If the walls in these hotels could talk, they would have some pretty interesting stories to tell. Next time you're booking a holiday you might want to consider staying at one of these historical hotels.
After more than two years of renovation legendary Raffles Hotel in Singapore reopened in August 2019, more stylish than ever, preserving its historic architecture while providing the luxurious experience it has been famous for since the 19th century.
Back in the day Raffles Singapore introduced the world to private butlers, the Singapore Sling and impeccable service – which all endure today – and its hallowed halls have played host to stars from the golden era such as Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Taylor to, more recently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the stars of the film Crazy Rich Asians.
Favourites are still there in newly refreshed surrounds, including Long Bar, the home of the Singapore Sling (and now you can also take a masterclass in how to create it), the Grand Lobby, the place to be seen sipping on a delicious afternoon tea, and the Tiffin Room which has been serving its specialty northern Indian cuisine since 1892. New additions to tempt discerning travellers include the opening of new restaurants by master chefs Alain Ducasse and Jereme Leung as well as Michelin three-star chef Anne-Sophie Pic.
The Arts District Firehouse Hotel is a nine-room boutique hotel complete with restaurant, bar, café and retail shop in a cleverly repurposed fire station that was originally built in 1927. It’s been 40 years since the bright red doors opened to screeching sirens but the building retains its storied past and architecture and today those red doors swing open to let guests into a light-filled lobby and lounge. Circles on the floor are clues to where the fire poles once stood and while the whole upper floor has been transformed into eight guest suites, original factory windows, exposed woodtruss ceilings, wood floors, and niches that used to house Virgin Mary statues watching over the firefighters are still in place. The hotel has a handy map that identifies funky shopping and dining (it is practically on the doorstep of highly sought after Italian eatery Bestia, called ‘hot and hip’ by the Michelin Guide).
Great Scotland Yard Hotel, occupying the landmark building that was once home to the iconic London Metropolitan Police Service, is now taking reservations ahead of its official opening in October. The historical character of the building has been preserved and the original façade retained while inside it has become a luxury 152-room Hyatt branded hotel.
Prolific chef and local star Robin Gill oversees signature restaurant The Yard, tea room The Parlour and bars Forty Elephants and whisky-centric Sibin, and it’s walking distance to St James Park, The Mall, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and only a little further stride to Covent Garden.