Inside the newly-reopened Raffles Singapore hotel

Singapore's iconic luxury hotel opens its doors after an extensive two-year restoration.

By David Flynn, August 1 2019

That most iconic and elegant of Singapore’s luxury hotels, Raffles, is once again welcoming guests after an extensive two-year restoration to bring the historic property back to the grandeur of its golden days.

Everything about the Raffles Singapore experience transports guests back to the 19th century, except of course for the modern touches you’d expect from this flagship Accor hotel.

The meticulous restoration of Raffles Singapore retains the hotel’s ambience, charm and heritage, harking back to its opening in 1887, when it was named for Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles.

Those were, however the humblest of beginnings: a ten-room hotel in an old bungalow at the corner of Beach and Bras Basah Roads.

It wasn’t until 1899 that the highly-recognisable main building – a masterpiece of elegant white-clad neo‑Renaissance architecture – was opened, featuring Singapore's first electric lights and fans, plus a French chef whose exotic culinary creations helped the hotel become a drawcard for travellers and Singapore residents alike.

That magnetic pull hasn’t waned. The cricket stumps of the Marina Bay Sands may arguably be more recognisable, and certainly have overtaken the Merlion statue as the island-nation’s postcard hero, but Raffles remains the original definition of luxury, elegance and class.

Each of the hotel’s 115 suites are framed by polished teak verandahs and white marble colonnades, clustered around lush tropical gardens, with Raffles butlers on hand to provide an unforgettable experience.

While the restoration saw all suites fitted with new amenities and technology, they maintain a sense of space and colonial ambience framed by the original 4-metre ceilings, lofty double-glazed windows and smile-inducing nods to the past, such as mechanical light switches.

The ensuite bathrooms have been redesigned with beautiful Victorian details and Peranakan tiles in homage to Singapore’s rich culture.

Restaurants collaborations at Raffles Singapore include Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin star Maison Pic in Valence, France; French Master Chef Alain Ducasse; and Chef Jereme Leung, known for his innovative Chinese cooking.

Of course, Raffles wouldn’t be Raffles without the Long Bar, where the Singapore Sling was born in 1915, or the option to indulge in high tea.

“There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located,” remarks Christian Westbeld, General Manager of Raffles Singapore, “and none more so than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.”

"One of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world, its restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm.”

David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 279

Always an amazing atmosphere to enjoy a Sling, and a great reason to fly via Singapore.

iM

iM

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 49

Just checked out the rates. OUCH.......

johninoz

johninoz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 28

Need to start saving I guess. This is one place I would love to stay, even for just one night, to savour the experience.

iM

iM

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 49

Yep, agree...

Ourmanin

Ourmanin

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 61

Yes, it's not cheap. Mrs Ourmanin suggested that we stay there for a weekend as they are doing "opening rates" a quick review of the rates suggested that rather than deprive myself of a kidney to stay, we would make do with afternoon tea and a visit to the Long Bar instead. No denying that it's great news for Singapore that its' reopened.

John C

John C

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

08 Aug 2014

Total posts 39

Call me old-fashioned - or just old - but I've seen three iterations of this hotel. When I first saw Raffles in the early 1990s it was just before a makeover and the place frankly needed it: the stuccoed exterior walls were streaked with the marks of damp and mould and humidity that afflict so many older buildings in Southeast Asia and the tropics generally, but at the same time it was moody and atmospheric and charming. You could imagine that Somerset Maugham or Rudyard Kipling or Joseph Conrad might appear around a veranda corner. The subsequent makeover made the place look a bit plastic and antiseptic: it could have been a luxury hotel anywhere in Hawaii or Florida.

The latest redo has kept some classic features of Singapore style such as the always-smart contrast of dark timbers with white, and the Peranakan-style tiles. And hopefully you can still chuck your peanut shells on the floor of the Long Bar. Some things, hopefully, will never change.


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