Our Raffles story

Capturing the world’s imagination since 1887

Transcending hospitality, Raffles strives to create a world of beauty, wonder and inspiration for its guests, employees and communities – all those whose lives we touch. It is loved by generations past, present and future.

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 Raffles family has grown wide and strong under its Accor parentage. You will find us embedded in ancient civilisations, fabled ports and emerald coves. Crossing continents to embrace the cultural mélange of Paris, the verdant jungles that envelop Angkor Wat, the sparkling waters of the Maldives and the desert cityscape of Dubai. Writing a new chapter in London, elevating artistic brilliance in Istanbul and Warsaw, and commanding skylines in Jakarta, Doha, Boston and Shenzhen, as the new icons of our day.

How a legend is created

Raffles opens

Raffles Hotel Singapore opens, offering 10 rooms in an old bungalow-style building overlooking the beach and the South China Sea. It soon becomes the most fabled hotel in the Far East, and remains so to this day – with a guestbook that reads like a Who's Who.

Raffles International is formed

Raffles International Ltd is formed as the hotel management arm of Raffles Holdings Ltd to redevelop and manage Raffles Hotel Singapore.

Major restoration

Raffles Hotel Singapore reopens on 16 September after a complete restoration that has taken two-and-a-half years. It looks much as it did in 1915 during its elegant heyday.

First expansion of the name

Raffles reopens two landmark hotels in Cambodia – Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, and Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, Siem Reap.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh
Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, Siem Reap
Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, Siem Reap

Travelling to Dubai

Raffles takes its expansion to the Middle East with the opening of Raffles Dubai.

Le Royal Monceau joins

Having been acquired by QDHP, Le Royal Monceau is assigned to Raffles Hotels & Resorts for management.

More openings

Raffles Makkah Palace opens, strengthening the brand's presence in the Middle East. Le Royal Monceau reopens after two years of intense renovation led by the French designer Philippe Starck.

A first resort in the Seychelles

Raffles opens on the north shore of the remote island of Praslin, the brand's first resort and first to open in the Indian Ocean.

Arrival in the Philippines

The Raffles and Fairmont Makati complex opens its doors, the first luxury hotels in 18 years to open in Manila's central business district.

A resort for China

Raffles opens its largest property to date on the island of Hainan, China's southernmost province. It occupies a vast stretch of beach on Clearwater Bay, adjacent to two championship golf courses.

Istanbul opens

Raffles Istanbul opens in the heart of the Zorlu Center, a sought-after address with breathtaking views over the Bosphorus.

A work of art in Jakarta

Jakarta's golden triangle welcomes its first Raffles, a property inspired by the local artist Hendra Gunawan and his work, blending an Indonesian aesthetic with an ultra luxury feel.

Corporate moves

Accor takes over FRHI and with it the Raffles brand, strengthening its portfolio in the ultra luxury segment.

A third European destination

Raffles Europejski Warsaw opens in a neo-Renaissance palace by Enrico Marconi, dating from 1857, in the heart of the city.

Further portfolio expansion

Raffles expands its portfolio to include Raffles Maldives Meradhoo, a peaceful haven in the Indian Ocean; and Raffles Shenzhen, in a glamorous high-rise where the business district meets the city bay. Raffles Singapore reopens after its latest renovation, the return of the legendary flagship.
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo
Raffles Shenzhen
Raffles Shenzhen

Opening in Bali

A collection of 32 exquisite pool villas in tropical hillside gardens with views over Jimbaran Bay opens in Bali. It is a tranquil retreat for emotional wellbeing that elevates the art of intimate hospitality.

Key international destinations

Raffles Udaipur and Raffles The Palm Dubai arrive, bringing fresh perspectives on favourite destinations. Raffles Udaipur is an architectural marvel immersed in a serene natural setting; while Raffles The Palm Dubai is a majestic palace, crafted by masters at the heart of vibrant Dubai.
Raffles Udaipur
Raffles Udaipur
Raffles The Palm Dubai
Raffles The Palm Dubai

Longest-serving member of the Raffles community

Raffles Singapore's Resident Historian, Leslie Danker, celebrates his Golden Jubilee: the longest-serving member of the Raffles community. Mr Danker's 50-year career has led him from maintenance supervisor to 'accidental historian', enthralling guests with nostalgic anecdotes about Raffles Singapore's rich history.

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.

From US$150