14 August 2019 by Tim Tan
After being closed for restoration for over two years, the iconic Raffles Hotel has reopened. Find out more about its iconic heritage and spectacular renovation below.
Raffles was established in 1887 and named after Singapore's founder, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who's also the point of celebration for Singapore's 2019 bicentennial, celebrating the 200th anniversary of his arrival in Singapore. Now, the extensive refurbishment has brought fresh life to this grand dame. The restaurants are a case in point, including collaborations with Alain Ducasse and Ann-Sophie Pic, of the three-Michelin-star Maison Pic in Valence, France. The rooms, too, are now all suites, with white marble bathrooms and polished teak verandahs joined by the likes of Apple iPads. Conscientiously, the new facelift has also made it possible for day visitors to enjoy the public areas, including the likes of the Long Bar, without disturbing the privacy of the guests.
View down the stairs of the lobby
That’s not to say, however, that the Raffles has lost touch with its 19th-century roots. Pilasters are capped with Corinthian capitals, the eucalyptus floorboards give a trademark squeak and, in the Long Bar, guests can still enjoy a Singapore Sling where it was invented, along with the timeless tradition of tossing peanut shells on the floor.
The rooftop pool
The drive through the tropical gardens is even gravel not tarmac, harking back to the days of the horse and carriage. At the end, you’ll be greeted by the gentle baritone of a towering Sikh doorman, his turban joined by a full regalia of epaulettes and braided cords. It’s the same welcome enjoyed by the likes of Rudyard Kipling and the Queen herself. Raffles really is deserving of its national monument status.