QT-Online / Sunday, October 20, 2019 / Categories: Top News Katara Hospitality officially reopens Raffles Singapore with grand celebrations Satyendra Pathak Singapore Katara Hospitality, Qatar-based global hotel owner, developer and operator marked the official reopening of Raffles Hotel Singapore with grand celebrations on Friday. Called the Raffles-Reopening Festival, more than 2,000 people turned up for the ticketed lavish ‘block party’ held to celebrate its official reopening. With each person paying $300, the proceeds of $600,000 will go towards the S$1 million the hotel will donate to Community Chest Singapore. A flagship property within the world’s leading augmented hospitality group Accor, the official reopening of Raffles Hotel Singapore began with a traditional lion dance ritual, followed by a commemorative ribbon-cutting ceremony. The four-hour event had tasting portions of food served at the hotel’s restaurants, accompanied by live performances from a veritable who’s who of Singapore's music scene. In a statement released on the occasion, Katara Hospitality Chairman Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani said, “Raffles Singapore represents a true hospitality jewel in our portfolio of iconic hotels. It is the ultimate in luxurious hospitality, built on many, many years of tradition and innovation. The property has undergone a meticulous and sensitive restoration that marries contemporary design with the hotel’s colonial architectural style, ensuring that this remains as one of Singapore’s historic landmarks.” “Katara Hospitality’s vision is to build and to develop a portfolio of leading hotels in key destinations around the world. We are proud of what has been achieved together with our partner, Accor. Raffles Singapore is a true reflection of our vision that ensures the heritage of such iconic properties continues around the world,” he said. The meticulous restoration led by acclaimed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud was also supported by Aedas Singapore, a leading global architecture and design firm. Together, the designers created a refreshed social haven that delivers a compelling mix of culture, beauty, and gentility. Exquisite new suite categories, vibrant lifestyle experiences, and exclusive dining concepts are designed for international visitors and Singaporeans to meet, stay, shop, dine and celebrate. Discerning travellers can expect new levels of unrivalled comfort and inimitable service with enhanced suite experience brought to life by the fabled Raffles Butlers, while enjoying the new spaces at Raffles Singapore. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin said, “We are very pleased to partner with Katara Hospitality, the owners of Raffles Singapore for the iconic property’s official return to the city, completely refreshed, reimagined and revitalised. This is where it all started and faithful to its roots, Raffles Singapore reinvents emotional luxury. As the hotel concludes its restoration and embarks on the next chapter, the return of this flagship property to Raffles Hotels and Resorts paves the way for the expansion of the brand as we deliver this same level of unparalleled service and sublime experiences to new destinations in cities such as Udaipur, London and Boston.” Providing live entertainment were singer Kit Chan, indie-pop band The Sam Willows, singer and songwriter Inch Chua and musician Jeremy Monteiro, who performed with a jazz quartet and singer Alemay Fernandez. Guests who like comedy had a belly-full of laughs watching actor and comedian Hossan Leong perform several stand-up routines. The revamped hotel features 115 luxurious suites, an increase from 103. One of them was opened for guests to have a view. Katara Hospitality Acting Chief Executive Officer Andrew Humphries said Singapore is fast emerging as a choice location for developers of iconic tourist destinations as the country have one of the best business environments in the world. “Our investment in this incredible project marks another example of our commitment to the Singapore market,” he said. “It has been an amazing journey to return this unique property to its rightful place as Singapore’s icon,” he said. “For more than a century, this historic architectural gem has provided exceptional hospitality and hosted dignitaries and celebrities, as well as business and leisure travellers. The legendary Raffles Singapore epitomises the opulence and impeccable service standards characteristic of Singapore hospitality. We look forward to continuing its long-standing tradition of excellence,” Humphries said. The guests indulged in fine gourmet experiences through tasting portions from menus of the Grand Lobby, Tiffin Room, La Dame de Pic, BBR by Alain Ducasse, Burger & Lobster and Raffles Courtyard throughout the event. The donation will go to about 80 charities, including social services that help children with special needs and youth-at-risk, adults with disabilities and persons with mental health conditions. “Contributing back to society has always been a significant part of our celebrations and we would like to thank Community Chest Singapore, and everyone who has been a part of our charity efforts,” said Raffles Hotel general manager Christian Westbeld. “As we reopen, we aim to be the pride of Singapore on the world's hospitality stage, creating timeless experiences through legendary service,” he said. Raffles Hotel reopened its doors in August after an almost two-year revamp. Established in 1887 by Armenian hoteliers, it is now owned by hotel developer Katara Hospitality. Westbeld said, “As we commemorate the iconic return of Raffles Hotel Singapore, we are deeply humbled by the overwhelming support and the generosity that we have received from the wider community, our partners and friends. We look forward to the next chapter of our illustrious history and to continue delivering the legendary Raffles service with our elevated and enhanced Raffles experiences and offerings.” The revitalised Raffles Singapore offers luxurious all-suite accommodations, across nine distinct suite categories like State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Grand Hotel Suites, and Presidential Suites. Residence, Promenade and Studio suites, are the three latest additions to the hotel’s existing line-up. The Raffles Arcade has been newly outfitted with a charming Raffles Boutique and various bespoke retail brands. Declared National Monument a century later by the Singapore Government in 1987, Raffles Singapore has through the years, gained both local and international recognition as an oasis for the well-travelled. 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