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Travel & Leisure

Singapore's landmark Raffles Hotel emerges from long renovation

Historic deluxe lodging adds digital upgrades to take on new rivals

Rooms start at almost $1,000 a night at the newly renovated hotel.  (Photo by Mayuko Tani)

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's famed Raffles Hotel reopened Thursday after closing its doors for a year and eight months for renovations, wielding high-tech services behind its historic facade and reputation as it faces down a growing host of luxury rivals.

The hotel added 12 new suites for a total of 115, including some equipped with kitchens for long-term guests. Other additions include room service options accessible by tablet. A night at the luxury lodging will start at 1,300 Singaporean dollars ($949).

The hotel was opened in 1887 under British colonial rule, and captured the fancy of figures including William Somerset Maugham, a well-known British writer in the early 20th century. Appearances in film have further boosted its global renown. But in recent years the Raffles faced visible deterioration, as well as the rise of competing facilities like the Marina Bay Sands casino resort.

The Raffles Singapore's owner, an investment firm linked to the government of Qatar, decided to embark on a wholesale renovation after the hotel's operations shifted to French hotel group Accor, which purchased the Raffles brand in 2016.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival in, and foundation of, Singapore by Raffles' namesake, Britain's Thomas Stamford Raffles. Accor has announced plans to open a second Raffles Hotel on the city's island of Sentosa in 2022.

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