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In 1887, at the dawn of the Golden Age of Travel, four entrepreneurial Persian-Armenian brothers, the Sarkies, opened a modest 10-room hotel in Singapore. They named it after the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, a distinguished British diplomat and pioneering botanist. With such a resonant name, Raffles Hotel caught the imagination of a new generation of well-heeled globetrotters, beginning to discover for themselves the allure of the exotic East.
As the hotel grew to be the splendid Victorian-colonial landmark we know today, it attracted a glorious cavalcade of guests. Writers such as Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward came for inspiration – and returned for more; while Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy found a rare place whose refinement mirrored their own elegance and glamour. With grace and generosity embodied by its impeccable butlers, the Raffles name became the stuff of legend, known to connoisseurs worldwide for its unique blend of British etiquette, tropical magnificence and Asian grace.
In time, the birthplace of stories and legends became also the birthplace of a family of elegant and culturally well-connected landmark addresses, all of them evoking the timeless old-world glamour, literary heritage and enchantment of the original. All share a unified aspiration to honour the Raffles name. Beyond hospitality, today Raffles strives to create a world of beauty, wonder and inspiration for its guests, employees and communities – wherever in the world it is found. It is loved by generations past, present and future.
Turning the pages of history
The awards are in. Here are some recent accolades recognising the legendary Raffles blend of glamour, enchantment and graciously generous service.
The Raffles Book
Soirées, Sojourns & Stories by Raffles is a fascinating hardback book about the life and times of Raffles, past, present and future.
When the renowned author Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni embarked on writing this book, she knew she was taking readers on a journey through both time and place. Time tells of the ‘Golden Age of Travel’ through to present day. Great writers, stars, politicians and royalty choosing to reward their status with Raffles’ legendary service and elegance. Place tells of our global presence. Highlighting our illustrious and enduring story, encapsulating the Raffles spirit, this is the definitive brand biography, and a must-read for devotees of luxury, glamour and travel.
Published by Rizzoli.