LIVING HISTORY AT RAFFLES HOTEL
Raffles Hotel is more than a legendary institution on the island. Named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of the state of Singapore in 1819 and designed by architect Regent Alfred John Bidwell, the hotel opened to the public in 1887. It was oriinally part of the Sarkies brothers' hotel empire, which included the Eastern and Oriental in Penang and the Majapahit in Surabaya. Famous guests, when it opened, included Joseph Conrad in 1888 and Rudyard Kipling who is famously quoted as saying, "when in Singapore, feed at Raffles." Today the lobby's 'Writers' Bar' and the 12 author-suites pay homage to these intellectuals. In 1921 Somerset Maugham stayed at the hotel and he returned in 1926 and 1959, always staying in Suite 12, where on of his original letters is on display.
Over the years, the hotel caught the public's imagination for more than its legendary hospitality. Not many current guests are aware that a tiger was once shot at the hotel. In 1902 the animal escaped from a nearby circus and next-door neighbour and hunter Charles McGoven was called to avoid a potential drama. It was late at night and he had reportedly had quite a few drinks that night so it took him a few shots before he actually hit the animal under what is now the Bar & Billiard Room. Another claim to fame is the invention of the iconic cocktail, the Singapore Sling, which was created by barman Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. Made with gin, Peter Heering, Cointreau, grenadine, angostura bitters, pineapple & lime juice, this sweet concoction was first invented to allow women to drink alcohol without arousing the suspicion of disapproving eyes. These days, a thousand Singapore Slings are said to be sold every day at the hotel. Over the years, the hotel has hosted a long line of celebrities and VIP guests. Michael Jackson, Jackie Chan, William & Kate, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Buck, Jean Harlow, John Wayne and even the Queen of England - all have enjoyed Raffles hospitality. Today, you can join their ranks by treating yourself to a stay in one of the 103 colonial-style suites, including the unique Courtyard or Palm Suites and even the Presidential Suite.
Raffles also boasts a luxury spa with a long list of tempting signature treatments, including body massages and therapies, body scrubs and wraps and facial treatments, to enjoy after a few laps in the beautifully secluded rooftop pool.
Once you've worked up an appetite, enjoy an exquisite Indian buffet feast at the Tiffin Room. Other dining highlights include the Long Bar Steakhouse for meat lovers and the Raffles Grill for unique French-inspired delicacies by talented young Chef Michael Le Calvez. The Halia, located in the hotel's grounds, is another dining highlight, especially for those who appreciate communal dining. The signature crabmeat spaghetti and oven-baked halibut are definitely dishes to try here, as is the amazing Javanese spiced lamb rump and the stunning desserts - I recommend the beautiful ginger nougat parfait and delicious milk chocolate cloud. And if your stay happens to take place over the weekend, treat yourself to the city's most amazing brunch at the Bar and Billiard room.
Last but not least, don't forget to enjoy a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar or under the stars in the Courtyard, adding your own chapter to the hotel's long history.
#1 Beach Road
Tel. No.: 6337 1886
Labels: hotel review, lifestyle and travel, luxury hotels in Singapore, Raffles Hotel, Raffles Singapore, Singapore Travel