Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune
Travel Blog • Alexander Basek • 01.23.09 | 2:31 PM ET
Over at the Hotel Hotsheet, Kitty Bean Yancey is up in arms about the cost of a Singapore Sling at the Raffles in, er, Singapore. Kitty is making a larger point about “hotel sticker shock,” but for our purposes, a pricey Singapore Sling is a fine example of something that’s a struggle for any frequent traveler: the paradox of drinking at the bar of a landmark hotel.
Students of history—and I think it’s fair to include World Hummers in that category—are drawn to historical places, and in a lot of cities, that itinerary includes an old hotel bar. Alas, there’s a premium to “experience” history. The Singapore Sling at Raffles, a martini at the Oak Bar or a glass of champagne at the Ritz are fun, but their pricing hovers just below extortionate on the overpriced scale. And those bars have good service and good ingredients—some hotel bars just coast on reputation alone.
Yet, we go anyway. If you really want to tick off the experience, think of your overpriced cocktail as part drink, part museum ticket. Still, there’s no harm in passing these places by. They’re historic—you’ll likely have another chance to see them, and maybe a drop in business will kick-start some surly waiters into friendliness. I skipped the Raffles my last time through Singapore in favor of the bar where you sit in a wheelchair and sip mixed drinks from an IV. After all, Raffles will be there next time, but something tells me that the wheelchair bar won’t.