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Reviewed 4 June 2012

Raffles Hotel in Singapore is an experience that we should all have at least once in our lives. While there are a few negatives which I mention below, they are far outweighed by the sheer joy of staying in a hotel which is more like a club than a hotel, with a physical beauty that is rare, even among hotels of its age.

All hotels stand and fall by their staff, and at Raffles the staff are without peer: they seem to know you by name the instant you arrive, any problems are attended to promptly, the trouble taken by the concierge service on everything from restaurants to night visits to the zoo was exceptional and their courtesy, charm and genuine warmth (rare in Singapore) made using the hotel facilities a real pleasure. The day after we went to see the night animals at the zoo, the entire breakfast staff seemed to know we had been and wanted to know what we thought of it. Our night at the Raffles Chinese restaurant was made more pleasant by the passion for his food and the interest shown in us by the maître d’. Even in the Long Bar (which is open to the public not just guests), the staff seemed to know us when we went in – in a nice touch, the best tables were reserved for hotel guests. When we left after a three day stay, a line-up of reception staff, concierge staff, the famous Sikh doorman , and even our porter waved us goodbye (staying there waving till we were speeding down Beach Road). This is the sort of genuine service money cannot buy.

The difference with the Raffles redevelopment when compared to the Peninsula in Hong Kong and the Oriental in Bangkok is that the original structure has been retained and restored and not augmented by a high rise, so you have a sense of entering into a bygone world which conjures up romantic images of the exotic Orient and the British Raj, enhanced by the Hotel’s decision to allow only hotel guests into the main lobby, which makes its three levels an oasis of period tranquillity in the very heart of a busy, modern city.

The developers’ decision not to blight the site with a high rise tower means the rooms have no view – indeed they are large and dark so as to keep cool in the days before air conditioning – so if you want the sort of view available from the Marina Bay Sands or the Ritz Carlton, don’t go here. But they are splendid rooms: all have a small parlour or anteroom with a small dining table and a sitting area, and the bedroom and bathroom are huge. This leads me to my only significant criticism of the hotel: the rooms were done in 1991 and are now looking tired and desperately need a makeover: the colour schemes are dated, the 4 x 3 aspect ratio TVs should be replaced with LED flatscreens, and let’s have an iPod dock which allows us to play our music – and (sin of sins) the mattresses are too hard. The bathrooms are nice, but all the fittings are showing their wear, and are starting to malfunction. This hotel charges top dollar in Singapore terms, so you are entitled to expect the best. Then again, the free WiFi was a nice touch much appreciated.

Back to the good stuff. Try the pool! It’s not the Shang pool or Capella Lodge, but the towels (3 per person) are laid out for you before you even get to your banana lounge, and you are then plied with cool water, fruit pieces in skewers and canapés or cookies with any drinks you order. Breakfast is included and it’s not just a buffet, it’s a la carte eggs cooked to order as well. The orange juice is actually freshly squeezed on site – one of the few places outside Southern Spain I’ve ever seen that. The breakfast room is also the Tiffin Room, where you can enjoy the most splendid high tea every afternoon at 3.30, for a price of course. There is also the Writers’ Bar and a premium western restaurant which we sampled on a previous trip. There are many other restaurants and bars in the public parts of the hotel, including the Chinese restaurant (see above), an alfresco café and the Long Bar, where the Singapore Sling was invented (they cost a bomb and they’re the best in Singapore).

This is one of the world’s great hotel properties and, when they do the rooms up, it will be one of the best!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Rob1010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pierre J, General Manager at Raffles Hotel Singapore, responded to this reviewResponded 5 June 2012

Many thanks for your detailed feedback on your stay with us. I am very happy that you had a pleasant time and that the hotel staff could make you feel pampered and taken care of.

I noted your remarks about the bathroom facilities and the technical equipment of the rooms and will share it with the management team.

I hope you had a safe trip back and look forward to welcoming you again at RafflesHotel Singapore.

