My attention was first drawn to the Raffles Hotel when I watched the splendid BBC television drama Tenko between 1981 -1984 which showed the awful experiences of British, Australian and Dutch women who were captured after the Fall of Singapore in February 1942, after the Japanese invasion. After liberation the survivors were sent to Raffles in Singapore.
Easily the most famous hotel in Singapore, no other establishment epitomises the island’s colonial history better than Raffles Hotel.
Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is undoubtedly one of the great iconic hotels of the world, named after Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. Not surprisingly, Raffles Hotel was declared a National Monument by the Singaporean government in 1987. Raffles was recently closed for two years for a major renovation and refurbishment, reopening in 2019.
No visit to Singapore is complete without a trip to Raffles & its famous Long Bar, the birthplace of the Singapore Sling invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. It’s a must-have drink for anyone visiting Singapore.
The Singapore Sling is a gin cocktail which also includes pineapple, grenadine, lime juice, benedictine and for the “pretty pink hue” cherry brandy and Cointreau. Simply delicious!
When my wife and I arrived we had to wait outside for a couple of mintes before being taken inside because we were more than happy to sit on a couple of bar stools at the bar. The Long Bar was very popular popular with visitors enjoying this fruity concoction, eating peanuts & throwing the shells onto the floor. I noticed one of the bartenders shaking up several `slings` at the same time.
There was a large green machine sitting on the bar which can apparently do the same job when a large order arrives but is not used very often as the bar tenders preferring to shake up their own cocktails.
I simply loved the large ceiling fans gently stroking the air across the room.
It was a comfortable room in which to enjoy my very first Singapore Sling.
After enjoying our drinks we made our way to the front of the main Hotel where we were greeted by one of the smart Sikh doormen outside who kindly posed for some photographs. We were then taken into the central lobby of the Hotel which has recently been refurbished with a huge glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling and fresh white walls on all sides. The interior was simply stunning.
As we were sat at our table the waitress described the wide ranging choice of teas and we placed our order. When the silver cake stand arrived she described each of the sandwiches and cakes in some detail. Our afternoon tea was enjoyed whilst listening to a live harpist providing some beautiful background music.
Raffles is not just a Hotel, there are several bars, restaurants and shops dotted around the beautiful grounds and covered walkways. I was initially surprised to find that Raffles is situated right in the heart of the city with busy lanes of traffic running close by, but these factors do not in any way distract from the splendour and traditions of Raffles.
I simply loved the Raffles experience and am already looking forward to revisiting at some time in the future and perhaps staying at the Hotel for a whole new experience.
Raffles Singapore Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673