Raffles Hotel

 lobby former tiffin room - missing imageToday's lobby was the legendary Tiffin Room. Tiffin is an Anglo-Indian word for a light lunch, predominantly curries, of course. Raffles today serves Tiffins at its restaurant, there is a world of food and beverage outlets for you to discover. A stay at this legendary hotel is a must. It was here that The Most Famous Hotels in the World were founded in 1986, Raffles became the  first member.

image
Arriving at Raffles in 1926; Malcolm McDonald collection

HISTORY IN BRIEF:
image
In 1987/88, while researching the history of the hotel for his book THE RAFFLES TREASURY, Andreas Augustin found the original drawings of Raffles Hotel (above). This plan shows the first drawings of two proposed wings to the original Dare bungalow in 1889. We also find that the landowner of the property during this time was Singapore-Arabic trader Syed Mohamed bin Ahmed Al Sagoff.
With the discovery of the original drawings, for the first time in 100 years, the way was paved to declare Raffles a National Monument in 1987.

With its restoration and re-opening in 1991, Raffles Hotel today stands as a jewel in the crown of Singapore's hospitality industry, renowned and loved for it's inimitable style and unsurpassed excellence in service and facilities.
In multi-cultural Singapore, it is not surprising that the visionary founders of Raffles Hotel were a quartet of enterprising Armenian brothers; Martin, Tigran, Aviet and Arshak Sarkies.

Raffles Hotel opened in 1887 in a rather somber-looking old bungalow known as Beach House. It was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore. Topical suits and solar topi were as much a part of Raffles Hotel's early style as bentwood tables and rattan chairs. Over the years, the hotel has evolved into one of the world’s most beloved Grande Hotels and welcomed innumerable celebrities, writers, and royalty.

HISTORY IN DETAIL: Singapore is named after a legendary prince. The story goes, that His Royal Highness, Nila Utama, landed on the island between 700 and 1.300 AD. Shortly after his arrival he saw an animal. Under the impression that this beast was a lion he called the place Singa Pura (Singa Pura = Lion City). This legend seems to be floored by a less romantic theory: Singgah means stopover and Pura stands for city. 1819, February 6th: Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles signed the treaty with the new Sultan of Johore to establish a trading post in Singapore for the British East India Company. His free trading policy attracts entrepreneurial talent from all over Asia. Within months the establishment of Singapore proved to be a real success. Thousands of Chinese, Babas (Straits Chinese from Malacca or Penang), Indians, Malays or European, fascinated by the prospect of free trade, moved to the newly established port. By June, the island had a population of more than 5.000. 1822: Raffles installed a committee that drew the basic plans for a controlled development of Singapore. 1823: Great Britain put Singapore under control of the govenor-general of India and appointed a new resident, John Crawfurd. Raffles himself, who felt his failing health, left Singapore. He died one year later in England at the age of 45. 1826: Singapore merged with the British colonies Penang and Malacca to form the Straits Settlements.
1850s: At least 300 people a year were gobbled up by tigers. The fovernment allowed free shooting and offered rewards from $50 to $ 250 for every tiger. Thirty years earlier William Farquhar had to offer ten dollars for every rat killed.
1867: Together with the island of Penang and the city-state of Malacca in Malaya, Singapore became a full British colony under the name Straits Settlements. administered from London.
1869 The Suez Canal opened and shipping traffic to Singapore increased significantly. The total turnover in the colony rose from L 58 million to L 90 million between 1868 and 1873.
image
The Sarkies brothers: Tigran, Arshak, Martin and Aviet (from left)

1886: The Armenian Sarkies brothers took over the manison of Captain George Julius Dare in Singapore´s prestigious "Twenty - House Street" (Beach Road). The property, facing the harbour, belonged to the Arabian trader Syed Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Sagoff.
1887: The Sarkies transformed the house, which operated as a Tiffin Room, into a small hostelry and opened with 20 rooms only under the name Raffles Hotel on December 1st. 1899: The elegant Raffles Hotel main-building with a total of 102 rooms was created. It was the only hotel in the Straits Settlements lighted with electricity and cooled by electric fans! The Sarkies brothers managed the hotel under a lease from Syed Mohamed Alsagoff. 1902: A tiger was sot under the billiard room annex at Raffles Hotel. The new wing of the hotel facing Bras Basah Road was completed.

