Back To Where She Used To Belong

"Hey, let's stop for a while and have a souvenir photo in front of the Raffles Hotel."

Yup, this was what I suggested to my kid sister during one of our strolling moments. Too bad we were not able to go inside the Raffles Hotel Museum which I searched to be open 10 am to 7 pm, with no admission charge. To check-in to this hotel was not in our list for just about then. Room rates? 600 to 900 Singapore dollars.

My sister used to work in Singapore more than a decade ago. It was her idea to go visit the new Singapore, now bigger in size due to more reclaimed land plus lots and lots of state-of-the-art structures (SkyPark).

It was a wonder to me why she wanted to go back. She said she saw old photos of her friends during their working stint at Singapore plus new ones which she found awesome.

As what we saw in the new photos, mostly in the internet, we were not disappointed for Singapore was a great place to be. Eyes and tummies at feast.

Raffles Hotel is a colonial-style hotel in Singapore dating from 1887, named after Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles. Managed by Raffles International, it is known for its luxurious accommodation and superb restaurants. The hotel houses a tropical garden courtyard, museum and Victorian-style theater.

The hotel was founded by the 4 Armenian Sarkies Brothers (Martin, Tigran, Aviet, and Arshak Sarkies). They opened the 10-room colonial bungalow at Beach Road and Bras Basah Road owned by an Arab trader and philanthropist Syed Mohamed Alsagoff on 1 December 1887.

Designed by architect Regent Alfred John Bidwell of Swan and Maclaren, the current main building of Raffles Hotel was completed in 1899. The hotel continued to expand over the years with the addition of wings, a verandah, a ballroom, a bar and billiards room, and further buildings and rooms.

It re-opened on 16 September 1991; while the hotel was restored to the grand style of its heyday in 1915, significant changes were made. All rooms were converted to suites with teak-wood floors, handmade carpets, and 14-foot ceilings. The storied Long Bar, where the Singapore Sling cocktail drink was invented was relocated from the lobby to a new adjoining shopping arcade.

On 8 April 2010, The Straits Times reported that a Qatar sovereign wealth fund has bought Raffles Hotel.


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