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24 January 2012 / leggypeggy

Some glimpses of the famous Raffles Hotel

The main Raffles building, opened in 1902.

Raffles Hotel in Singapore is probably the most famous hotel in the world.

It’s where the Singapore Sling was invented in the early 1900s. It’s had plenty of famous guests, too, such as Ernest Hemingway and Somerset Maugham. And it is supposedly where the last tiger in Singapore was shot in 1902. He’d escaped from a nearby enclosure and was found cowering under the Bar and Billiard Room. Not a sporting shot, I’d say.

Opened in 1887 by the four Armenian Sarkies brothers, the hotel was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, who founded Singapore. It started as a 10-room, colonial bungalow on the seaside. All these years later it has been expanded several times. It is still in the same location, but after considerable land reclamation, it now sits 500 metres from the shore. In a refurbishment project in the early 1990s, all rooms were converted to luxury suites, featuring teak floors, handmade carpets and 14-foot ceilings.

The first time I went to Singapore, in 1984, we could freely wander into Raffles’ lobby, restaurants and bars. But that’s all changed. A sign on the front verandah says ‘Residents only’, and they mean it. There are a couple of doormen who make sure you don’t try to slip through. We were well-behaved, so went down the side verandah to get a glimpse of the Bar and Billiard Room. Couldn’t get into the courtyard.

Travelling companions, Lin and Norm, were determined to have a drink in the Long Bar, which is in the hotel’s shopping arcade. They got gussied up (there’s a dress code) and headed out late one afternoon for a pre-dinner drink. After spending something like $63 on the outing, they reckoned it was a worthwhile, but once-in-a-wallet experience.

Also don’t forget to pick a number before 29 February 2012.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Lin Stockley / Jan 24 2012 6:26 pm

    Yes, we practically had to remortgage to buy a Singapore Sling and a pint, but at least the nuts are free!


    • leggypeggy / Jan 24 2012 6:34 pm

      How could I forget the shell-shocked looks on your faces! 🙂


  2. Louise M Oliver / Feb 6 2012 4:02 pm

    Very swish indeed! It would be interesting, if not heart stopping, to find out how much a couple of nights in these luxurious suites would cost. I probably won’t be staying there but a woman can dream!


    • leggypeggy / Feb 6 2012 9:54 pm

      It’s probably not quite as bad as you were expecting. My online investigations show that a suite starts at less than $800 a night—around $775. I can’t determine whether breakfast is included, but there’s a surcharge for using the internet.
      We stayed at a hostel on the edge of the centre of the city and got brekkie (Aussie slang for breakfast) and free internet.


  3. Brian Lageose / Aug 3 2016 9:55 am

    Another one for my burgeoning bucket list, assuming somebody wealthy adopts me… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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