Recently a friend and I sat in the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore enjoying a legendary cocktail – the Singapore Sling. I was in awe for those few short moments thinking of all the world explorers before me that had visited this historic hotel. Even I had traveled here once before when I was a mere 18 year old traversing South East Asia and in 2015 in returned! Hotels can either become a lifetime memory or not. Raffles is one of those that welcomes our clients worldwide with that warm smile and superlative service.
When you travel as my client you always arrive as a friend, not just a confirmation number off the internet. Because we know the staff personally from interactions and meetings and therefore you arrive with preferences noted and arrangements in good order. Along with a few good surprises too!
For 126 years, Raffles has gone out of its way to give guests the warmest welcome, the richest experiences, and the fondest of memories. Today, the legend continues all around the world. From the classic colonial splendor of Raffles Singapore where it all began, to Dubai, Seychelles, Cambodia, Paris, Beijing, Hainan, Makati and Makkah, the Raffles name is synonymous with luxury, glamour and extraordinary adventure. Raffles hotels are an oasis of calm and charm at the crossroads of a civilization and are a carefully chosen destination in their own right. Each is uniquely, indefinably, sublimely Raffles.
Now, as Raffles grows and reaches new and sometimes surprising destinations, guests can rest assured that wherever in the world the brand travels, it will remain distinctly Raffles - infused with the same spirit of adventure, luxury and sublime service. Exciting and enchanting, refreshing and reinvigorating, Raffles is loved by those with an adventurous spirit and a taste for the very best. I'd be happy to share more about my visit to Singapore and the legend.
We arrived in the afternoon from Cannes at the Bvlgari hotel which is set on a private street in a quiet residential like area of the city off the Via Montenapoleone, yet we were only a 12 minute walk to the heart of the city. The staff greeted us very warmly as if we were returning friends, grabbing our luggage and check in was a simple flash of our passports and off we were whisked to our rooms.
With only 58 rooms and suites this property has a very proper living room style lobby with fireplace that offered comfortable seating in different areas, light and fun snacks, refreshments and newspapers to enjoy while you waited to meet up with your fellow travelers.
Also, located just a few steps down from the living room is where all the culinary creations flow from the amazing kitchen. We enjoyed a number of meals under the influence and culinary efforts of Chef Roberto Di Pinto from Napoli! There is an amazing brunch on Sundays, I noticed many locals take advantage of this ‘event’. Some even bring their well-behaved pooches for the outing. In the summer I can imagine that the terrace and garden are a delight.
The rooms are vast in size and offer many conveniences – the bathrooms are masterpieces – nearly three smaller rooms in and of themselves. Treat yourself to a warm bath here for sure – there is some magical way that the water temperature remains warm and pleasant for hours after they draw the bath for you – it’s accented with candles for that extra touch. What a way to relax. Great closest space. Very comfortable bedding. For such a contemporary property there is a use of wood that warms everything up. If you have the need for top accommodations the Bulgari Suite is lovely – of course spacious and is designed with touches of what one might find at home, books, art, comfortable seating areas. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a cocktail gathering there on our last evening.
The spa and pool area are dynamite. Very tranquil as one would expect – amazing treatment staff.
The Bulgari Milano is undoubtedly the finest hotel I’ve been in of late because of its comfort, welcoming staff. It's location being only a 5 minute walk to the via Montenapoleone, a 15 minute walk to the Duomo (climb to get an amazing view, it’s 150 steps) and along the way you will find Teatro alla Scala (5 minutes away) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (12 minutes away). Don’t forget to ask us to secure tickets to view The Last Supper well in advance and be on time or you will miss one of the most important things in Milan. I will also recommend a visit to the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano (yes cemetery) it’s a place to enjoy a nice walk under the trees and see the absolutely amazing artistic tombs and monuments. Be certain to see the Campari Family monument if you go. Milano is a bustling city and will be discovered by many this year with the Expo 2015 taking place. Eataly has an outpost here that can be fun for the shopper. Another fun shopping spot is 10 Corso Como, which is a rambling converted garage with a bookshop, café, restaurant, gallery – a great stop along the Corso Como for shopping even if just window shopping. Some spots to not miss for a bite are Sant Ambroeus bakery – amazing at Christmas and Easter or anytime for coffee and pastries. If you go at Christmas absolutely try their Panetonne. The Luigi Zaini chocolate and candy store on via de Cristoforis shows of quiet artistic delightful chocolate treats.
Milano pleasantly surprised me and it will surprise any visitor that delves in before heading off to the Lake District or Florence or the Cinque Terre. If time is short I recommend requesting we secure you a local guide to make the most of your visit.
Everyone deserves a visit to Milan!
Recommended local lunch favorite: Barcaro del Sambuco, see www.ilsambuco.it/
A few dining recommendations include: Dal Salumaio; Trattoria della Pesa (Milanese) and Da Giacomo (fish and Italian).