image
1910: The Palm Court was extended to its present size. Raffles receives it large ballroom.
1911: The population of Singapore passed 250.000 combining 48 races speaking 54 languages. 1915: Barman Ngiam Tong Boon created the Singapore Sling, a fine concoction, made of Gin and seven other things. 1917: Tigran Sarkies retired. The same year, the Russian revolution sent talented musicians across the steppes and tundras of Siberia. They came through Shanghai to South East Asia. Some of them eventually played at Raffles. They struck new and definitley not Russian tunes in the largest ballroom of the East: JAZZ!
1923: The Sarkies bought Singapore's Sea View Hotel (demolished in the 1960s). Aviet Sarkies died. 1926: Jazz musician, Joe Speelman, introduced a new "movement" to Singapore. Some people called it dancing and it was first performed at Raffles: Charleston.
1929-1931: The Malayan rubber slump combined with the world´s great depression made hotel operations difficult. At the same time, Arshak Sarkies embarked on extravagant renovations.

1931: Arshak died at the E&O Hotel in Penang. His partner, M.S. Arathoon, faced bankruptcy and the Sarkies hotels including Raffles, went into receivership.

1933: A new public company, Raffles Hotel Ltd., was incorporated. Swiss Teddy Troller became the first professional Manager at Raffles. 1934: Raffles major rival the Grand Hotel de l´Europe, closed. Raffles now became the unimpeachable number one in the colony. After further renovations the hotel had 120 rooms.

1937: Singapore´s Kallang Airport opened as one of the most modern airports in the world. In the same year the march of the "Rising Sun" continued. After capturing Manchuria six years earlier, Japan invaded China.

1938: Singapore appeared well protected with new installed heavy artillery, new airfields and stron anti aircraft defences. The colony was called "Gibraltar of the East". The defence was mainly orientated towards the sea in the south.

1941: The pride of the Navy, the Prince of Wales and the Repulse, anchored at the piers of Singapore. The Lion City was - in the mind of her inhabitants - invincible. Despite this, a silent evacuation of women and children started in view of the Japanese marching down the Malayan peninsula. Ships brought troops from Australia and New Zealand and took back women and children. 1941, December 8th: Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. At the same time they launched their first air raids on Singapore. December 10th: Shocking news reached the colony: the battles ships Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk off the shore of Malaysia by Japanese torpedo bombers.
1942, February 8th: British colonials made a last stand at Raffles. "There will always be an England" echoed through the hotel and dancing continued until the small hours. Raffles staff buried the precious hotel silver including the famous silver beef trolley in the Palm Court. At the same time Japanese troops invaded Singapore from the north using collapsing boats.
1942, February 13th: The Govenor, Sir Shenton Thomas, ordered the destruction of all stocks of liquors on the island. The "Hong Kong experience" had shown that Japanese are much more gentle without alcohol.

1942-1945: After Singapore´s unconditional surrender, her clocks were synchronized to match Tokyo time for three ling years. This period brought the horror of war to Singapore. Many were killed, others were intered at Changi prison or sent north to erect the "death railway" from Thailand to Burma. The Japanese renamed Singapore "Syonan". Raffles Hotel became Syonan Ryokan, the Light of the South Hotel. It was appointed as a quarter for senior Japanes officers. During the occupation the main entrance was moved from the corner of Beach Road/Bras Basah Road to an other corner, facing the sunrise in the east.

1945, August 21st: The Japanese surrendered to allied forces and formally returned the island to Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten a week later. According to our research one Japanese officer committed suicide (hara-kiri) in one of the rooms in the Bras Basah complex, leaving a note that the staff is not to blame for his death. On 4 September the Japanese vacated the hotel. Now the hotel silver was unearthed and M.S. Arathoon reopened Raffles, which became the temporary transit camp for released prisoners-of-war under the interim British Military Administration.

