Raffles SingaporeA hotel whose name is instantly recognizable, the Raffles Singapore is pure colonial confection, a landmark maintained in its original style, with liveried Sikh door attendants greeting guests. Opened by two Armenian brothers in 1887 as a 10-room bungalow hotel overlooking the South China Sea—its address, 1 Beach Road, attests to the waterfront location before reclamation extended Singapore’s boundaries—it has since welcomed movie and music stars, authors, and heads of state. Somerset Maugham wrote, after a stay, “Raffles stands for all the fables of the exotic East.” At the end of World War II, it served as a transit camp for prisoners of war. A new wing and various extensions have turned Raffles into a little enclave, with pretty interior courtyards and a high-end shopping arcade with antique, art, fashion, and jewelry stores. Rooms come with butler service, 14-foot ceilings, verandas, Asian carpets, brass fittings, and glistening teak floors.
Sky-High Happy Hour
Two of Singapore's famous historic hotels are official national monuments and attractions unto themselves. Raffles is synonymous with the Singapore Sling, a cocktail you can sample in the hotel's Long Bar. Built out of Aberdeen granite and originally serving as the General Post Office building, the neoclassical structure—known for the past two decades as the Fullerton Hotel—retains its verandas, Doric columns and many fine plaster details.