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Raffles Hotel, the Grande Dame of Singapore

Singapore Sling
Raffles Hotel, the Grande Dame of Singapore

Like so many clever innovations in our world, women were behind the invention of Raffles iconic Singapore Sling…

Following the turn of the century in colonial Singapore, Raffles was the gathering place for the community – and the Long Bar was the watering hole. It was common to see gentlemen nursing glasses of gin or whisky. Unfortunately for the ladies, etiquette dictated that they could not consume alcohol in public. So, for the sake of modesty, teas and fruit juices were their beverages of choice.

Ever insightful, one of Raffles bar tenders, eager to please his female clientele, decided to create a cocktail that looked like plain fruit juice but was actually infused with gin and liqueurs. The bartender even made the beverage pink to give it a feminine flair which, together with the use of clear alcohol, led people to think it was a socially acceptable drink for women. With that, the Singapore Sling was born. Needless to say, it became an instant hit.

That is just one of Raffles Hotel’s colorful stories.

Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world. No visit to Singapore is complete without a stay at Raffles; tradition demands it.
Shortly following its opening, Raffles was seen as a beacon and haven for world travelers, arriving from all shores to experience its exquisite combination of grandeur and charm. Staying there became a rite of passage among adventurers, with “See you at Raffles” their signature parting shot.

Today, the hotel continues to embody regal elegance and Old World appeal. In a city where modern buildings compete to touch the sky, this beautifully preserved colonial-style treasure – declared a National Monument in 1987– takes pride of place in the vibrant civic and business district.

Named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, the hotel has welcomed countless legendary names throughout its history. Writers, movie stars, dignitaries, journalists… they all found inspiration and conviviality there. Among the many luminaries were Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Taylor, Somerset Maugham, Ava Gardner and Noel Coward. At a time when global travel was a luxury available to only a select few, the stories these personalities shared – both facts and fables – contributed to Raffles’ renown. Thanks to them and myriad other guests over the decades, the Long Bar’s Singapore Sling gained international fame, along with exciting tales – such as the one involving a tiger in the Bar & Billiard Room!

Intricately woven into the hotel are lush tropical gardens. Occupying more than a quarter of the entire estate, they provide soothing contrast to the urban hustle and bustle. It is not uncommon to hear the delightful melodies of singing birds beyond the verandahs and the rustle of palm leaves in the breeze. You are in an oasis of exquisite tranquility. Newly restored, all 115 beautifully appointed suites feature state-of-the-art technology, redesigned bathrooms and pampering amenities.



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