Opened in 1887, Raffles Hotel Singapore stands as one of the 19th century’s last iconic hotels. The landmark pioneered historic innovations: it was the first property to introduce private butlers, powered ceiling fans and the pink-hued Singapore Sling cocktail. And the hotel hasn’t lost any of its luster over the years — it underwent a meticulous restoration in 2019 — and proved it’s still one of the best in the world when it recently won a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award.
To celebrate the legendary hotel’s achievement, Indonesia-based photographer and luxury travel influencer Christina Tan, who goes by the handle @SassyChris1 on Instagram, gave us a photo tour of its most Instagrammable spaces, from its classic colonial exterior to its new suites.
“I am officially in love with Raffles Hotel Singapore with its striking architecture and graceful service — you feel like you’re somewhere very special in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Singapore,” Tan says.
“The experience began the moment I arrived, when I was greeted by one of the iconic doormen in true Raffles style: wearing the distinctive white Gieves and Hawkes uniform and a big, genuine smile of welcome.”
“The lobby is in the heart of the hotel and showcases grandeur with floor-to-ceiling Victorian pillars and a magnificent chandelier,” she says. The hotel’s afternoon tea takes place in the lobby, which was known for hosting lavish parties.
“The Raffles Hotel Singapore afternoon tea is truly one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had,” Tan says. “Stepping into the grand lobby of the hotel, it seems as though I have been transported back in time. There was a beautiful lady playing the harp, which set the mood. Along with brut rosé champagne and tea, the classic sandwiches and the sweets tasted divine. What an elegant way to spend an afternoon in Singapore.”
“The popular Palm Court Suites, part of the original building in a special wing, overlook the tropical garden in Palm Court, a hidden gem at reserved exclusively for guests,” Tan says of the all-suite hotel. “Each of these superb suites is an oasis of peace and serenity. Enjoy breakfast on the polished teak verandah.”
While Tan thought the luxurious suite’s bed and toiletries were top-notch, her favorite in-room amenity was the efficient butlers. “They took good care of me and made me feel like a VIP.”
“I was stoked to have my facial at Raffles Spa’s Gem Suite, which has two massage beds, a bathroom, a vitality pool, a Jacuzzi, a sauna and even its own entrance,” she says.
“Raffles Spa exclusively uses Biologique Recherche products. The therapist suggested I have the P50 Visage facial for pigmentation and combination skin. My skin showed a healthy glow immediately.”
Tan returned to the Gem Suite, which is popular with groups, the next morning for restorative sound healing therapy. “I truly enjoyed it and had 50 solid minutes of deep relaxation. I woke up fresh and ready to challenge the day.”
“It’s Friday night in Singapore and you don’t know where to go?” she says. “Well, in my opinion, OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse is the place to be. It is modern, energetic, vibrant and lively, a restaurant where you can have drinks with your friends or go for a nice dinner with your partner.”
“I had the ultimate OSTERIA BBR experience, indulging in Tentazioni, a set menu of the restaurant’s signature dishes. I particularly loved the tagliolini with zucchini and Kristal caviar as well as the Black Angus beef tenderloin main course. The meal closed with the baba [a cake] drizzled with limoncello.”
“Having tried the La Dame de Pic in London, I was curious about La Dame de Pic, Raffles Singapore, chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s first restaurant in Asia,” Tan says. “She is one of the world’s top chefs. La Dame de Pic is the cherry on top of Raffles Singapore, an unforgettable gastronomy experience.”
“I was in awe of this beautiful restaurant shaded in pink and purple,” says Tan, who sat down to a 14-course meal. “It was an evening full of delights, including the ‘berlingots,’ small pyramid-shaped pasta parcels filled with French cheese fondue. I loved the pigeon from Bresse, and the desserts were too hard to resist.”
Tan also was impressed with the wine. “Justin Wee, the sommelier, was very knowledgeable and the wine pairings were perfection.”
“Easily the most famous hotel in Singapore, Raffles Hotel Singapore epitomizes the island’s colonial history like no other,” she says. The first hotel in the Raffles chain was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore’s founder.
“I was thrilled to finally stay in this heritage icon, to experience what it was like to live in the golden age of elegant refinement.”
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