MICE interest presents a “surprise” for revamped Raffles Singapore

Raffles Hotel Singapore has reopened on August 1, after a top-to-toe restoration of its façade and facilities including event spaces that took approximately two years.

And even though the hotel has just reopened, Christian Westbeld, its general manager, told TTGmice that “quite a few MICE events are already on the calendar”.

Foyer of the grand Jubilee Ballroom

He added: “It’s interesting that since we launched we actually have quite a bit of interest raised by MICE groups, a segment we did not expect (when plans were being outlined for the restoration) two years ago. We are a leisure-driven hotel overall.”

Having said that, Westbeld noted a growing trend for bleisure, where Raffles Hotel Singapore is currently seeing more high-level corporate visitors bringing their families along on business trips.

Besides having 115 all-new suites to choose from, event planners can also pick from seven indoor and outdoor function spaces, the largest being the Jubilee Ballroom which can hold up to 500 guests cocktail-style.

“We are hearing from lifestyle corporate and MICE that they love the Jubilee Ballroom. I think that has to do with our position as an iconic and legendary hotel of the 19th century that has just gone through a complete overhaul. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll also complete the installation of an LCD screen in that ballroom,” Westbeld added.

Formerly known as the Jubilee Hall, the venue now features 24 large, glittering chandeliers that hang from six-metre-high ceilings. In addition, the hotel offers three other redesigned function rooms: Casuarina Suite (80-180 guests); East India Room (120-180 guests); and Palm Ballroom (155-320 guests).

Westbeld revealed that the East India room was one of the more preferred spaces as it offered direct access from Beach Road. In this case, it was great for groups that had its VIPs housed at Raffles Hotel Singapore, while other delegates were put up at sister hotel, Swissôtel The Stamford, just across the road.

Meanwhile, all 10 of Raffles Hotel Singapore’s restaurants will also be tied in with event services, as Westbeld revealed that celebrity chefs can be brought into a gala dinner, or a Singapore Sling masterclass could be conducted at the Long Bar. Planners can also choose to cater from any of the restaurants and bars in the hotel.

The 10 F&B concepts range from French restaurant La Dame de Pic by Anne-Sophie Pic of three-Michelin-star Maison Pic in Valence, France; to the Tiffin Room serving up North Indian cuisine in tiffin boxes. Meanwhile, chef Jereme Leung will oversee both his restaurant yì by Jereme Leung, as well as the banquet kitchen handling Chinese cuisine.

Westbeld gave an example of a C-suite event making use of several hotel spaces: “It can be welcome cocktails in the Palm Garden, followed by a meeting in East India Room, and then a board dinner in La Dame de Pic.”

When asked what he thinks of Singapore’s business events sector, Westbeld said: “I think in general, the sector will keep growing as the city has such an amazing infrastructure that will support the market.

“And Raffles is absolutely ready to be part of it.”

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