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Raffles Bali - Raffles Hotel: Tales of History and Luxury
April 4th 2023

Raffles Hotel: Tales of History and Luxury

Raffles Hotel in Singapore, named after the father of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, is a national monument and has hosted celebrities, royalty, and dignitaries since it opened its doors in December 1887. The hotel was established by pioneering hotelier Tigran Sarkies and his three ambitious brothers with a vision to create a truly unique Grand Hotel with “fine accommodation, excellent food and impeccable service.” Over the past 130 years, Raffles Hotels & Resorts has been the oasis of famous writers, poets, and artists, including Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, and James Michener. The hotel’s legendary Writers Bar and the charming Bedtime Stories placed upon each guest’s pillow every evening pay tribute to its rich literary history.

Raffles has hosted not only famous people but also animals. A live tiger once escaped from a performing circus, swam to Raffles Hotel, and rested under the Bar & Billiard Room. In 1902, the headmaster at Raffles Institution, who was known to be a hunter and sharpshooter, killed the last tiger in Singapore. In 1986, a live tiger was photographed on top of a Raffles billiard table as part of the hotel’s centennial celebrations.

The hotel was also a transportation hub. The owners had a horse stable located at Bras Basah Wing, which was moved to Orchard Road when the Sarkies Brothers put the wing in 1904. During the restoration, they found horse shoes, and during the excavation of the Palm Court wing, a full-grown horse skeleton was discovered. The Sarkies Brothers started their limousine service called Raffles Motor Garage in 1917. Arriving guests were ferried through the hotel using limousines in British and French old-fashioned cars with an air horn on its side.

Singapore Sling, a famous cocktail, originated at Raffles hotel. In 1915, a young Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon created this cocktail allowing ladies to drink alcohol without being seen, as per British customs. Raffles Hotel has also been the location for many films and TV series, including Passion Flower, Tana Merah, Hawaii-Five O, and Tenko.

In summary, Raffles Hotel has a rich history with fascinating stories, including literary luminaries who stayed there, animals that visited, and the hotel’s role in transportation and creating a famous cocktail. Its history has been preserved through the hotel’s Writers Bar, Bedtime Stories, and the gravel at the current driveway, which takes on the memory of when horse carriages would come to the front of the hotel. The hotel’s contribution to Singapore’s culture and heritage is invaluable, and it remains a favorite destination for travelers seeking a luxurious experience. This is including Raffles Bali which is also dedicated to preserving Balinese heritage and culture. The hotel offers a range of cultural experiences, such as traditional Balinese dance performances, local artisan markets, and workshops on traditional arts and crafts. Raffles Bali works closely with local communities to ensure that their cultural traditions and practices are respected and celebrated, and the hotel’s design is inspired by the island’s rich cultural heritage. From the beautiful Balinese architecture to the locally sourced materials used throughout the hotel, Raffles Bali is a tribute to the island’s unique culture and traditions.