189673 Travel Guide
It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Looking for a little intellectual stimulation to go with your cocktail buzz? The mixology pros at Raffles Singapore’s iconic Long Bar have put together a Timeline Cocktail Menu that covers significant time periods and events in the hotel’s history. Here’s a sampling of just a few.
Tiffing – “Tiffing” comes from an old English word meaning “taking a little sip” and over time came to mean a light mid-day meal. Hence came Sunday tiffin curry, which was an essential aspect of colonial life. Tiffin curry has been served at Raffles since 1899 and now you can take a little sip of it as well; the cocktail consists of Tequila, Aperol, Angostura bitters, lemongrass, curry, Monin Gomme, and fresh grapefruit juice. Bite into that.
The Stray Tiger – This cocktail marks the rumor that a tiger was shot under the billiard table in the hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room in 1902. The truth (if you want to hear it) is that the tiger was shot under the actual Bar & Billiard building but—hey—close enough. The Stray Tiger is a layered cocktail with white rum, Cointreau, vermouth, fresh lime juice, absinthe (hallucination-causing wormwood was big in those days) and lemongrass foam.
More bevvies below!
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It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local" bar. So all this week, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our first-ever Hotel Cocktail Week. All this week, we'll be posting specialty drinks, booze trends, mixology tips and most importantly, drinks recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. Everyone will be getting tipsy this week! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Raffles Singapore, the place where the famed Singapore Sling was created, has launched a cocktail menu designed to take you around the world while you still remain seated and sipping in their Long Bar, god bless ‘em.
Resident mixologist, Randolph Velasco, has come up with eight spiritus drinks inspired by a Raffles hotel destination, so come join us as we embark on our virtual journey through time and space. First stop? Seychelles.
The Seychelles conjures images of an island paradise with deep blue skies, sultry breezes and emerald seas. No surprise, then, that the Raffles Seychelles cocktail is an emerald green beauty created by combining Smirnoff Vodka with melon-flavored Midori and tangy Apple Sourz, then topped off with apple juice. Garnished with slices of star fruit and a lemon wedge, this is a sipper meant to be sipped in a rattan chair with one of those tropical ceiling fans swooshing slowly overhead.
Next, we go to Raffles Cambodia –- specifically, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Using the Kingdom’s national fruit, the five finger banana (who knew?), this golden concoction consists of rum, banana and pineapple juice, but it’s the finishing touch of zesty kaffir and fresh, green pandan leaves (a herbaceous tropical plant) that gives this drink its aromatic and mysterious character.
The Raffles Philippines takes you to the newly-opened Raffles Makati in the heart of Manila’s financial district. A mix of Bacardi rum, juicy mango and pineapple are enhanced by a mere suggestion of basil and the tart, citrus flavor of calamansi, a wee fruit that bears a resemblance to a lime but is about the size of a kumquat. Calamansi is supposed to have some health benefits, so drink up.
Raffles Istanbul anticipates the opening of Raffles Istanbul Zorlu Center in late 2013 (no date as of yet) with a cocktail that evokes the complex flavors of Turkish coffee. Rich Kahlua is layered with potent Pisco, fresh lime juice and anise to create a boozy drink not quite appropriate for the morning but it does kinda taste like coffee, so we’ll leave it up to you. (Recipe below!)
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:
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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.
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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.