When the original Raffles Hotel was opened in 1887 by Armenian brothers, Martin and Tigran Sarkies, it did so with a mind for innovation. A stunning example of colonial design, it became noted as a hotel that would accept guests of any race – something it was occasionally belittled for at the time.
Named after Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, the hotel at number 1 Beach Road soon became the most famed landmark of the Southeast Asian city-state. It’s known for the Singapore Sling cocktail – created by barman Ngiam Tong Boon in 1910 – and, rather less glamorously, for shooting the sole surviving wild tiger in Singapore, which had escaped a nearby show and found itself in Raffles’ Long Bar.
Bought by Qatar Investment Authority in 2010, it’s now one of 10 Raffles properties worldwide.; yet it’s the original that people still talk about.