Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Squint a little and it’s easy to imagine how the all-suite Raffles must once have felt when the sea lapped up along its promenade, and Noël Coward and Somerset Maugham sat in the lobby bar tossing back Singapore Slings beneath the lazily twirling fans. The beach has long since been paved over, but thanks to sensitive renovations, the hotel still retains an old-world gravitas (only with added comforts like Wi-Fi, DVD players, and a butler who can be summoned at the touch of a button). The 103 colonial-themed suites, set in cloister-like buildings with breezy verandas, surround sweeping private lawns; all have 14-foot ceilings and are outfitted with carved Peranakan furniture, Oriental rugs spread over polished teak floors, rich brocade fabrics, and baths stocked with Amrita Spa products. Though it just celebrated its 121st birthday, the hotel is still a magnet for A-listers (Elizabeth Taylor, Diane von Furstenberg, and Barry Diller have all stayed here). And the bar still mixes a mean Singapore Sling.
Insider Tip: Textile connoisseurs will thrill to the hotel’s collection of more than 700 Oriental rugs. The huge handwoven Persian carpet in the lobby is the work of legendary master carpet-maker Saber.
Room to Book: The Sarkies Suite is furnished with Chinese blackwood cupboards, Tiffany flatware, and Bose sound systems.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.