1887 – Raffles Hotel Singapore opens, offering 10 rooms in an old bungalow-style building overlooking the beach and the South China Sea. It soon becomes – and remains – the most fabled hotel in the Far East, with a guest list that reads like a Who’s Who.
The hotel’s legendary Long Bar is where the famous cocktail, the “Singapore Sling” was created in 1915. Other exclusive drinks added to the menu include “personality cocktails” inspired by Somerset Maugham and James Michener, writers who stayed at the Raffles. The playwright, novelist and actor, Noel Coward was a guest at Raffles several times beginning in 1931. However, the hotel’s literary tradition is believed to date back to 1888, when Joseph Conrad was a guest, and Rudyard Kipling dined there. The Writers Bar in the hotel’s lobby honors these writers. During the 1950s, Hollywood stars, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor were Raffles guests.