by Terry Ward
Singapore’s grande dame hotel is a colonial-style beauty that also happens to be Raffles’ flagship property. Open since 1887 here, it’s considered among the world’s finest 19th century hotels and has been declared a national monument. Closed for renovations until the second half of 2018, the property is set to emerge more spectacular than ever with new bars, restaurants, courtyards and social areas in addition to the refreshed rooms.
Our Editor Loves
- Central location
- Colonial flair
- Close to Orchard Road by MRT
Recently a friend and I visited the famous Raffles Hotel for the first time - it will be our last. We went there for 1 drink, each ordering a Hendrick's Gin and tonic. The price listed in the bar menu was $18 Singapore per drink, an exorbitant price really, but as it was my first time in Singapore I was prepared to pay that price for 1 drink at the legendary Raffles Hotel. We sat down at a table, the drinks were soon delivered and not long afterwards a waiter placed a small dish of olives on our table which we hadn't ordered, but presumed were complimentary as nothing was said when he placed them there. After paying such a steep price for the drinks in the first place I thought the complimentary olives was the least they could do. When I went to pay the bill they not only charged me $25 per drink, but also a further $8 for the olives! When I questioned the waiter about the bill he said that $25 was the right price because that was what was generated by the cash register when the order was placed. I pointed out the listed price on the bar menu and the fact that they also charged for the olives that we never ordered but he insisted that I had to pay the full amount they had charged me. I asked to speak to his supervisor and I got an equally disdainful response. He said: "the cash register is never wrong and that is the amount we had to pay." Again I pointed to the listed price of the drinks on the bar menu and that what they were doing was illegal but he couldn't care less, he demanded that was what I had to pay. After this extraordinary experience I can only say for a hotel that trades on its reputation that reputation is as worthless as the appalling attitude they served up. If you want to be insulted and ripped off by illegal practices, then Raffles is the place for you. If you don't want to not have your experience of the wonderful city of Singapore tainted by this sort of garbage then do yourself a favour and stay away from Raffles.
We stayed there for a short week and were lucky to travel to Singapore just in time for the Raffles reopening.
Despite those 2 years out of the business the whole place is already so well organized and perfectly working!
We had been there in the past and were afraid not to find anymore what we had liked so much at the Raffles. But the very rare and specific atmosphere is still there. When most important renovations usually result in losing the hotel atmosphere, at the Raffles they succeeded in both modernizing and keeping the essence of the place.
It is extremely comfortable, whether you talk about the bedrooms, the bathrooms and living rooms. The remotes (iPad) for lights, TV, radio, etc work very well and are very easy to use.
The service is just perfect, any food from the room service is excellent. And by the way this is another specific advantage of the Raffles: whether you choose Ducasse restaurant or Pic, you will have an amazing time. Not all places offer such high level possibilities!
Not to mention the spa, probably one of the best in Asia,
I have only one "negative" comment: the cleaning of the main lobby takes place during the night which I can understand. But the cleaners (vacuum or water I don't know) are too noisy and can be heard from the suites on the first floor. Choosing a silent model might be necessary.
But cleaning or not, no doubt we'll be back next time we visit Singapore