Since it opened its doors in 1887, Raffles has shone as one of the hotel world’s grandest of dames, its visitors’ book littered with the signatures of literary luminaries, from Kipling to Conrad. So when the hotel closed its doors at the end of 2017 for its first major refurbishment since 1989, there was much wringing of hands among its devotees. But this summer, following one of the most expensive refurbishment projects in Asia this decade, Raffles Singapore is back and promises to be more alluringly glamorous than ever.
Details are few, however, and lips remain tightly sealed, but guests can expect a clutch of new suites, each decked out with the latest tech while still retaining their tripartite layout of bedroom, parlour and balcony. The beautiful herringbone timber floorboards will be returning to the Tiffin Room dining area, and three new restaurants will also be opening their doors, each helmed by a big-name chef — among them Alain Ducasse.
The renovations mark a bold new chapter in the hotel’s history, but heritage lovers, meanwhile, will be pleased to know that the hotel’s famous, wedding cake-white facade will remain unchanged.
Three more… Singapore stays
After eight years of meticulous restoration, the Capitol Building and Stamford House have been combined and opened as the opulent 157-room The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore. Expect sweeping arches, high ceilings, intricate cornices and sterling service.
In the Keong Saik neighbourhood, 10 historic shophouses have been converted into a KēSa House; a lifestyle concept, with bars, restaurants and 60 rooms, some with kitchens for longer stays.
The Robinson Crusoe aesthetic has been pared down for Six Senses’ first two urban resorts. Six Senses Duxton opened last spring and Six Senses Maxwell opened in December with interiors from French decorator Jacques Garcia.
Don’t miss: Singapore’s bicentenary, celebrating not only the last two centuries, but more than 500 years of history, with a roster of exhibitions, festivals and tours.
Published in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)