Raffles has become Singapore's most famous landmark, an emblem of style and luxury that is now a designated National Monument. Some wag said, ‘I don’t visit Singapore and stay at Raffles I visit Raffles and might see Singapore’.
It really is a visitor magnet – some just take photographs of the dazzling white colonial facade and its famous 6'6'' Sikh doorman. Some visit the exclusive Raffles shopping arcade, maybe dine in one of the 15 bars and restaurants or at least sample a genuine Singapore Sling in The Long Bar.
During my short stay I never made it onto the Singapore streets; admittedly I've previously done the usual touristy things but Raffles has an internal life of its own.
The all-suite accommodation is spectacular and I've never felt so at home in a hotel before. My large front door, off a wide wooden balcony (with comfortable chairs and table), leads into a large parlour with dining table, armchairs and hidden TV. Off this was a vast main room with an antique desk, king sized bed, more armchairs and all the usual facilities. Further on there’s a large dressing room with double sinks and finally a separate bathroom and shower room.
Personal butlers are standard and regularly enquire if guests need anything. Reading a newspaper on the balcony I had my mind read – my lady butler appeared with trays of tea and coffee just as I was thinking, 'humm, I fancy a nice cup of ….' – pure genius! She simply said, ‘you looked like you might enjoy a drink?’
The hotel covers an entire city block and 25% of which are natural greenery. Outside my rooms were towering Livingstonia palms, fragrant frangipani trees, innumerable flowers and an immaculate lawn.
Breakfast, lunchtime curry (tiffin) and afternoon tea are unmissable events in the regal elegance in the Tiffin room. I never found the time or made the effort to use the rooftop swimming pool, theatre, spa or the gym.
Everything about Raffles Singapore is a one-off and no visitor to the city should dream of missing it off their itinerary, regardless of whether its for an iconic drink, an elegant meal, a luxurious stay or a simple photographic memento.