford Raffles. As for the Studio Suites, the six simple abodes have high ceilings and a verandah that offers views of the tranquil Palm Garden.
All guests now have their own Raffles Butler, which replaces the need for front desk and check-in services at the lobby. These 24-hour service butlers are available to guests to cater to all needs during their stay, from in-suite registration, booking transport around the city and aiding in packing extra purchases on departure.
The Raffles Experience
With a 132-year heritage, the Raffles Singapore has a wealth of history and stories to be told. “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world, and its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests,” shared Westbeld.
For guests and visitors, this means being able to indulge in history at the Raffles Hotel. Returning guests, for example, will notice that the lobby’s front desk has made way for the Writers Bar, which pays tribute to the many famous authors who have stayed at the hotel throughout the years, and serves craft cocktails, champagne, spirits, wines and more.
Not all of history has been erased of course. Long Bar makes its long-awaited return to continue its proud tradition as the home of the Singapore Sling, the national cocktail that was first concocted here in 1915. Learn more about the gin-based cocktail, and even how to make it at the Singapore Sling masterclass taught by expert bartenders. The Tiffin Room, which has been part of the hotel’s history since 1892, will also continue to serve up delectable North Indian cuisine in its traditional tiffin boxes.
Take home a piece of Raffles history too at the new Raffles Boutique. The gift shop sells souvenirs of all sorts, from gourmet products like Raffles blended teas and specially commissioned leather goods, to exclusive Singapore Sling commemorative glasses and much more for every friend and family in your life.
First opened in 1887 and declared a National Monument a century later in 1987 by the Singapore Government, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. It is a national treasure among Singaporeans who deeply vale its historical significance and unique heritage.