1950: Air-conditioning was installed at Raffles.
1952: Indonesian-Dutch Frans Schutzman became Raffles´Manager.
1953: In celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the hotels´s Elizabethan Grill was opened. The Palm Court, where Somerset Maugham used to sit and work every day.
1963: Singapore merged with Malaya, Sabah and Srawak to form the Federation of Malaysia. 1965: Singapore severed itself from the federation and became a sovereign, independent and democratic nation in its own right, immediately accepted as the 117th member of the United Nations.
1970: The swimming pool was constructed in the Palm Court.
1972: Roberto Pregarz took over as Manager from Briton Charles Dorkins.
1970s: Singapore developed enormously. It became the financial and trading centre of South East Asia. At the end of this decade, the per capita Gross National Product reached 10.800 Singapore dollars, second in Asia only to Japan. 1987: The research for this book lead to the startling discovery of the original drawings of the Raffles Hotel.
1988: Raffles faced S$ 50 million renovations. Being a "Historical Landmark", protected by the Singapore Monument Preservation Board, the hotel returned to its former grandeur. With the aid of modern techniques folowing the unique and old fashioned style of Lady Raffles, she is turned into a luxurious jewel once again. Due to these renovations, Raffles became once again - the most fascinating hotel east of Suez.
In June 1988, Noel Barber´s "Tanamera" was filmed at Raffles. Julie Soong and her lover John Dexter had one of their forbidden rendezvous. Over 50 extras where acting, and through the Palm Court echoed once again "There will always be an England!"
1989: Raffles closed for renovation.
1991: Raffles reopens, a deluxe hotel with en-suite shopping arcades, theatre, museum, spa, etc.

Raffles has regained its role as the official hotel of Singapore, hosting heads of states and Royalty.

The Noble Price winners Rudyard Kipling Kipling (‚Jungle Books‘) arrived in the first year of our Grand Old Lady’s history. His records led eventually to one of the most famous ‚Raffles quotes‘: „Providence,“ wrote the 23-year old, „conducted me along a beach in full view of five miles of shipping - five solid miles of masts and funnels - to a place called Raffles Hotel, where the food is excellent and the rooms are bad. Let the traveller take note. Feed at Raffles and sleep at the Hotel de ? l’Europe.“ This remark was not necessarily the best advertisement the hotel could ask for. So Tigran Sarkies, who managed Raffles at this time, quoted Kipling cleverly in a very condensed version: „Feed at Raffles where the food is excellent!“ Hermann Hesse at the Grand Marble Dining Saloon (in an impression by Peter Baldinger) Hermann Hesse Hermann Hesse (‚Glassbead‘, ‚The Steppenwolf‘) came to Singapore in 1911 and stayed twelve nights at Raffles. He confided to his diary, „We stay expensively but very well at Raffles Hotel. The food is as bad as everywhere.“ Hesse recorded his stay „at this large and noisy hotel“ in every detail in his book ‚Journey to the East‘. William Golding This Nobel Prize winner (‚Lord of the Flies‘) visited Raffles in 1988. „I am a storyteller!“ he declared in his modest style. When the attending journalists started their friendly barrage of questions, he noted, „People always expect me to have the answers when all I have are the questions.“

