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Monday 23rd August - Singapore
By Claire
Wednesday, 25th August 2004 13:49

We had a couple of hours to spare between checking out of the hostel and in to Raffles so Mikey copied some photo CDs and uploaded some website things. We went for a little wander too, and I found some sugared peanuts for lunch, and then we took a taxi to Raffles.

We were met by a white-uniformed doorman and several porters who took our bags. We checked in and we were escorted to our rooms. Yep, there were four of them, although two were bathrooms so that doesn't count! The man showing us to our room pointed out places of interest on the way, like the spa and swimming pool and some of the restaurants (there are eighteen of them) and told us a bit about the history of the hotel. We walked along polished floorboards around the central residential area, the air warm and filled with the smells of a particularly fragrant white flower that I haven't found the name of yet, and came to our suite, where two ladies, our personal on-call valets, were waiting to show us around. With a lot of bowing and smiling and 'Welcome to Raffles Mrs and Mr Poore' we were shown our rooms: the parlour with the chocolates, fruit and very scented red roses; the bedroom with a seven-foot wide bed and gorgeous feather duvet; the dressing room, larger than our bathroom at home, and the bathroom which had an enormous shower and nice deep bath. The two ladies said that if we wanted anything at all we should press the button on the bedside table or phone them (there was a phone in the bathroom for just such a reason) and they would help us immediately. I felt a bit intimiated by all the bowing, and they finally left, backwards out of the room, so that I could look around.

The place was huge. Our bags arrived and there was a lot more bowing and welcoming to Raffles, and we were on our own. There was a letter welcoming us, some gift vouchers for the hotel shops and a box of handmade chocolates on the table with the fruit. We lounged around for a while and tried out all the furniture, then wandered round the hotel to take a couple of photos. I had a long, hot bath (my first since New Zealand at the beginning of June) and Mikey ordered Singapore Slings, which arrived in seconds and we sat around with scary pink drinks that tasted slightly of cherries. Then we went to find the spa.

I had booked a reflexology massage (thank you so much to Mikey's mum and dad for that birthday present!) and once again everyone knew who we were and welcomed us by name. By this stage I'd remembered the politeness of offering and receiving everything with both hands, which was a little disconcerting at first, so the locker keys proved no problem! An elderly Japanese man gave me the most painful (but strangely satisfying) hour-long reflexology session and a cup of peppermint tea and then I joined Mikey in the beautiful pool.

the swimming pool at Raffles Hotel.

In the olden days the hotel would probably have been on its own in an oasis of greenery, but nowadays land is so valuable that skyscrapers dominate the horizon. So the pool, on the third floor, the roof of the hotel, had an amazing view of the tower blocks everywhere. I think the people living in the high-rises must have quite an impressive view too! We swam for a bit and sat in the very hot hot-tub, and then I lounged in the steam room until I couldn't cope any more, and went to find Mikey back in the room. Who was on the phone. It always worries me when the phone rings in a hotel and you have no idea why, but this time it was fantastic - Seb phoned to say hello, taking advnatage of the only time he knew where we were! That was so nice, it made the day perfect.

I turned the music up loudly in the bathroom and had a nice long shower. Just as I finished, three people came in to tidy the bathroom and give us new towels, which made me think that they have little cameras to watch our every move. They even put slippers out for us and remade the bed after we'd sat on it. There was more bowing and then I could get ready for dinner. There were fantastic views of the city lights from the hotel, which we saw on the way to the restaurant.

Singapore by night, from Raffles.

We had excellent steaks and far too much supper, and then I got lost on the way back to the room, which had nothing to do with the wine. I fell asleep almost straight away, in the most wonderfully comfortable bed, with feather pillows and duvet and slept forever.

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