Kind regards,

Pierre Jochem,
General Manager Raffles Hotel Singapore & Regional Vice President, Operations, Asia Pacific, Raffles Hotels & Resorts

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Reviewed 4 June 2012

It 's really charming to stay in this hotel. Long Bar is very typical, the service fabulous the rooms like we can imagine the colonial epoque. If you have to stay few days in Singapore You have to know The Raffles. It;s something else,

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank paulmar45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pierre J, General Manager at Raffles Hotel Singapore, responded to this reviewResponded 5 June 2012

Thank you for giving your opinion on Trip Advisor, I am glad you enjoyed your stay at Raffles Hotel Singapore and traveling back in time to the colonial era.

I look forward to welcoming you again.

Kind regards,

Pierre Jochem,
General Manager Raffles Hotel Singapore & Regional Vice President, Operations, Asia Pacific, Raffles Hotels & Resorts

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Reviewed 3 June 2012

a global landmark and deservedly so, it's easy to understand why people come to just LOOK at this colonial masterpiece. Better still, take a gin sling in the Long Bar. Crunch your way over peanut shells, scattered somewhat self-consciously over the floor, and repose in a setting of restrained elegance. 100 years of service to the rich and famous has created an atmosphere that is without equal but which never seems pretentious.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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Thank frazerprice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pierre J, General Manager at Raffles Hotel Singapore, responded to this reviewResponded 7 June 2012

Thank you for writing us about your time at Raffles Hotel Singapore and the Long Bar. Indeed, it is pleasant to walk around the gardens and the Raffles Arcades and then enjoy a Singapore Sling that is prepared according to the original recipe.

I hope you come back and visit us again, trying maybe some of the other restaurants, too.

Kind regards,

Pierre Jochem,
General Manager Raffles Hotel Singapore & Regional Vice President, Operations, Asia Pacific, Raffles Hotels & Resorts

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Reviewed 3 June 2012

We stayed at the Raffles for two nights as part of our 40th birthday trip to Singapore. The hotel lives up to his reputation and we had a brilliant time. Everything was perfect from the moment we arrived at reception to the moment we left (with great regret). The hotel is beautiful, is located in a very centrally, smells incredibly nice (they actually sell the fragrance at the Raffles shop and we saw more than one person buying it!!) and the rooms are beautiful. Perhaps the only negative point was that you do not have a view of the Singapore skyline and also that the TV was suprisingly old-fashioned with few TV programmes. But other than that, the pool is fantastic, breakfast very nice and the staff really go out of their way to make your stay special (a special thanks to Adieh). We would go back in a heartbeat for a special occasion. Thank you again!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Kirsten39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pierre J, General Manager at Raffles Hotel Singapore, responded to this reviewResponded 5 June 2012

Thank you for your review, it is good to hear that you had a pleasant stay for your special occasion. I am impressed that you remember the name of certain colleagues and hope to see you at your next visit to Singapore again.

Kind regards,

Pierre Jochem,
General Manager Raffles Hotel Singapore & Regional Vice President, Operations, Asia Pacific, Raffles Hotels & Resorts

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Reviewed 1 June 2012

Raffles Hotel Singapore, being the Grand Dame of hospitality and more a legend than a hotel, offers service beyond expectations. Covered with fine traditions and residential elegance this hotel goes into the category: "Must Stay Once In A Lifetime" and is in a class of its own.
Sip on a Singapore Sling at Long Bar or while sitting and relaxing on the verandah, overlooking the lush gardens.
Loved, loved, loved Raffles Hotel Singapore!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank SibylleZM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pierre J, General Manager at Raffles Hotel Singapore, responded to this reviewResponded 7 June 2012

Many thanks for your compliments on Raffles Hotel Singapore, I hope you will come back and visit us again, so that your Raffles experience is not just "Once in a Lifetime".

Kind regards,

Pierre Jochem,
General Manager Raffles Hotel Singapore & Regional Vice President, Operations, Asia Pacific, Raffles Hotels & Resorts

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