Somerset Maugham „Raffles stands for all the fables of the exotic East!“, remarked Maugham in the hotel’s imaginary album. "May we use this for our PR campaignes, Mr Maugham?" Franz Schutzmann, Raffles Manager at this time, asked the fabled writer. "Of course, you may old chap!" Maugham replied and ever since this saying can be found whereever the logo Raffles appears. Maugham felt in love with the Grand Old Lady when he arrived for the first time in March 1921. He used to sit under the Frangipani tree in the left hand corner of the Palmcourt. There he worked every morning until lunch. Here and in Suite 78 (today the spacious Somerset Maugham Suite) he corrected the galleys of his short story collection ‚The Trembling of a Leaf‘. He also worked on a play called ‚East of Suez‘ at Raffles. When he returned to the hotel in 1925, he was writing some stories for ‚The Casuarina Tree‘, a rare compilation of indiscretions which helped multiply the anger against him that already escalated in the colonies. Everybody had the impression that he just walked around collecting local scandals in order to publish them. True, he wrote about the society’s gossip. He denounced people in his stories, as some would have it. But he stressed several times the characters he wrote about were peculiar and outstanding in a way. And Raffles supplied him with rich pickings. Over thirty years later, in 1959, Maugham returned to Singapore. Raffles and her patrons bade him a gushing welcome. Nobody was angry any more, everything seemed to be forgotten. But Maugham quickly supplied new material to annoy the expatriate community. Franz Schutzmann invited Maugham one day to the prestigious Tanglin Club. There he got his share of the writers biting directness, „Observing these people I am no longer surprised that we have such a scarcity of domestic servants back home in England“, Maugham remarked. Much to the dismay of the embarrassed Schutzmann who lost his membership at the club while Maugham was never invited again. Ho Wee How, Barcaptain at Raffles „Writers Bar" before her renovations and then Maugham´s room boy, thinks back: „He wore only a pair of shorts when he had his breakfast every morning in the garden. Then he worked. He once asked me if I had read any of his books and I explained to him that I couldn´t read.“ Ho, who since acquired this ability, admits that he still has not read a Maugham book. „I liked him very much!“ remembers former porter Pasu J. Pathy. „He was very nice to us all. Other guests always asked him to autograph his books. So, in order to organize the whole thing a little bit, I brought him a pile of books once a day. He loved to sit in the big cane chair where he signed them. And one day, he even signed one of his photographs for me!“ Noel Barber Barber , who was the first Englishman to set foot on the South Pole, loved Raffles. Four months before he died he attended the Chinese New Year’s celebrations at Raffles in 1988. He discussed the locations for the Australian-British TV production ‚Tanamera‘ over a Gin Sling at the Writers Bar. Raymond Flower The ‚Somerset Maugham of Non-Fiction‘, as some may have it, used to stay at Raffles whenever his feet touch Singapore’s ground. The range of books he has written spans from ‚Chianti, The People & The Wine‘, ‚The Palace, A Profile of St. Moritz‘, ‚The Old Ship, A Prospect of Brighton‘ over many more titles to his local best-seller ‚Raffles, The Story of Singapore‘, a beautiful coffee-table book. Flower was invited by former Manager Cavaliere Roberto Pregarz to bake the Grand Old Lady´s 100th birthday cake. The tasteful result is published under the name „Meet you at Raffles“ Noel Coward The great British playwright, novelist and actor arrived at Raffles in 1929 in the company of Lord Jeffrey Amhearst. Actor John Mills, who was touring with an English theatre company, recalls the day he met the living legend, „I had been travelling around the world doing some rather beautiful comedy. The night Noel arrived in Singapore we happened to play ‚Journey‘s End’. He told me that it was his favourite play and he’d always longed to play Stanhope, so he asked our manager if he could play the part of Stanhope with the company. Well of course the manager had a fit, and we all fainted. We were thrilled to death. And so to cut a long story short, he learnt the part, which is about as long as Hamlet, in three days, and went with us one Thursday night.“ Coward gave a marvellous performance at the Victoria Theatre. Afterwards the company celebrated at Raffles´Dining Room. It was a night full of joie de vivre. Coward realized that not everybody enjoyed the evening as much as they did: „Some of the more refined social lights of Singapore looked obliquely at us as though we were not quite the thing. A little rowdy perhaps on the common side. I am sure they were right.“ James Michener In the eighties the management at Raffles decided to name a suite after James Michener (‚The Drifters‘). When the writer received the key to ‚his‘ suite, No. 114, he commented, „I think this is very prophetic. I have lived in the apartment above this room for a long time.“ Michener has been one of Raffles regular guests since 1949. Wolfgang Bauer The Austrian playwright (‚Magic Afternoon‘) all of a sudden decided to travel to Singapore. The same day he was on a flight. A fellow traveller told him about ‚Raffles‘ where he spent three days without leaving the hotel before he took the next plane back to Austria. On his way to the Airport he felt that he should see at least something of Singapore and asked the taxi driver to take him to Mount Faber. This must be the time when the famous phrase was coined: ‚While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?