Founded in 1887 as a 10-room bungalow on the shores of the Singapore River, the resplendent Raffles Hotel has grown to icon status throughout the Far East, attracting celebrity guests from Charlie Chaplin to Queen Elizabeth II. In 1915 another legend was born when hotel bartender Ngiam Tong Boon introduced guests—and subsequently the world—to the Singapore Sling cocktail. A multiphased restoration program is returning the Raffles to its original 19th-century glory.
The Raffles Hotel Singapore’s landmark status makes it a must-visit for any Singapore visitor, guests and nonguests alike. Join a walking tour through Singapore’s colonial days: Sip afternoon tea in the Tiffin Room, order a classic Singapore Sling in the Long Bar, or simply marvel at the spectacular colonial architecture, then visit other points of interest like the Raffles Landing Site and buzzy Clarke Quay.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A stop at the Raffles Hotel is a must for history buffs, architecture fans, and first-time visitors to Singapore.
- Visit the hotel on your own or as part of a historic sightseeing tour.
- Be sure to check the dress code for the experience you’re planning. The hotel’s bars and restaurants range from casual to somewhat formal.
How to Get There
The Raffles Hotel is located just a couple minutes from Singapore’s famous Orchard Road shopping street, 20 minutes from Changi International Airport. It’s easy to reach by rapid transit: take the metro to the Raffles Place MRT stop.
When to Get There
What type of experience you’re looking to have will determine the best time to visit the hotel. Many travelers come for a Singapore Sling at the historic Long Bar or Billiard Room, both open throughout the day and into the night. Another popular option is an afternoon visit for high tea.
The Man Behind the Name
Like many buildings, roads, and monuments in Singapore, the Raffles Hotel gets its name from Sir Stamford Raffles, the British statesman who founded modern Singapore in February 1819. Interestingly Raffles also founded the London Zoo—one of the world’s oldest—as well as Singapore’s first botanical garden on Fort Canning Hill. Mt. Sophia was named after Sophia Hull, Raffles’ second wife.