189673 Travel Guide
When we wrote about high tea at Raffles Singapore a few weeks ago, we had no idea that the hotel was preparing to receive royalty! Apparently, while we were lusting over finger sandwiches and French champagne, the ritzy hotel was getting their best room ready for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge who arrived yesterday. The two are in Singapore for a few days as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour through Asia, celebrating Queen Elizabeth's 50-year reign. And, it just so happens the Queen also stayed at the Raffles during a March 2006 visit to the country.
If we were to wager some Singapore Slings (though we've read Kate isn't drinking these days), we'd say the couple will stay in the Grand Hotel Suite, which we've written about before and have lovely pictures for you to lust over.
High Tea has become one of the best litmus tests of how a hotel can impress its guests. Singapore's Raffles Hotel is no different. The entire hotel, a vintage colonial building surrounded by gardens and lush tropical plants, is one of the must-see attractions for visitors. Not only is it the original property of the hotel chain, it is a landmark building for the city.
Lots of planning needs to go into partaking in this tea service. No, we're not talking about which hat to wear or whether the finger sandwiches have crusts or not. Although very important, these thoughts can't happen until you make a booking for high tea. And The Tiffin Room at The Raffles takes reservations no more than three weeks before you want to partake in the pomp and circumstance. Fortunately, we planned ahead for our own tea time. Here's how it went:
Singapore Hotels / Historical Hotels / Raffles Hotels / Photo Gallery / Hotel Architecture / Raffles Hotel Singapore Series / → All Tags
If you want to talk about hotels with storied pasts, the Raffles Hotel Singapore simply can't be left out. Today, its 103 suites (yes, all suites) command over $500 per night and those who can't afford to splurge for a stay still find their way to the hotel's famous Long Bar for a Singapore Sling. Raffles is just one of those places you must hit, and it's been that way since the early 1900s.
All this week we'll be taking you inside the Raffles, beyond the keyed "residents only" entrance gates and into the inner sanctum enjoyed by everyone from Ava Gardner and Charlie Chaplin to modern heads of state. And there will be opium beds.
First, to get our bearings, a look at the Victorian architecture that so clearly identifies the place as the Raffles. All of the hotel suites are located in a period wing, complete with original paintings (as a result, no rooms have the same decorations) and even the newer wingshousing the upscale shopshave been constructed to seamlessly blend with the iconic white structure of the original building.
Interviews / Hotel History / Leslie Danker / Singapore Hotels / No Doubt / Gwen Stefani / Celebrity Scoop / → All Tags
Back in October, we received an email saying that Gwen Stefani and the boys of No Doubt had recently popped into the Raffles Hotel Singapore during the F1 Grand Prix. Celeb sightings in hotels, while very much appreciated, aren't always newsworthy. But this one was a little different.
The band had been performing at the inaugural F1 Rocks Singapore with LG concert and took time out to pose for a pic at the hotel with the resident historian, Leslie Danker. Yes, the hotel has a resident historian who we imagined was in charge of taking photo ops with all the celebs that roll through. What a gig! We had to know more.
So we pressed to do a Q&A over email with Mr. Danker and it turns out being a resident historian is much more than saying "Cheese."
Not sure what the gift is for a 122nd anniversary? Neither are we, but the grand old dame that is the Raffles Hotel in Singapore has decided that for her 122nd anniversary, she's giving us guests a few bonuses instead.
Every deal is linked to the magic number, 122, and they run from now through to September 16. Usually $122 wouldn't get you much at the Raffles, but during the anniversary celebrations it can get you a lobster plus a glass of wine at the Raffles Courtyard restaurant, or a full three-course meal with a wine at the Long Bar Steakhouse – or a better deal, perhaps, lunch for two with two glasses of champagne. There's also a $122 spa promotion at the Raffles Amrita Spa and some bonuses in the gift shop.
So far, so good, but here's where it gets complicated (we think the marketing gang at the Raffles have too much time on their hands). Because the Raffles opened up in 1887 (yep, 122 years ago), you can get a further bonus if you have the digits "1887" in your passport or identity card. The bonus is that if you spend more than $122 at any Raffles restaurant, you can get $122 credit for a return visit. We're not exactly rushing off to check our passport for those magic digits but we hope at least a couple of guests figure out how to make use of this overly-complicated deal.
[Photo: Eustaquio Santimano]
The Raffles that started it all turned 120-years-old yesterday.
The Raffles Singapore is hands-down the best luxury hotel in town. Sure the decor, according to some reviewers, may be a little dated but there's so much history incorporated into this sprawling hotel along with attentive service, spacious rooms, good views and a crazy amount of dining options.
The 103 suite, three storey hotel stands on the site of the original 10 bedroom bungalow that opened as a hotel in 1887, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the British founder of Singapore. It was restored in 1989-1991, retaining its distinctive colonial flavour as one of Singapore's few remaining historic buildings. It has counted royalty, heads of state, authors and film stars among its guests....Many a tourist has cooled off in the Long Bar with a Singapore Sling, the cocktail invented there in 1915.
Another tourist trap at the hotel is the Bar & Billards room where Singapore's last tiger was shot and killed there in 1902. Which actually might be the hotel's only problem. Since there is so much history here, it's a must-see for tourists whether they stay here or not. So that might be a turn-off when booking. That and the $600 rack rate.