‘ Bauer came back two years later, this time in the company of a TV-team. They filmed a portrait of the artist at Raffles. Richard Gordon Dr. Gordon, the author of the famous ‚Doctor‘ fiction series, loved to play his witty jokes on Raffles’ staff. One day in 1977 he came to the front desk to ask the receptionist whether Mr. Somerset Maugham was still staying with them. The kind receptionist immediately checked the guest-list, enquired carefully as to the date Mr. Maugham should have checked in, and eventually suggested to page him. Helmuth M. Backhaus Backhaus came to Raffles in 1987. The German writer (‚Totentanz‘) loved to sit in the Writers Bar, where he savoured the fine taste of Bollinger every evening , Raffles house-champagne. Dennis Bloodworth He celebrated the new edition of his ‚An Eye for the Dragon‘ with his charming wife Judy at Raffles Writers. Leopold de Coutere This febrile poet and businessman has lieved at Raffles since 1983. He is, as far as we know, also the only licensed arms dealer who ever was recognized at Raffles as a permanent staying guest. His particular predilection is to find young ladies whose name contains fourteen letters - so that he can compose sonnets to or for them which spell their name in the initial letters of each line (Why don’t you have a look at page XX?). Kelly Chopard This local authoress of exclusive magazine articles about jade or other precious antiques suddenly came up with a children’s book. ‚The Tiger‘s Tale’ describes a new point of view on the famous ‚tiger-under-the-billiard-table‘ story. Isa Sharp Briton Ilsa Sharp was the first to compile a complete history of Raffles in 1981. After years of research her extensive book was published under the title ‚There is only one Raffles‘. Russell Foreman The Australian writer, author of the million copy best-seller ‚The Long Pig‘, stayed at Raffles in 1987 and 1988 on invitation of Cavaliere Pregarz. This exceptional nice gentleman with his home in Chianti finished his latest novel ‚221 Raffles‘ at the hotel. The thrilling story plays at Raffles and was launched in 1989. Elizabeth Taylor When this Hollywood star arrived in the company of her husband Mike Todd, Raffles housed the most exciting boutique in town. This ‚temple‘ of fashion belonged to Mrs. Doris Geddes, the reputed high priestess of the latest craze in Singapore at that time. The shop, however, was a logical haunt for Taylor. She bought an elaborate evening gown for a dinner given in her honour at Raffles. The dress was perhaps a little bit too clingy and fell apart at the seams right in the middle of the dinner. The next day Liz Taylor screamed at Doris Geddes for the shoddy quality of the dress. „You should not have insisted on this dress,“ a listener heard Geddes giving back, „it was too small for you, I told you.“ William Holden When actor William Holden stayed at Raffles he spent quite some money on souvenirs. He enjoyed the ten inch Raffles house-cigars „Romeo and Juliet“ so much that he ordered twelve boxes of them. Bjorn Borg and Ah Meng Two famous names for Singaporeans. Borg, the tennis star, and Ah Meng, the Orang Utan from the zoo. They met on a sunny morning at Raffles Palm Court and shared breakfast. „She is a darling. When she put her arm around my shoulder I thought it was somebody else. Imagine my shock when I saw those long hairy fingers ...!“ Borg laughed afterwards. Charlie Chaplin Children surrounded the rickshaw which carried Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Godard from the harbour to Raffles Hotel in 1936. While he received a standing ovation from the normally torpid rickshaw men, he stepped down from his carriage and enjoyed Raffles’ cooling ceiling fans as well as the refreshing taste of a chilled drink. Baron Empain The Belgian banker who founded the satellite city of Heliopolis outside Cairo, arrived at Raffles from his private yacht. When he came for lunch his entourage were all dressed in sailorsuits. Doctor Serge Voronoff Russian Doctor Voronoffry, discoverer of the famed monkey-gland rejuvenation process, once checked in at Raffles with a beautiful, young blonde. This caused quite a stir, for the girl was young enough to be his daughter and he was thought to be well past middle age. She turned out to be his wife. An Impressive proof of his product’s effectiveness. Douglas Fairbanks During a dinner in 1938, movie star Douglas Fairbanks bet a New Zealander that he could not hurdle every table in the ballroom without tipping over a single wine glass. The New Zealander accepted the challenge and succeeded admirably, ending his run dramatically in the midst of the band. Haille Selassie The only quadruped ever allowed in the elegant Elizabethan Grill was the dog of Haille Selassie. The „Lion of Juda“ had a rather unlikely pet - a small Pekinese. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia Great man never change their habits, no matter where they are. Everybody who is used to large rooms already finds paradise at Raffles. But sometimes, even her generous suites are not large enough. Hence, in preparation for King Faisal’s arrival at Raffles, his Royal retainers insisted on knocking down the walls of several rooms to form four suites. Ginger Rogers The reputable „Queen of the Dance Floor“ stopped by at Raffles for a press conference. One of the local staff members asked in ignorance, „Who is this lady?“ Somebody explained to him that Mrs. Rogers starred with Fred Astaire in many movies. The waiter enquired, „With Frankenstein?“ David Bowie David Bowie came to Raffles to produce a video for his record ‚Tonight‘ at the Palmcourt. Kermit Imagine the surprise of Raffles’ receptionists when a green face suddenly popped up at the counter to ask for a table at the Palm Court. Kermit the Frog felt that this would be the best place for a press conference. Once again, this charming green superstar stole the limelight and few noticed his companion and ‚father‘ Jim Henson.

