My only disappointment? That in the elegance of the Bar and Billiard Room I wasn’t truly back in the ‘thirties and surrounded by linen-suited rubber plantation owners, handsome officers in tropical white uniforms, and beautifully dressed and coiffured women waving ivory cigarette holders while complaining of the trials of living in the colonies. Oh, I should have lived then! As one of the must-do’s during our far-too-short stay in Singapore, this was at the top of the list and oh, Raffles, you didn’t disappoint. The architecture! The heritage! The sheer grandeur and and unashamed refinement of a bygone era! You have truly stolen my heart.
Backing up a day, and after leaving a slightly overcast Auckland around lunch-time we arrived in Singapore some twelve hours later on the first leg of our trip back to Europe. And yes, this island city-state is as pristine and as wealthy as I’d read. Browsing the 300 or so luxury Marina Bay Sands retail outlets (shoppes, darlink, not a mall!) and celebrity chef restaurants was an eye-watering experience in itself! In one area, a mini ice-rink and designer stores catered solely for children, in another a canal complete with bridges and gondolas!
If there was one other moment that blew me away, it was the view from the top of the Flyer, and seeing the number of ships moored out in the harbour. There were dozens upon dozens upon dozens of them. Oil tankers, huge container vessels, you name it! Were they all waiting to come in to port and off-load? I’ve no idea!
In hindsight we should have allowed more time here, and with so much we didn’t see we’ve already decided THIS is definitely the place for a long weekend in the not-too-distant future!