Unveil the curtains! Raffles Hotel Singapore makes a grand reprise after a two-year restoration
On February 2017, Raffles Hotel Singapore, the iconic colonial landmark was temporarily placed into hiatus mode. For two years, there was no tapping of shoes by the lobby, no sound of thrilled guests strolling by the Arcade, just the meticulous whirr of construction its much-beloved halls. At the strike of August 2019, Raffles Singapore awakens anew, and now its doors fling wide open to welcome a season of new beginnings.
The three-phased facelift was worth the wait. There’s the glowing look from the fresh paint dabbed on its exterior. Inside, the atmosphere feels impeccably refined—interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud brilliantly marries old and new with plush furniture that blends with the contrasting light-and-dark palette. Further inside the lobby is its breath-taking staircase, refreshed with a broody dark brown colour atop its 1990s renovation. The veranda follows through the same treatment; lead designer Jon Kastl infuses a contemporary style to the classic British Colonial theme. Furnishings are generously bespoke, where wood and fabrics are paired along with other elements—stone, metal and glass—to add another layer of texture to the overall look.
Indian dining The Tiffin Room receives a makeover, too. The 1892 restaurant brings back its former glory with wooden floorboards in herringbone pattern, as well as fresh new furniture in natural palettes. The Jubilee Ballroom is now the designated space for Raffles Singapore’s main events. Like a dining hall to the royals, the area is gifted with newly upholstered wall panels and a glorious rendition of Venetian chandeliers, handpicked by the hotel’s lighting consultant Tino Kwan.
Atop the hotel is its crowning glory: a sapphire-dappled pool area that showcases the grand view of towering skyscrapers under Singapore’s blue sky. With a classic white-to-neutral motif, the pool space is updated to match the modern tastes of the hotel’s lounge. The Raffles Arcade, a beloved destination of refined shopaholics, features new brands in its promenade, as well as five new Residence Suites. Two more suite categories complete the renovation, Promenade and Studio, which ramps up the existing room number from 103 to 115. This only means one thing: more guests to delight.
If there’s anything to look forward to other than its spectacular aesthetics, it’s the Raffles Afternoon Tea, a jovial celebration of luxurious pastries set on chic ceramic plates following the hotel’s beloved tradition. Just like before, the mid-afternoon snacking stars three-tier silver stands for its scrumptious scones, finger sandwiches, and rose petal jam bites as arranged by Executive Pastry Chef Tai Chien Lin. Watch out for the limited-edition pastries from the rolling trolley. A sip of the tea completes the whole experience, with flavours selected by Mariage Frères poured into quaint white cups, inviting one to relax in the sweet, relaxing scent of desserts.
The walls are refreshed, the conviviality stays ever the same. Raffles Hotel Singapore comes back renewed and eager to please, which is just in time for the bicentennial anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore. And where else should it be splendidly celebrated but here? www.rafflessingapore.com ◼
© This article was first published online in August 2019 – World Travel Magazine.