Peter van Stein Callenfels Dutch archaeologist, Professor Callenfels, became one of Raffles’ most regular and legendary guests. His weight was in the region of 150 kilos. He drank bottles of gin - once three for breakfast alone - and consumed beers by the dozen. It was an offence to serve him less than four bottles at the same time. The feat that Callenfels will always be remembered for must definitely be the time when he ate every dish on the hotels’ menu, and then proceeded to do it all over again, only backwards. A Selection of Raffles´Patrons President B.H. Sheares Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Prime Minister James Callaghan H.E. Pandit Nehru of India Lord Mountbatten of Burma Robert Kennedy of USA H.M. Haille Selassie of Ethiopia H.E. Duff Copper of UK President Saragat of Italy Prime Minister Sato of Japan H.E. Kang Kyang Wook of North Korea H.E. Adam Malik of Indonesia H.E. Walter Scheel of West Germany Prime Minister Fanfani of Italy H.E. Mirko Tepaval of Yugoslavia H.E. Kiichi Aichi of Japan Prime Minister Fraser of Australia Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada H.R.H. Princess Soraya H.E. Singh of India H.E. D.S. Thomson of New Zealand H.E. Dr. Bruno Kreisky of Austria H.E. Milton Obote of Uganda H.E. G.P. Schultz of USA Elizabeth Gillet, Lady Mayoress of London H.E. Gaetano Stammati of Italy President Zia of Bangladesh H.R.H. Princess Sonja of Norway Dr. Henry Kissinger of USA H.E. Dr. McGuigan of Canada H.E. Mr. John Patrick Hillery of Ireland Prince Rainier of Monte Carlo H.E. Valerie Giscard D‚Estaing Mrs Alice Vestergaard of Denmark H.R.H. Sultan Ismail Petra, Kelantan Dato David Marshall Foreign Minister Wu Xie Hing of China, Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge ( William and Kate, 2012), Queen Elisabeth II and Duke of Edinborough Prince Philip (2006), RAFFLES´FAMOUS ARTISTS Writers Helmuth M. Backhaus Noel Barber Wolfgang Bauer Dennis Bloodworth Leslie Charteries Kelly Chopard Joseph Conrad Leopold de Coutere Robert Elegant Raymond Flower Russell Foreman William Golding Richard Gordon Günter Grass Arthur Hailey Hermann Hesse Maxime Hong Kingston Rudyard Kipling Bodo Kirchhoff Marilyn & Wayne Levy Andre Malreaux Somerset Maugham James A. Michener Werner Schneyder Pierre Schoendorfer Ilsa Sharp Harold Stephens Walter Vogl Gavin Young More stars Ah Meng Giulano Balestra Harry Belafonte Ingrid Bergman Bernardo Bertolucci Peter Bogdanovich Daniel Boorstin Björn Borg David Bowie Bruce Boxleitner Marlon Brando Frank Buck Richard Burton Claudia Cardinale Richard Chamberlain Charlie Chaplin Francis Chichester Johnny Costello Xavier Cugat Douglas Fairbanks Milos Foreman Morten Frost Anna Galina Ava Gardner Ben Gazzara Peter Graves Bernhard Hailstone Rolf Harris Ted Heath Jim Henson Alfred Hitchcock William Holden Trevor Howard Grace Kelly Kermit the Frog Abbe Lane Jack Lord Hayley Mills Derek Nimmo Mary Pickford Alberto Pomersi Otto Preminger Ginger Rogers Edmund de Rothschild Linda Scott Jean Simmons Elizabeth Taylor Mike Todd John Wayne Orson Wells Billy de Williams William Wyler

