Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hoter exterior
Written by Aksel Ritenis
Raffles Hoter exteriorRaffles Hotel epitomizes enchanting experiences, embodying global sophistication and residential charm. Each is exclusive, intimate with a distinctive sense of place, imbued with heartfelt service that is intuitive and unobtrusive “like a gentle breeze”. Creating sensory journeys and captivating discoveries, Raffles is where guests arrive as residents, leave as friends and return as family.

Today, the Raffles name spans across the globe from exotic destinations to vibrant cities. Rated as among the best in the world, its hotels and resorts are often described as one of a kind and not one in a line and are elevated as legends and landmarks, beyond mere hotels and resorts.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a leading global hotel company with 91 hotels and resorts worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands. The Company also manages Fairmont and Raffles branded Residences, Estates and luxury private residence club properties.

Raffles Hotel Folklore tells that this spectacular native of Madagascar drew in thankful travellers of old; water stored in the base of its leaves quenched their thirst, and the orientation of the leaves in an East -West direction provided an informal compass to guide them home.

Today’s global travellers find a more refined form of sustenance on their journey by following this icon to Raffles hotels and resorts, where each employee wears a Traveller’s Palm-design pin. It is an assurance that they have indeed found their way Home.

Raffles Hotel is a colonial-style hotel in Singapore, dating from 1887, and named after Singapore’s founder Sir Stamford Raffles. Managed by Raffles International, it is known for its luxurious accommodation and superb restaurants. The hotel houses a tropical garden courtyard, museum and Victorian-style theatre.

The hotel was founded by the four Armenian Sarkies Brothers (Martin, Tigran, Aviet, and Arshak Sarkies). They opened the 10-room colonial bungalow at Beach Road and Bras Basah Road owned by an Arab trader and philantrophist Syed Mohamed Alsagoff on 1 December 1887. Alsagoff developed the site of his late father’s estate until it became the most modern building in Singapore at the time. Sarkies was a tenant on favourable short-term lease. The original location was by the seaside, although continued reclamation means that the site is presently some 500 metres away from the shore

Raffles Hotel BuffetThe Raffles Hotel as seen from Beach Road surrounded by lush greeneryUpon the start of the Japanese occupation of Singapore on 15 February 1942, it is commonly said that the Japanese soldiers encountered the guests of the Raffles Hotel dancing one final waltz

.In 1989, the hotel closed for an extensive renovation, at a cost of S$160 million

The renovation was carried out by Ssangyong Engineering and Construction, a South Korean construction firm acclaimed for its overseas projects.

It re-opened on 16 September 1991, after being restored to its state during its heyday in 1915. The hotel has built an extension with a similar design, for a shopping arcade and new rooms.

Interior view of Raffles HotelIn announcing the 18 July 2005 sale of parent company Raffles Holdings, Colony Capital LLC chief executive Thomas J. Barrack said in part as the purchaser, “We deeply respect the historical significance of the Raffles Hotel Singapore and we consider it our responsibility to protect that legacy”.

On 16 September 2007, the hotel celebrated its 120th anniversary with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who turned 84 on the same day

Raffles Hotel foodThe hotel also houses the Raffles Hotel Museum, which showcases the rich history of the hotel. Notability

Raffles Hotel is reputedly where the sole surviving wild tiger in Singapore was shot and made extinct. Some stories place this event in the Long Bar. Raffles itself claims the tiger had escaped from enclosure at a nearby “native show” and chased underneath the hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room (a raised structure) and shot to death there on August 13, 1902.

Raffles is where the Singapore Sling was invented. The cocktail was invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon between 1910 and 1915.

Raffles is the setting for Murakami Ryu’s novel and film titled, Raffles Hotel. The film was shot on location.

The site of the hotel was originally the location of the oldest girls’ school in Singapore (1842), now called St. Margaret’s. It was founded by Maria (Tarn) Dyer, the missionary wife of Samuel Dyer.

The hotel featured in episodes of the BBC’s Tenko.

Long Bar is featured in Peace Arch Entertainment’s “UberGuide” television travel series as one of the top ten bars in the world.


ADDRESS: 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
+65 6337 1886
: By train: City Hall station

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Leave a Comment