In 1887, the flagship Raffles hotel opened in the exciting city of Singapore. This spot near the beach originally offered ten rooms, and it quickly became a home away from home for luminaries such as Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, and Alfred Hitchcock. During the late 1980s, the management decided to refurbish the hotel. A 2-1/2-year-long restoration was undertaken in order to bring back the colonial charm of bygone days.
The Raffles reopened its doors in September of 1991 to great acclaim. Whether guests wish to sit on the Palm Court watching the people pass or simply use the hotel as a base to explore the city, the choice is theirs. The Raffles has since become a destination entirely on its own merits. Although the technology at this location has been updated, the superior service that guests have come to expect remains the same. The original hotel is now home to 15 different bars and restaurants, a spa, a billiards room, and so much more. It is situated conveniently close to the business district in Singapore.
A number of other branches have opened over the years. In 1997, two branches of the hotel were started in Cambodia. These establishments were the Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh, and the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Siem Reap, respectively. Less than 10 years later, the company purchased and renovated the old Beijing Hotel, which was a primary location for a number of state affairs.
The hotel was later reopened as the Raffles Beijing. About a year later, the Raffles line started another business venture in Dubai. In 2010, the organization also opened hotels in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, and Paris, France. The company next moved to the Indian Ocean in 2011 with the establishment of the Raffles Praslin Seychelles.
Other locations where Raffles Hotels can be found are Hainan, China, and Manila, in the Philippines. Having recently celebrated their 125th birthday, the corporation plans on expanding to Jakarta, Indonesia, and Istanbul, Turkey.
Despite all these new enterprises, the original establishment retains its timeless appeal. Perhaps this is nowhere as evident in the hotel as in the Tiffin Tea Room. There the cooks have been using the same time-honored recipe for chicken curry since 1889. Serving a light lunch, or tiffin, has long been a hotel tradition which continues to this very day.
The curry buffet at lunch is popular with both locals and travelers alike. Although the original menu only featured a small selection of local dishes, there is now a more comprehensive selection of northern Indian cuisine served at the restaurant.
Breakfast is offered for around $36 at this location and is served between 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. This meal includes a variety of international options. A buffet-style dinner is also served at this establishment between 7 and 10 p.m. At all times, the dress code for eating at the Tiffin Room is business casual and anything less formal will not be permitted.
Out of all the wonderful meals served at the Raffles Hotel, the high tea is perhaps the best choice. It takes place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. daily. A wide variety of delicacies such as passion fruit mango mousse, Madeira cake, homemade scones, hot desserts, and seasonal fruit are served at tea. Assorted finger sandwiches and savory dishes like the traditional chicken curry round out the menu. For those seeking heartier fare, the dim sum station that is present during the high tea serves up a rotating variety of traditional Asian dishes.
Each dish served is full of flavor and freshness. With a harpist playing softly in the background, the atmosphere and surroundings are picture-perfect. This popular event tends to fill up quickly, and reservations are recommended. The cost for this event is about $23 USD for children and around $47 for adults and well worth every penny.
Have you ever had a high tea?