Saturday, April 25, 2009


Raffles Hotel in Singapore is once again for sale.

I've never been there. I've fantasized going there, lots of times, although I am not certain it really exists. It may only be a state of mind.

My memories though are locked in the teens, 20's and '30's. Somerset Maugham in the Palm Room idling his morning away. Noel Coward or Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad in the billiard room. Beautiful actresses tossing back Singapore Slings. Bette Davis in the 1940 classic, The Letter, white linen and khaki. Explorers, adventurers, soldiers of fortune, planters and missionaries all spent their time here.

The hotel has a glorious history. The last tiger in Singapore was shot under the billiard room. 300 Japanese soldiers committed suicide in the lobby when when Singapore fell to the Americans near the end of WWII.

A modest $450 million will transfer ownership to your name. You get to keep the memories, but the future will never match the past. Sadly, it will never be the same.

Should you happen to buy it, let me know. I'll come.



Martha said...

When husband was in Singapore ages ago he had to stay at The Raffles -- for all of the reasons you listed.

MCC said...

I have been, wish I could go is everything you think it is and more!!!! But as you say, it will never be the same, just as the Greenbrier in West Virginia will never be the same now that it is owned by Marriot. Life goes on..we have our memories and others will make new ones!

ADG said...

Now wait a damn minute Toad. I JUST bought an island off the coast of Italy to establish a soveriegn "patch" for a select few. You can't decamp to Raffles and the island. Perhaps we can have it moved?

Toad said...

ADG, chill. Sometimes you just need a place to go. Changes in latitiudes so to speak. Home is always where your island is.

ADG said...

Toad...I'm cool man. I'm cool.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

I've got a wonderfully silver framed (bamboo look) black and white ad from Raffles hanging on the barroom stairwell wall. Foreign Service friends paid a visit, had a drink and brought me back the poster... it's a beaut: a behatted, dinner jacketed swell with one arm on the corner of the bar holding aloft a cocktail. It reads: "Where else should one partake of the Singapore Sling than at Raffles Hotel?"