This restored hotel epitomises the romance of the Far East – an intoxicating blend of luxury, history and colonial design
The writer in us is admittedly in a little awe of this place. After all, Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling are among those who have succumbed to the charms of Raffles. Situated in the heart of the business and civic district, surrounded by modern skyscrapers, this National Monument perfectly preserves its classic colonial architecture, providing a stark contrast against its neighbours.
Enter the main building of the hotel and the magnificence of the lobby, seemingly unaltered from the turn of the century, takes our breath away. White marble colonnades, also found throughout the hotel, encircle an atrium that soars four floors up. During the day, sunlight pours through illuminating polished teak verandahs that lead to 103 suites. The main building is occupied by the Presidential and grand hotel suites, while the remaining suites face adjacent courtyards each with their own period furnishings, 14-foot ceilings and modern conveniences.
There’s something about a beautifully restored property that can make the most jaded of hearts sing. Over four hundred pieces of existing furniture have been restored and reused throughout the Hotel. These items bear identifying brass crests, signifying their involvement as part of Raffles Hotel's past. The Bar and Billiard Room is decidedly masculine, as it was in the early 1900s, with tile and hardwood floors and period furnishing.
The interiors are a hark back to the heyday of the 1900s with its polished teak verandahs overlooking tropical gardens to suites; each with a small elegant parlour, period furnishings, a bedroom leading to a dressing room and ensuite bathroom. If it’s a trip down the memory lane that you are looking for, then you are on the right track.
Done up in true colonial style, the Courtyard suite has louvered windows that open from the bedroom into the sitting area.
The Palm Court suite is done up in warm hues and furnished with classical furniture.
The large, colonial dining room in the Sir Stamford Raffles Presidential Suite is defined by the saloon style, teak swing doors, which is a feature typical of colonial architecture.
The Presidential Suite in true colonial style comes replete with a chandelier and heavy drapes.