Hotel-Leslie-DankerRaffles has its own in-house historian, former front office manager Leslie Danker has taken on the role of a walking storyteller, who takes guests on inspiring house tours.

 YOU SHOULD KNOW, THAT ...

* Beach Road, where Raffles is located, was known as Twenty House Street in the early days of Singapore.
* Raffles had a panoramic seaview until 1889. Land reclamation finally robbed her of her place beside the shore. Today she is about 500 meters away from the water.
* when reopened on 18th November 1899, after extensive expansion, Raffles had the largest dining room in the East with 700 square metres. Part of it makes up today´s Tiffin Room.
* after this renovation Raffles was the first hotel in the Straits Settlements to have electricity. Her own generator was capable of illuminating 800 bulbs and also operated the ceilling fans in all public rooms.
* in an editorial in 1905, the london Spere described Raffles as "The Savoy of the East".
* Raffles´famous Longbar had its first barmaid in 1900. She was Austrian born Ethel Berta Nissen.
* Raffles was the first to have her own telegraph office, a post office and telephones in every guest-room.
image* a Japanese guide book published in 1926 decribed Raffles as "famous for her steaks and icecream".
* no Asians, or even Eurasians, for that matter, were allowed as guests at Raffles until the 1930s
* in the hundred years of Raffles´history, there has been but one British manager in one of the most British populated hotels in the world. Charles Dorkins was Manager at the hotel for two years in the 1970s. All other managers of the hotel have been Armenian, Swiss, German, Italian and most recently Asian.
* few guests realize that the present Billiard Room still houses one of the four original billiard tables and a scoreboard bought for the very first Billiard Hall of Raffles.
* in the middle of Raffles´Palm Court stood during the 1980s a lonely stairway. Nobody quite knows the reason for it, or where its stairs may lead, and althought that remains a mystery, the origin of the staircase is clear. It was saved from the demolished Jubilee Theatre, which once stood behind Raffles.

Plants in the Palm Court
The Palm Court always was a source of inspiration for many, including the likes of Somerset Maugham, who would sit every morning under the shade of the Frangipani to write. The luxuriant growth of plants and trees helped create an atmosphere not dissimilar to an imaginary paradise. Varieties of orchids command an outstanding position in the garden, their delicate beauty belying the true resilience of the flower. The Travellers Palm seemed particularly appropriate in this South East Asian region, especially at Raffles. Bougainvillaea: The flowers of this popular Singapore plant come in orange, pink, red and white. Frangipani: This tree has wonderfully fragrant flowers and is prominent throughout the Palm Court. The Mussaenda Dona Luz is mentioned by André Malreaux in one of his books.

Guido Cevenini (assisted by Nino and Ernest Smith)
Franz Schutzmann (1952)
Charles Dorkins
Roberto Pregarz (1967-15.3.1989)
Jennie Chua (1991-2003)
Javier Rosenberg (2004-04 2005)
Robert Rogen
Pierre Jochem (–2013)

Rooms
103 Suites
Tiffin Room, Writers Bar, Raffles Grill, Bar and Billard room, Long Bar, Pool Bar
24h Health Club, 24h outdoor swimming pool
Google Map

Our Select Member Hotel

Raffles Hotel
Country: Singapore
City: Singapore
Opening date: 1887

Note from the Host

General Manager Christian Westbeld: welcome to the most legendary hotel of Singapore, which "stands for all the fables of the Exotic East".

Coordinates

1 Beach Road
189673 Singapore, Singapore

Tel: +65 6337 1886
Fax: +65 6339 7650

Google Map

Book a Room

Click on the link below to start your trip (no booking fees)!