Raffles Singapore: evolution of a national monument

Christian Westbeld is overseeing the restoration of one of the world’s most famous hotels. We asked him about the challenges he and his team have been facing.

The main responsibility in restoring this national icon is to deliver a result that shows the hotel having evolved gracefully over time to suit and adapt to today’s travellers and the local community, while still maintaining the property’s original charm and unique ambience. It is also important to deliver a restoration that is appropriate for a national monument synonymous with Singapore and global luxury hospitality.

How does it feel being at the helm of such an iconic property, and what are the biggest challenges you face?

The biggest challenge that any hotelier today faces is to anticipate and exceed the changing expectations and needs of the traveller and to build young, passionate and dedicated teams around this fast-changing environment. Hotels are not competing with hotels alone anymore, but with every service provider offering that special experience or story.

How important will F&B be at Raffles when it reopens?

F&B will be of utmost importance. The curation of our diversified and bold dining concepts was a careful process. Celebrity chefs like Alain Ducasse, Anne-Sophie Pic and Jereme Leung have chosen to partner Raffles Hotel Singapore to present dining concepts that befit one of the world’s landmark hotels. These will be complemented with the return of restaurant and bar experiences closely associated with this national icon. In the Writers Bar and Long Bar, award-winning bartenders Paul Hammond and Priscilla Leong will continue the Raffles tradition of cocktail excellence.

Hall 26a / Stand 122

Photo: Christian Westbeld General Manager, Raffles Singapore