As you tour historic Raffles Hotel you get the feeling this would have been the era to be a writer, explorer, adventurer. Sipping a cocktail at the outdoor bar sets the stage for the movie like setting in tropical paradise. As you make your way up the grand staircases you can witness art frescoes against the white Colonial Hotel displaying the grandeur of the hotel and the times.
Making your way up to the “Long Bar” home of the “Singapore Sling” and a favorite watering hole of writers, artists, and hollywood celebrities… makes you want to move in for a year or so and write that novel as did novelists Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling. Anyone who is a history buff would enjoy the ambiance of the Long Bar as well as the authentic fans turning around to cool you in your rattan chairs while taking a leisurely lunch and sipping on Singapore Slings.
After leaving the Long Bar we discovered Raffles Museum where you can witness the photographs, dress,suitcases,and memorabilia of that era. Adjacent to the museum is a gift shop where you can buy traditional Singaporean items.
As you move about through the hotel… Raffles has some of the most exclusive men’s and women’s shops I have seen anywhere in the world… including a fine selection of elegant international brands like Tiffany and Louis Vuitton. I was thinking of getting a tailor-made white linen suit complete with straw hat and Ascot for the evening meal, but after looking into my wallet we settled for a delicious coffee ice cream and french vanilla float and felt like movie stars for the day.
Thomas Stamford Raffles was born at sea on board a ship Ann on the 6th of July, 1781 off the coast of Jamaica. In 1795, the young man accepted his first job in the East India Company as a clerk. But he studied hard in his spare time and in 1804, was posted to Penang (then Prince of Wales Island) and promoted to Assistant Secretary to the Presidency of that Malaysian island. His mastery over the Malay language made him indispensable to the British Government, and he was later appointed Malay translator to the Government of India. In 1811, he returned as the Lieutenant Governor of Java, and was soon promoted to Governor of Bencoolen (now Sumatra). On 19th January, 1819, Raffles founded modern Singapore and I would wish he could come back to marvel at one of the best model cities in the world…with more millionaires living there than any country.
Stamford Raffles was deeply fascinated by the immense diversity of strange animals and plants of the East Indies during his tenure there. He soon employed zoologists and botanists to discover all they can about the animals and plants of the region and would pay his assistants out of his own pockets to collect specimens. He also revived and became the president of the Batavian Society which was actively engaged in the study of natural history of Java and adjacent areas. He was a writer who wrote a book about Java and a founder (in 1825) and first president (elected April 1826) of the Zoological Society of London and the London Zoo.
Sir Raffles established schools and churches in the native languages. He allowed missionaries and local businesses to flourish. Certain colonial aspects remained: a European town was quickly built to segregate the population, separated by a river; carriage roads were built and cantonments constructed for the soldiers. He quickly started educating the children knowing this would be the best long-term effect he could contribute to the future success of the island.
A visit to historic Raffles Hotel is a waltz down memory lane filled with good scenery and nostalgia.
The grand colonial hotel set against its lush palm trees and greenery with it excellent bars and great food served in the fashion you would expect from a five-star resort is a plus. While in Singapore this is a must visit to leisurely spend the day and travel through history in grand style.
QUOTE: “The Singapore Sling is one of those wonderful drinks that we probably have all heard of, but perhaps have never had. And because this recipe is often incorrectly recorded in most recipe books, even if you think you’ve had it, you probably haven’t.”
SINGAPORE SLING Cocktail Mix
1 ml gin
1/2 ml Heering® cherry liqueur
4 ml pineapple juice
1/2 ml lime juice
1/4 ml Cointreau® orange liqueur
1/4 ml benedictine herbal liqueur
1 – 2 tsp grenadine syrup
1 dash Angostura® bitters
Mix all in a shaker and pour in glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and cherry.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The Singapore Sling, perhaps the world’s most famous cocktail recipe, was invented by a Raffles Hotel barman. Somewhere just after the turn of the century, Raffles Hotel barman Mr NgiamTong Boon invented a pink cocktail for the colonial ladies – the Singapore Sling. His recipe book was considered so valuable that it was kept locked in a safe. Visitors may now view the safe and other colonial treasures in the hotel’s museum.
Magnificent Raffles Hotel in Singapore is not just a hotel: it is a proud piece of Singapore’s history, a Singapore institution, and a must-see tourist attraction. The hotel was named after Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, the founder of Singapore. At $800- $1400 per night, few garden-variety tourists actually stay at Raffles Hotel, but everyone can enjoy sight seeing and quality time in the famous Long Bar and order a Singapore Sling.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Bar-room coasters from around the world.
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Take a tour down memory lane and visit Historic Raffles Hotel.
From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.
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