My 5: Raffles Hotel, Singapore.

Raffles Hotel Singapore

1. May 2015. Visitors to Singapore should set aside an hour or so for a wander around one of the world’s most impressive colonial-style hotels. Located on Beach Road, you simply can’t miss Raffles, a colossal whiter-than-white structure that simply oozes the weight of its own history. The hotel was opened in 1887 by the Armenian businessmen The Sarkie Brothers under the motto “Patronized by nobility, loved by all”. It was named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.

2. May 2015. Raffles takes immense pride in keeping the spirit of colonial Asia alive and well. You can see it in the authentic wooden furniture and fancy silverware, some of which dates right back to its opening heyday. And Raffles still employs a dedicated team of Sikh doormen, the first to greet guests on arrival. In addition to carrying luggage, helping with check in and showing guests to their rooms, these tireless Raffles ambassadors are also available for advice on what to see and do in the city. This photo is of Narajan Sing, who’s been at Raffles for over twenty-five years!

3. May 2015. I’d read somewhere that non-guests who enter the lobby from the main door are rapidly hunted down and politely asked to re-enter via a discreet side door! All part of the colonial elitist charm I suppose! Luckily for me I was left alone as I sauntered in, had a look around and grabbed the shot I needed. Feeling confident, I even dared to drop myself into a comfy leather armchair for a bit to watch the beautiful people come and go.

4. May 2015. Many people come to Raffles just to seek out The Long Bar for a Singapore Sling. In fact, the cocktail was reportedly invented here by legendary Raffles bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Just grab a chair, sit back and imagine the likes of Rudyard Kipling, Michael Jackson, Karl Lagerfeld and George Bush kicking back here over drinks and nibbles. The adjoining Billiards Room meanwhile has a colorful backstory, including the infamous day when an escaped tiger ran through the grounds before seeking refuge under the billiards table. Having unwittingly backed itself into an inescapable corner, the beast had to be shot five times before it finally died.

5. May 2015. If the weather permits, and it usually does in Singapore, why not grab breakfast, lunch or dinner at the hotel’s courtyard restaurant and patio bar. The menu specializes in mainly Italian fare, while you can watch your cocktail being shaken at the gazebo bar.

Like this? Then why not check out more My 5s from around Singapore.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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