Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Our Luxurious Staycation - Raffles Hotel (Where the Legend Began - and Where it Continues Today)



As is becoming quite the norm these days, I am way behind posting articles on my blog that I’ve been meaning to get to… along with this post, I still have many ‘WTH’ articles lined up, for which my blog has for a long time become synonymous with. 

When Sammi, the boys and I were invited to attend the long weekend at the world renowned Raffles Hotel, I can tell you – we did not need to be asked twice.
 

A term that is widely becoming popular, is ‘Staycation’ – now you certainly won’t find it in the common English dictionary, and you will absolutely get the red squiggly line underneath it when you type the word into any office application (for incorrect spelling), but the term is obvious in and of itself – a vacation where you stay close to your home location.

In the case of Raffles Hotel, we knew it first as tourists many years ago (that place where all visitors go to try the ‘Singapore Sling’ at the Long Bar), and now after 8-years living in Singapore, we have tried it first hand – as hotel guests and as diners, drinkers and vacationers. 

Welcome Gifts & Drinks:
 

 

 
 

Here’s a fun fact – or perhaps busting an urban myth… Sir Stamford Raffles never stayed in the hotel – in fact, he missed it by around a century or more. This is probably no news to Singaporeans… but for those lacking in lessons on Singapore’s history, it was quite surprising to us.

If I were to describe the hotel itself as ‘luxurious’ or ‘full of splendor’, I would in no way be doing it any justice at all. Baked in tradition and a feeling of opulence of yesteryear, words could not begin to describe the nostalgia that emanates from every corner of the place.

Another fun fact – the Raffles Hotel is the first choice for travelling dignitaries and celebrities alike. To think that I had to tell Jaime not to stand on the lounge chair of the ‘Sir Stamford Raffles Suite’ – the very same lounge where both Michael Jackson and Queen Elizabeth II have deposited their posteriors.
 
  
The Queen Of England actually sat here on these same cushions??:


 

 
 

Before I take you on the journey of our Staycation, let me tell you how you can discover it all for yourselves and also take part in this wondrous adventure.

From now until September of this year, Raffles HotelSingapore is having a special suite package, available from S$550++ per suite per night for any day in the week.

From September onward, it will only be available for the weekends. The package is aimed at locals and includes:

  • Children below the age of 12 stay (using existing bedding) and dine for free with their parents at hotel-operated restaurants (adults must dine at the restaurant)
  • Welcome Singapore Slings and fruit upon arrival, while children will enjoy fruit smoothies and cookies
  • Complimentary breakfast at Tiffin Room on the first morning
  • Complimentary Buffet Dinner at Bar & Billiard Room or Tiffin Room (once during the stay)
  • Complimentary in-suite internet access
  • 24-hour Butler Service
  • Complimentary S$500 Raffles Hotel Arcade Shopping Discount Vouchers
  • Complimentary late check-out until 6pm
  • Complimentary parking
As I mentioned, this promotion is aimed at locals, with these special rates only for residents of Singapore (Singapore Citizens, PRs and work pass holders).


So here we go… as soon as we were greeted by the famous and iconic Sikh doorman and stepped foot into the lobby on the Friday afternoon, our collective jaws dropped at the sheer elegance.

 

 


The hotel staff at check-in were not just accommodating, but made the entire process swift and painless (not always the way, as any oft travelers will attest). It was at this point that we were assigned not just a concierge to carry our bags to our suite, but were given our very own butler who would remain at our service for the rest of the stay…. I couldn’t help but wonder how he came to be a butler and what he had done (thinking back to an old Seinfeld episode – apologies to non-Seinfeld fans who will have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about).

Our Suite, Balcony & View:

 

 

 

 

 

 


After the family opened their gifts from the hotel, which included the boys’ very own Sikh doorman stuffed toys, we enjoyed our welcome drinks – smoothies all round and a Singapore Sling for me – believe it or not, this was the first time I’d ever tried one… so sweet and fresh – perhaps even a little dangerous?


We were in total amazement as we checked out the suite – the sheer size alone is something to marveled at – a bathroom alone, the size of perhaps a standard living room.


The décor was historic and rustic in feel, with all the modern amenities to which we have become accustomed. Absolutely outstanding!!


After lounging around a while, we decided to take a walk around the hotel itself, the shops and restaurants around the courtyard. We also took a quick wander around the surrounding area, and realized just how convenient the location is to the major downtown shopping district.

