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Raffles Hotel Singapore

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Raffles HotelRaffles Hotel
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authorshipOndřej Žváček

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Raffles Hotel Singapore (GPS: 1.29497, 103.85433) is one of the most famous hotels in the Orient. It is bounded by Bras Basah Road, Beach Road and North Bridge Road. Raffles Hotel has only 103 guest rooms, all of which in the form of suites. There are 18 Raffles Inc. State-room Suites, 66 Courtyard and Palm Court Suites, 12 Personality Suites, 5 Grand Hotel Suites and 2 Presidential Suites.

During the turn of the 20th Century, the Raffles Hotel Singapore is the epitome of elegance, and the watering hole for celebrities such as Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Noel Coward, and Ava Gardner, to name a few.

The Raffles Hotel Singapore was opened on 1 December 1887 by four Armenian brothers, Martin, Tigran, Aviet and Arshak Sarkies, collectively known as the Sarkies brothers. This was a follow up to their first hotel, the Eastern (which eventually became the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, also known as the E&O Hotel) in Penang, which was opened three years earlier. The Sarkies also established the Crag Hotel on Penang Hill.

Doc Cheng's Restaurant, Raffles HotelBar at Doc Cheng's Restaurant, Raffles Hotel
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authorshipWilliam Cho

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360° View of Raffles Hotel on Google Maps Street View

Front view of Raffles Hotel

Bras basah view of Raffles Hotel

The Sarkies' first hotel in Singapore, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, was a modest operation housed in an old 10-room colonial bungalow belonging to Arab trader Mohamad Alsagoff, at Beach Road and Bras Basah Road.

Over the next few years, the Raffles Hotel continued to expand, adding new wings, a verandah, a ballroom, and a bar & billards room. There is a legend that the last tiger in Singapore was shot at the Raffles in 1902, as it cowered in the bar & billards room.

By 1904, with the opening of the Bras Basah wing, the Raffles was touted in the newspapers as the most magnificent establishment east of Suez. In 1904, it even had its own Post Office. The cocktail drink Singapore Sling was said to have been created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in the Raffles Hotel sometime around 1910. Famous writer Somerset Maugham visited it in 1921, and returned again in 1926 and 1959.

By 1931, the last of the four Sarkies brothers, Arshak, has passed away. That, along with the Great Depression and the slump in Malayan rubber prices was too much of a toll, and it pushed the Raffles Hotel, and along with it the E&O, into receivership. But by 1933, the financial troubles have been sorted out, and the Raffles Hotel was bouncing back.

When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the British officers gathered at the Raffles to sing, "There will always be an England." At the end of the war, the Raffles was used as a transit camp for prisoners of war. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Raffles in the 50's, as did Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1987, the Singapore government declared the Raffles Hotel a National Monument. After that, the hotel was closed for a multi-million dollar refurnishment project, to return it to the grandeur of the 1920's. The restored Raffles Hotel opened on 16 September 1991, and two months later, the Raffles Hotel Arcade, with restaurants, boutiques and speciality shops, also opened.

Long Bar, Raffles HotelLong Bar, Raffles Hotel
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Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673
Phone: +65 6337 1886

Raffles Hotel is on the map of North Bridge Road

List of Hotels in Singapore and Hotels in Asia

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