The storied properties of Raffles Hotels & Resorts have long played muse to renowned artists and writers, whose creativity was sparked by glamorous settings, intriguing guests and timeless destinations. As former resident and Pulitzer-Prize winner James A. Michener reminisced, “To have been young and had a room at Raffles was life at its best.” Today, lovers of the written word can find access to literary events, classic bars that pay homage to the greats, onsite book offerings and peaceful spots to savour a good read.
The Elegant Corridor at Raffles Singapore
- The luxury brand’s namesake,Raffles Singapore, has hosted many illustrious wordsmiths over the last century, and in recognition offers 12 suites that honour some of the legendary greats that have called the hotel home. Among the unique suites, which are adorned with memorabilia and décor reflecting each author, are tributes to French novelist André Malraux, Welsh travel writer and journalist Gavin Young, and novelist James Michener. Suites are named for Joseph Conrad, whose visit dates back to 1887, soon after the hotel opened, renowned traveller Rudyard Kipling, who visited in 1889, playwright Noel Coward, who was a return visitor for almost 40 years and who finished “Private Lives” while in Singapore, and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Also honoured is dramatist Somerset Maugham, who penned the truism “Raffles Hotel stands for all the fables of the exotic East.” The hotel’s iconicWriters Bar, tucked into the grand lobby, is named for these literary greats, and reflects the glamorous spirit of days gone by.
- Since the early 1900’s,Raffles Beijing has served as an important meeting venue between Chinese and foreign political dignitaries, including Chairman Mao, and Zhou Enlai, but has also attracted literary luminaries.The hotel’s Writers Bar salutes the many Chinese and foreign scribes– including British playwright George Bernard Shaw, American journalist and writer Edgar Snow, Indian poet Rabindrinath Tagore and Chinese novelist Guo Mo Ruo – who have visited or written about the hotel. Theoriginal, pristine timber dance floor, dark leather chairs, intimate alcoves and archival photos create a grand ambience, and the bar is famed for its cocktails and Afternoon Tea.
- Raffles Makatiis proudly part of Manila’s thriving cultural scene, and the hotel actively supports the literary arts, partnering with the country’s biggest bookseller, National Bookstore, on two noteworthy programs. Each month, the hotel hosts an “Author in Residence”, welcoming international writers who conduct book readings and signings, Q&A sessions and media interviews in the hotel’s Writers Bar. Former residents have included Amy Tan (“The Joy Luck Club”), Mitch Alborn (“Tuesdays with Morrie”) and Matthew Quick (“Silver Linings Playbook”). The hotel is also the site of the popular three-day Philippine Literary Festival, where local and international writers converge for talks on various topics. Plans are underway for a third Festival this year. In addition, theWriters Bar provides the ideal spot to recharge and immerse oneself in the written word. Styled as a library, it’s a modern interpretation of the famed Writers Bar at Raffles Singapore.
- The Writers Bar at Raffles Istanbul is a sleek and modern, yet warm and intimate venue where the city’s literary aficionados can gather, meet their favourite writers for animated discussions, and enjoy book readings and signings. In 2015, the program welcomed local authors Gül İrepoğlu, an art historian, and Zülfü Livaneli, a bestselling contemporary author and poet, and plans are underway for more events throughout 2016.
- The breathtaking setting of Raffles Praslin Seychelles, with its stunning Indian Ocean vistas, provides more than enough inspiration for writers looking to recharge, create and tell tall tales. The beautiful views throughout the resort also provide the perfect backdrop for guests seeking the therapeutic power of a good read. The Raffles Boutique & Café stocks a library of books of various genres for guests to borrow, and there are many peaceful spots to settle down with a new find, including the terrace overlooking the sea.
- Raffles Jakartais known for supporting the local cultural community, and also embraces artists of the literary variety at its ownWriters Bar. Here the brand’s signature Bar is reinterpreted as an oasis of art, showcasing Indonesian history, literature and artefacts, as well as serving as a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. Guests can enjoy bespoke tea and coffee blends for a mid-afternoon break, or settle in during the evening for elegant tapas and cocktails.
- Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Parisis home to La Librairie des Arts, the leading contemporary art bookstore in a Parisian luxury hotel. Reflecting the hotel’s pervasive arts and cultural program and also incorporating worldwide cultural current events, La Librairie des Arts is a popular place for locals and visitors to meet and share. The bookstore has a wide selection of works, constantly updated by literary tastemaker and bookseller Marie de Jacquelot, withover 700 titles as well as objects by artists and architects, limited editions and special formats.