The Raffles Hotel is one of the pillars of Singapore’s high-class social fabric, so much that director Jon M. Chu couldn’t skip it as a location for one of the summer’s most anticipated movies, Crazy Rich Asians.
In the movie, the 130-year-old Raffles Hotel plays the part of the Kingsford Hotel, owned by the Khoo family. Colin Khoo is Nick Young’s best friend, and it’s for his wedding that Nick and his girlfriend (and protagonist) Rachel leave New York City and fly to Singapore.
In reality, the Hotel has had a long list of illustrious guests, from Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Taylor to Michael Jackson and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and its Long Bar is the birthplace of the famous gin-based Singapore Sling. Raffles has actually been closed since December, and the Crazy Rich Asians production managed to sneak in and secure a wing to shoot their scenes in before the hotel closed down completely. It will reopen again early in 2019 after a series of renovations that will update the property and even add new buildings to it, and focus even more on turning Raffles into a unique culinary experience.
With 10 food spaces and a total of 1100 seats against 115 suites, the hotel will have more tables than beds, and three new chefs to fill those tables with great food. La Dame de Pic dining room will be run by Michelin-star chef Anne-Sophie Pic from Valence, in France. The Bar & Billboard Room will be managed by chef Alaine Ducasse, another Frenchman, while the Yì will be the reign of chef Jereme Leung, an expert in Chinese cuisine. The Raffles Hotel restaurant was the first one to have a French chef when it opened in 1899, so it only makes sense that they’re bringing back in talent from the European country.
The “new” Raffles Hotel will also have a writers bar to pay homage to some of its most famous patrons, Ernest Hemingway chief among them. So if you’re looking to have a Crazy Rich Asians-inspired visit of Singapore, make sure to stay in the Raffles spacious new lobby once it reopens.
For more information, you can check out the Hotel’s official website here. In the meantime, Crazy Rich Asians comes out in cinemas today.