However, do you know that within the hotel itself, you will be able to witness how the Raffles Hotel grew and developed with the expanding tourism industry in Singapore during the late 19th Century and early 20th Century? For that, look no further than the Raffles Hotel Museum. The museum itself was constructed in 1991 along with a major renovation of the hotel. Since then, it has showcased the entire history of the hotel through a display of various artifacts such as photographs, articles and posters from our colonial and pre-independence eras.
Once you've stepped into the museum, journey through the stages of the hotel since its founding in 1887 and its naming after our founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, to becoming the famous establishment it is today. Let it take you back in time to the Golden Age of Travel (1880-1939), where explorers and other visitors to Singapore greatly increased in numbers, leading to the early expansion of the hotel. What started out as a 10-room colonial bungalow gradually grew with the addition various recreational facilities such as the billiard rooms, ballrooms and expansions such as extension buildings.
Inside the Raffles Hotel Museum
The museum also takes you into the dark era of Singapore - before World War II, and during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. During World War II, the Raffles Hotel had become a transit camp for prisoners of war. Thankfully, it survived and was able to resume normal operations after the war. Here at the museum, you'll be able to see the “battle scars” that toughened our nation, as well as how the Raffles Hotel managed to tide through the fierce resistance against Japanese intruders back then.
Other highlights of the museum that you mustn’t miss are the Victorian-styled playhouse theatre (the Jubilee Hall) and the tropical garden courtyard which will definitely be a source of relaxation for lovers of nature.
Also housed here is the secret recipe to the trademark Singapore Sling, concocted in 1915 by the then bar captain Ngiam Tong Boon. The Singapore Sling is a cocktail that has been popular with many Singaporeans, though the recipe used for the drinks outside Raffles Hotel are different from the original recipe.
If you're keen on purchasing souvenirs from the Hotel, don't miss the retailers in the Raffles Hotel Shop, located within the Raffles Hotel Arcade on the first storey. It offers a large variety of souvenirs that all carry the essence of Raffles Hotel's rich and still very much well-conserved heritage. Various other collectibles you will be able to purchase from the store would be clothing and gifts. This is definitely the surest way to tell all your friends that you've seen, heard and the experienced the unique heritage of one of Singapore's oldest and most celebrated luxury hotels.
One of the many retailers at Raffles Hotel arcade