LAST UPDATED: 17th September 2014 at 5:05pm

The brazen speed at which Singapore is regenerating itself hits you in much the same way the tropical heat greets you off the plane at snazzy Changi airport.


Just 646sq km, this city state is home to more high rises, skyparks, biodomes and sparkly new condominiums than you can shake a stick at, but duck round the corner onto Beach Road and you are greeted by an altogether different sight. An oasis of calm - the Raffles hotel.

A sublime example of 19th-century colonial architecture, slip beyond its camera-laden-tourist-filled front doors and you are transported to an era of bygone glamour. A world where liveried doormen, fans hung from lofty ceilings and 40-year-old frangipani trees greet you much as they would have greeted Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin and Noël Coward when they stayed. Don't expect flatscreen TVs (they have the pregnant kind) or power showers (the bathrooms need a bit of love) - you've got nearby Fullerton Bay for that. Instead, Raffles' charm lies in its heritage (take a tour with resident historian Leslie), the kind many hotels have tried to replicate but at which so few succeed.


WOW FACTOR Come for the cocktail (it's the home of the Singapore Sling), and stay for colonial sophistication at its most original. The Sarkies Suite is the mack daddy, but all are equally wonderful.

FLIGHT TIME 13hrs from the UK

GO The Turquoise Holiday Company offers three nights from £1,680 per person. Includes flights and transfers


LAST UPDATED: 24th August 2014 at 2:19pm

Raffles has to be one of the most celebrated hotels in the world. Opened in 1887 by a quartet of Armenian brothers and named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, this old-school star of the city's hotel scene provides the perfect stop-off for honeymooners flying long-haul. The mood is one of colonial opulence - white interiors, dark wood shutters and ceiling fans that encourage tropical breezes to blow through each sumptuous suite. It's impossible to resist a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar, a fruity mix of cherry brandy, pineapple juice, grenadine and gin invented here 100 years ago. The Long Bar is also one place in Singapore where littering is not just legal but encouraged, due to the tradition of guests tucking into bowls of peanuts and discarding the shells on the floor. Wow factor: Not many hotels have their own museum. Flight time: From 13 hours. Go: Book with Turquoise Holidays; call 01494 678400 or visit for more details or email