The Raffles Hotel was officially declared a national monument by the Singapore government in 1987. Originally a privately owned beach house, built in the 1830s, today it stands proud as a colonial-style luxury hotel hosting a rather wealthy clientele including celebrities, royalty and dignitaries.
Established by Armenian hoteliers, the Sarkies Brothers in 1887, Raffles in Singapore was the first hotel in the region to have electric lights. Over the years additional wings, a veranda, ballroom, bar and billiards room have been built, amounting to the luxury class hotel it is today (more than 5 stars). Fitting for a hotel named after the founder of modern Singapore, British statesman Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.
The fabled tiger
The Raffles Hotel in Singapore once had a different kind of resident to stay. In 1902, a tiger escaped from a local circus and took refuge under the Bar and Billiards room. Staff spotted the runaway feline and called for the areas well-known sharp shooter, Mr Charles McGowan Phillips. Having returned from a Government House ball that evening (possibly under the influence), and still in his pyjamas, it took several shots before the tiger unfortunately met its demise.
This was the last tiger to ever be killed in Singapore.
Other interesting facts about Raffles Hotel in Singapore
- Jackie Chan has dined at the Empire Café at Raffles Hotel, where his favourite dish on the menu is the Laksa
- The Tiffin Room restaurant at the Raffles Hotel is actually the oldest in Singapore
- Long Bar is where the Singapore Sling was originally invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon
- In 1942, during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, it is alleged that staff buried the hotel silver to hide it
- The Raffles Hotel in Singapore has been the backdrop and inspiration for many books and movies