One of the world’s most famous hotels, Raffles Singapore is a splendid mix of history and modernity. Dating back to 1887, the all-suite hotel is a monumental example of colonial architecture – palm-fringed lawns, timeless arches, tranquil corridors and an imposing white façade. But a full renovation, completed in late 2019, means it’s just as contemporary at heart. A dazzling chandelier dripping with 8000 crystals dominates the lobby, iPads control everything in the suites (from lights and TV to room service) and onsite restaurants are temples to cutting-edge cuisine, best seen in the Asian-French fusion at La Dame de Pic.
When it was first built, Raffles was a beachfront property – hence the address (1 Beach Road). But Singapore’s relentless land reclamation means the hotel is now in the heart of the city – about four minutes’ drive to both Marina Bay Sands and Orchard Road, 12 minutes to Gardens by the Bay, 15 minutes to Sentosa Island and 20 minutes to Changi Airport.
There are no rooms at Raffles – just suites, with even the smallest ones featuring four-metre-high ceilings, separate sitting areas and lavish ensuites with twin sinks and deep freestanding baths. For the best aspect, ask for one of the Palm Court Suites that overlook the serene landscaped lawns, reserved only for hotel guests. Or, if the budget allows, book one of the Personality Suites, named after the famous people who’ve stayed there – from Somerset Maugham and Charlie Chaplin to Elizabeth Taylor and Rudyard Kipling. The in-room technology is surprising easy to use, with personal butlers are on call 24/7.
Food and drink
There are nine food and beverage outlets on site, from the sophisticated confines of the Butcher’s Block steakhouse (pictured above) to the open-air bar Raffles Courtyard. Our favourite dining experiences are: exquisite Indian at Tiffin Room, lip-smacking Mediterranean at BBR by Alain Ducasse (please do yourself a favour and order the tiny artichoke pizza for entrée) and the timelessly elegant afternoon tea served in the hotel’s lobby, complete with a live harpist. Writers Bar – a nod to the great authors who’ve stayed at the hotel – is located off the lobby and is an excellent spot for a pre- or post-meal cocktail.
For business travellers
The hotel offers 2500 square metres of event spaces with a talented team of planners that can organise all sorts of gatherings – from indoor meetings and seminars to large-scale soirées outdoors (or in the air-conditioned sunlit indoor foyers, if the humidity is unbearable).
For wellness travellers
There’s a gorgeous outdoor pool and a spacious gym, plus an excellent spa offering facials, massages and body treatments. For the ultimate indulgence, sign up for the two-hour-long Sumatra Healing Ceremonies package, which combines body exfoliation and Indonesian massage to melt away your knots.
The fab factor
Most suites have sitting areas just outside the main door – a wonderful spot to hunker down with a glass of wine and soak up the timeless grandeur or the building, its stately corridors and peaceful courtyards.
Best for: Luxury travellers
Number of suites: 115
From: From $895 per night
Wi-fi: Free and fast; paid premium option available
Parking: Valet parking; $60 per night
Address: 1 Beach Road, Singapore
Telephone: +65 6337 1886