Singapore Sling – at Raffles

Posted by jerry on July 26th, 2006 — Posted in Journal, Travel

Raffles, Singapore

Raffles is well worth seeing – for all that Singapore does surface glitz, Raffles is different. I suspect the place is far cleaner than in Somerset Maugham’s day. The Long Bar was full, but perfectly recreated in dark woods. Discrete signs say that you are welcome to sweep your peanut shells onto the floor – it is a tradition, despite Singapore’s stringent littering laws. It is all about ambience. The quaintly Victorian nude painting hangs above the bar and the ceiling fans sway lazily to and fro on their complex mechanism – despite the icy air conditioning: it adds to the atmosphere.


I found a seat in the Raffles courtyard. The floor singer was accompanied by electric piano and bass. She is good, even if the selection of material is ’60s Cobana style befitting an early Bond movie – but somehow it fits the setting perfectly.

A Singapore sling at Raffles is not to be hurried, but rather, savoured with friends. At SN$19.00 it is not a drink for the slaking of a thirst among the palm trees and white Colonial splendour of the inner courtyard.

Singapore Sling at Raffles, Singapore

The Sling is like a pink fruit punch with a dryness on the palette that tells you that somewhere beneath the pink froth and fruit lies a gin or vodka heart. It is served with a slice of pineapple and a glace cherry – which complements the fruity liquid. I suspect that one could easily consume several without realising the inexorable effect it will have
on one’s knees when you attempt to stand. But price will limit most people to just one.

I paid with a fifty – but had to ask later for the change. Interesting. Raffles is still a residential hotel, but in keeping with the Singaporean trend of squeezing some extra enticement for the Western dollar, the upper floors along the balconies are lined with
shops. Not just any shops either – Tiffany – the real jeweller, exclusive ceramic boutiques, and Georg Jensen are all there, along with some exclusive galleries.

As the clock swept closer to 11.00pm I decided to call it a night and walked back to the hotel. As I passed through the Marina Plaza shopping centre I found that Singapore does close at night – the shopkeepers were just locking up for the night – it would have been a
long day for them. Meanwhile another breed of Sinagporean came to life – the riggers and maintenance workers – mainly Indians – were stringing up tomorrow’s banners and festoons of lights.

Time for a quiet coffee in the hotel before sleep and the 0800 departure for the airport to catch the 0930 flight home.

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