As you enter Raffles Singapore Hotel, you can feel its 135 years of history. Discover the hotel’s ambiance and charm.

Arriving at the Raffles Hotel Singapore, I am immediately captivated by a palpable feeling of history. The imposing but familiar facade, or the liveried Sikh Doormen. As I enter the Grand Lobby, with its white Italian marble floor and stunning chandelier, I try to keep my mouth shut and my chin up. Raffles Hotel Singapore is luxury.

The 135-year history of this Grand Dame is apparent everywhere you look. Enjoy the tropical gardens, manicured lawns and polished teak verandas that separate the accommodation wings from the main structure. Relax into Raffles Singapore’s long-established traditions like their famous afternoon tea. Enjoy a cocktail at the Writers Bar while you listen to nearby conversations. Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling were amongst those who enjoyed this quiet corner.

The Writers Bar is a literary bar where you can follow in the footsteps of famous writers. Raffles Singapore Photo

Raffles Hotel Singapore has undergone two major renovations in the past 30 years. The multi-million-dollar refurb took place during a 2-year closure. It reopened in July 2019 after the latest refurbishment. The 115-room hotel is up-to-date and relevant, with its butler service. This investment and effort is designed to preserve what makes Raffles so special. The hotel’s ambiance and charm make for a luxurious and unforgettable stay.

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Raffles Hotel, Singapore: Famous names

Raffles Singapore is a place where many celebrities have enjoyed its charms over the past 135 years. Raffles began as a Bungalow Style 10-room building that overlooked the beachfront of Singapore. Somerset Maughan and Joseph Conrad were among the distinguished writers who lived there in its early years. In the early years, Raffles was a 10-room bungalow style building overlooking the then-Singapore beachfront. Somerset Maughan, Joseph Conrad, and Rudyard Kipling all spent time there.

The Elizabeth Taylor Personality Suite. Photo by Raffles Singapore

David Bowie, Cliff Richard and other British musicians stayed in the 80s, but King of Pop Michael Jackson created quite a buzz in 1993. Fans gathered in front of the Hotel for the duration. Nelson Mandella of South Africa, Goerge W. Buch and Bill Clinton from the United States have all visited as Heads Of State. In 2006, HRH Queen Elizabeth II stayed in the Raffles President Suite. Their Royal Highnesses William & Kate, Duke and Duchess, visited Singapore & Raffles in 2012.

Sleep with a Legend

In a nod to the renowned guests that have visited Raffles in the past century, 12 personality suites were created as part of the latest refurbishment. Each suite features unique memorabilia that is related to its legendary nameake. It’s possible to spend time with Ava Gardener or Elizabeth Taylor or Charlie Chaplin or literary giants such as Maughan, Conrad or Michener or French novelists Andre Malraux. Like all Raffles Suites, these are generously sized (624 – 850 sqft).

The Rudyard Kipling suite was a wonderful place to stay. It had polished teakwood flooring, colonial architecture, antiques and large marble bathrooms. A spacious anteroom, with a lounge set and table, provided a relaxing alternative reading or relaxation zone. The bedroom was larger than most hotel rooms, with a crisp linen-covered four post king bed and overhead ceiling fan. There were also plenty of closets, desks, and wardrobes. Two identical iPad-style tablet devices controlled all the technology in my bedroom, including lighting, air conditioning, ceiling fans, 55-inch TVs, other entertainment and a button to call my butler.

Raffles Suites spacious bedrooms. This is a 2-bed configuration. Raffles Singapore Photo

The bathroom is awash in light, with a marble floor, his and hers vanity units, a roll top bathtub and a rain shower. Ormonde Jayne, the niche London perfume company, created exclusive bathroom amenities for Raffles Singapore. The slippers and bathrobe in the room were among the most comfortable that I’ve ever experienced.

Wow Food Indulgence

Raffles is known for its cuisine. The Grand Lobby’s afternoon tea with champagne is a must. The Tiffin Room is a North Indian Restaurant that has been a part of Raffles’ since 1892. Open for both lunch and dinner. The menu is filled with vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. I loved the Dal Makhani organic black lentil with tomato, onion and Indian spices, as well as Macher Jahol barramundi cooked with Indian spices, ginger and onions.

The Tiffin Room, with its North Indian cuisine. Raffles Singapore Photo

Since the beginning, Raffles has had a Bar & Billiard Room. The billard tables are gone and the restaurant has been transformed into Osteria BBR, by Alain Ducasse, a French Master chef. Open Wednesday through Sunday for both lunch and dinner. Drop in for an aperitivo, pizza, or something more elaborate like Chef’s Tentazioni or Temptation menu.

Chef Jordan Keao’s offer at the Butcher’s Block was especially impressive. He shows off his skill in cooking over wood fire. The multi-course Tour De Force, and the wine pairings offered by the resident sommelier were both a success. La Dame de Pic, another restaurant in the hotel, is overseen by Michelin starred chef Anne Sophie Pic. It excels at fine dining.

The open kitchen and casual atmosphere of Osteria BBR is a great way to enjoy this stylish restaurant. Raffles Singapore Photo

Enjoy Libations that Tell a Story

Raffles Long Bar has long been a place where travelers from Singapore have met to share stories and warm colors with Malayan plantation décor and punkah-wallah ceiling fans. In 1915 however, the etiquette of women not being allowed to drink alcohol in public led bartender Ngiam Tong Boon to create a cocktail that looked like a punch because of its pink color. The Singapore Sling is a classic cocktail that you must try when visiting Raffles.

Raffles Long Bar, with its Malayan Plantation ambiance. Raffles Singapore Photo

Raffles Hotel, Singapore: Spa Extravaganza

Raffles Spa, located in Raffles Arcade and away from the hotel buildings, is open for hotel guests as well as the local community. Appointments are required. Raffles Spa has a serene and elegant ambiance, accented with harmonious shades of slate and subtle golden tones. The tranquil environment features seven treatment rooms, as well as hydrothermal facilities such a steam bath, sauna, ice fountain and heated pool. Relax with a variety of treatments, including bespoke Raffles Spa Journeys that are inspired by wellness philosophies in Asia, massages and customized facial treatments.

Raffles Spa offers hydrothermal treatments in a tranquil and elegant setting. Raffles Singapore Photo

Raffles to Take Home

Raffles Boutique, located within the Raffles arcade, is a retail concept which embraces heritage and luxury. Shoppers are able to browse everything Raffles. This includes gourmet products, tea selections and Singapore Sling Jam, as well as home decor. Maybe you would like to take home some super-comfy Turkish-style bedroom slippers or monogrammed bathrobes? This expansive shop has a history section with excellent books and products that tell the Raffles and Singapore stories. You might need a full-size taxidermied Tiger for your office or home. Raffles Boutique has it all.

Raffles Boutique is a retail concept that embraces luxury and heritage. Photo by Raffles Singapore

Singapore Attractions Are Right Outside Your Door

Raffles’s position in the Civic District makes it easy to explore Singapore . The Raffles Plaza Shopping Mall is adjacent to an MRT station. You can also walk down St Andrews Road towards the river and be at some of Singapore’s historical sites.

Raffles, a luxury brand of the international hotel group Accor based in France, is part of this company. Raffles Singapore is a flagship hotel of the select group of Raffles Hotels worldwide.

Raffles Singapore, as noted by Somerset Maugham, is a hotel that embodies all the fables and legends of the exotic East. This is a must-see for visitors to the island state. Raffles Hotel Singapore truly is the Essence Of Luxury. You can find more luxury hotels and trips to Asia by consulting Wander With Wonder.