Mar 24 2012
Note: The Raffles Hotel Museum closed permanently in February 2013.
Raffles Hotel is the one place in Singapore where nostalgia about the British colonial days seems to be encouraged, and only then because it’s a serious money maker. A night in the cheapest room at this luxury heritage hotel costs S$700 and even a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar will set you back S$25. Thankfully, admission to the Raffles Hotel Museum is free.
You might wonder how a hotel can have a museum, but when you’ve been open for more than 120 years you’re bound to have accumulated a lot of stuff. Tucked away on the third floor of the hotel, the Raffles Hotel Museum offers a glimpse back in time to the hotel’s glory days. There are old invitations to “fancy dress parties” in the garden and black and white photos from when the hotel’s address of 1 Beach Road meant it was actually on the beach (land reclamation has changed that). There’s even an antique trishaw which would have been used in the early 1900s to transport the fabulously rich guests from their cruise ship to the hotel.
Raffles Hotel Museum also features photographs and items from the hotel’s famous guests which, over its long history, have included the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Queen Elizabeth II and Michael Jackson. Fans of classic literature won’t want to miss the glowing review from Rudyard Kipling that “the food is as excellent as the rooms are good” and signed letters from Somerset Maugham on hotel stationery.
There’s also some beautiful art ranging from posters from the glory days of travel — replicas of some of them are sold in the gift shop — to an oil painting of a bartender frantically concocting a Singapore Sling (look for the first known recipe for this tropical cocktail among the museum’s collection).
The Raffles Hotel Museum is open daily 10:00 – 19:00. Admission is free.
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