Opened by the Sarkies brothers in 1887, this former home of a British sea captain was visited by such writers as Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham in its heyday, the 1920s and ‘30s. Over the years it has experienced many ups and downs, especially during World War II, when it was first used for British refugees, then as quarters for Japanese officers, and finally a center for released Allied POWs. The hotel deteriorated after the war, surviving by trading on its heritage rather than its facilities. However, in late 1991 Raffles reopened as the republic's most expensive hotel and is now a glistening showpiece, especially from the outside; inside, antique furniture blends with modern conveniences. The lobby is divided into two areas: one exclusively for in-house guests and the other for the constant flow of curious tourists. Suites have high ceilings, overhead fans, and '20s-style furnishings.
Feb 19, 2014
Rather recently (Valentine's Day and Singapore AirShow weekend, 2014), celebrated a SIN "staycation" with the loved one at one of our Singapore icons. [Will confess, the primary reason for this particular weekend break from our Singapore residence owed to my work commitments concerning the aforementioned SIN AirShow: for the past few years, our Valentine's tradition was riverside, beloved Bangkok, at either the Mandarin Oriental or Peninsula.
So, in ongoing endeavours in maintaining that domestic harmony, Raffles it was - and thankfully, no complaints; in fact, sheer comfort and joy.] Check-in, late-afternoon Valentine's, could not have been more seamless, personal - and wonderfully nostalgic. (As a youth, had the privilege of staying at Raffles on a few occasions with my parents and siblings; special times with special family.) Our chosen and delightfully quiet lodging - a particular "Personality Suite" - was no surprise, as had weeks earlier requested and been given tours of various overnight options. My weekend days were spent attending to various SIN AirShow commitments, while the loved one attended to Raffles' various athletic exertions and spa treatments - and thankfully, modest shopping. Valentine's Day dining was delightful at Raffles Grill. For us, a perfect Valentine's experience, as we have dined at the Grill often enough for business and leisure to know "our" special table. Particularly festive that evening. Personal check-out for our arduous journey back to, well, our Singapore residence. (And thanks, fine Raffles staff and friends, for the late check-out.) Love Raffles; in her own unique historical way, a touch similar to another property I (we) have treasured over the years, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. (And time will tell with another relatively new Bangkok property we so appreciate, The Siam and her staff/friends - and her Chon Thai restaurant.) Savour your Singapore times at a special hotel I have cherished from childhood.