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"Raffles Hotel, Singapore" ©2001 photo Elroy Christenson
The Raffles Hotel is one of the most well known colonial buildings in Singapore. Built in 1887, it was the center of British colonial rule throughout Southeast Asia. Sir Stamford Raffles (1781-1826) had been the governor of Singapore and Indonesia as well as a major explorer of Asia. He was the first to designate Singapore as a free-port. The hotel brought together traders and power brokers from Hong Kong, Jakarta and Calcultta. It made its reputation by catering to the needs of the British who passed through the Straits Colony. This included having a Tiffin Room and a Long Bar where Guinness beer was always available 10,000 miles from home. Many famous visitors stayed here including Somerset Maughm, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling, Herman Hesse, Orson Wells, and John Lennon.