Alfresco Dining at Raffles Courtyard:

 

 

 


Boys being boys, Jaime and Casey immediately showed immense interest in the lovely roof top swimming pool (right next to the well-equipped gymnasium and the relaxed atmosphere of the Raffles Spa (which Sammi also had the fortunate task of trying out). So we made arrangements (deal) with the boys that if they behaved themselves while eating the lovely fresh Italian salads, pizzas, pasta and gelato we enjoyed for dinner at the Raffles Courtyard alfresco restaurant, followed by the specialized session of making cocktails at the Long Bar – including of course, the one and only Singapore Sling!

Mocktails & Cocktails at The Long Bar:

 

 



Even the kids got to make their own mocktails… ONLY if they behaved themselves, we would go swimming in the evening breeze at the pool – of course, they are so spoiled that they would have got to have gone swimming even if they were their usual naughty selves.  :)
  
Playtime at the Pool:


 

The next morning (along with another swim), we had breakfast at the Tiffin Room. Eating fine foods seemed to be the theme of the weekend – all good in my opinion!



We then went on a guided tour with resident Historian Leslie Danker… where we got to experience the life of the famous and infamous alike… the highlight being the aforementioned Sir Stamford Raffles Suite (got a spare S$10,000 for a night’s stay?)

 

 
 


 

 

 

After the tour and a quick rest, we took the boys home and Sammi and I settled in for a rare evening without kids – what happen at Raffles Hotel STAYS at Raffles Hotel (nudge, nudge… wink, wink). We had a great local dinner at the Empire Café. Serving local Singaporean food and Asian delicacies, I was a sucker for dessert.

Somewhere amongst all of this, Sammi managed to fit in an hour of pampering with an aromatherapy Swedish massage at the Raffles Spa – I must say, this made me a little jealous, but looking back on it, giving me an hour for a power nap on a Saturday afternoon was quite the treat for me  :p
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The next morning, after a quick run back to Sengkang West to collect the kids, we found time for another swim before what I consider to be one of the absolute highlights of the weekend – Brunch at the Bar and Billiard Room.

My, oh my!!! Guys – you want to impress your ladies – this is the place to bring them. 3-hours straight of eating nothing but the finest seafood, pasta, cold dishes, meat galore (Australian grain fed Prime Rib on the bone, US Beef tenderloin “Bordelaise” sauce, Roasted Welsh leg of lamb, Roasted Welsh rack of lamb with herbs crust, Slow oven baked Welsh lamb shoulder, Organic milk fed rack of veal & BBQ Iberico pork ribs) – mouth watering – desserts, pan-fried Foie Gras (and I'm only just touching on what's available)… top it all off with free flow champagne… need I say more?
Brunch at the Bar and Billiard Room:








Probably the world's most famous hotel. ‘While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?' Indeed.

Not just a hotel, an icon; Raffles Singapore is an oasis of colonial style, calm and charm in the heart of modern Singapore - exclusive, historic, and one of a kind.


The Original.
"Perhaps the world's greatest hotel, Raffles Singapore stands where it has always stood, at the crossroads of civilisation and culture, a colonial oasis in the heart of one of the world's most exciting cities.

No trip to Singapore is complete without a stay at Raffles; tradition demands it. First opened in 1887, and since then a destination in its own right, Raffles Singapore epitomises the romance of the Far East – an intoxicating blend of luxury, history and colonial ambiance that no other hotel can match.

Immortalised by writers including Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway and Alfred Hitchcock, Raffles is the perfect place from which to explore Singapore. Or in which to merely sit and watch the world go by. The legendary Palm Court, the white marble colonnades and the unique air of romantic grandeur transport you back to a more elegant age, while the seamless service, contemporary technology and attention to detail is completely of our time.

Liveried Sikh doormen usher guests through an ornate wrought-iron portico into a lobby that seems unaltered from the turn of the century. Stroll the polished teak verandas past tropical gardens to suites with an elegant parlour, period furnishings, a bedroom that leads to a dressing room and en suite bathroom. Luxuriate in the history, in the scent of frangipani in the evening, in the Raffles Spa, or order room service from the legendary Raffles butlers.

15 restaurants and bars also await; from the famous Long Bar, home of the Singapore Sling, to the Bar & Billiard Room, Raffles is alive with history, infused with atmosphere, and open to the moment.

Conveniently close to the financial hub of this entrepreneurial city, Raffles makes business a pleasure, a luxury of leisure - and any visit an indelible memory.

Where the legend began - and where it continues today - Raffles Singapore is exciting, enchanting and loved by those with an adventurous spirit and a taste for the very best."

The story continues...

1 comment:

Sue said...

I loved the photos of your staycation with your family. Staycations seem to be a popular choice these days as an affordable options for families. It sounds like it was a lot of fun!