International Travel

Joanita Wibowo

Singapore's historic Raffles Hotel reopens its doors

Singapore's historic Raffles Hotel reopens its doors

Singapore’s iconic Raffles Hotel has finally reopened its doors to the public after two years of extensive revamp and restoration.

The historic 132-year-old grand dame, which was designated a national monument in 1987, returned to business earlier this month with new updates and additions such as revitalised guest suites, fresh coating and marble flooring, and a new lineup of restaurants.

General manager Christian Westbeld said while the scale of the overhaul was unprecedented, the hotel retained its neo-Renaissance architectural style.

“The hotel is a lot fresher. Areas look a lot brighter, they look a lot lighter, they look a lot more inviting and approachable, which is something that we wanted to achieve,” Westbeld told CNN Travel.

“[But] we didn’t lose the architectural charm, the colonial heritage … That’s the biggest plus and I think the thing people will notice first. Yet at the same time we’ve modernized in a way that is deserved for the current Singapore time and era we’re in.”

He told Traveller, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world.

“[Its] restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests.”

The multi-million-dollar renovation project was led by design firm Champalimaud. Edmond Bakos, managing director at the firm told The Straits Times, “The goal was to bring the hotel to the next chapter, not to completely change it.”

The hotel now has 115 suites, up from 103 before the renovation. Westbeld said apart from “more comfortable” rooms, guests will also now be assigned a butler as their main point of contact for services ranging from spa appointments to restaurant reservations.

Raffles’ food and beverage lineup has also been shaken up. The famous Royal Blue China and The Halia were replaced with new concepts such as contemporary Chinese outlet Yi from chef Jereme Leung and Mediterranean sharing and grill restaurant BBR by Alain Ducasse.

The dining space previously hosting Raffles Grill has also been transformed into La Dame de Pic, opened in partnership with decorated French chef Anne-Sophie Pic.

Old favourites making a comeback include The Long Bar, Tiffin Room, The Lobby, Writers Bar, Raffles Courtyard, and Ah Teng’s Cafe.