Raffles Singapore has revealed further details of its forthcoming revamp to Business Traveller.

The historic hotel will begin a 16-month refurbishment in mid-February that will retain the property’s “rich heritage feel” and “sense of the golden age of travel” while modernising its facilities, said Simon Hirst, the property’s general manager.

Hirst said: “It’s time to refresh and reimagine and make it distinctive again. It’s got to be done very carefully and sensitively as it’s a national treasure to Singaporeans.” The 103-suite property last underwent a full revamp between 1989 and 1991.

As previously reported, the works will take place in three phases, with the property staying open for the first two before closing for the final six months. “Because of the layout of the hotel we can do it in sections,” Hirst said. A microsite will be set up online to keep guests informed of progress.

The first phase will see the restoration of the Raffles Hotel Arcade, which is home to 40 shops, event space and food and drink outlets such as the Long Bar and Steakhouse. A second, larger ballroom will be added with capacity for 300-plus guests.

A new, larger spa will also open in the Arcade and will be “a wonderful addition” to the property, Hirst said. It will be open to the public as well as hotel guests. The gym will also triple in size.

Phase two will begin in August, when the main hotel building will be revamped, with reception temporarily moving to the East India event rooms and the Bar and Billiard room being used for all-day dining.

About half of the suites will stay open during this time. Hirst said that the overall room count would remain “very similar” to the current 103. The suites will receive new furnishings, colour schemes, bathrooms and improved technology. Walk-in dressing areas will be added in some larger suites.

The hotel will close in December for the final phase before opening “grandly, and hopefully famously, in the middle of 2018”, Hirst said.

New food concepts are planned for the Grill and the Bar and Billiard room, designed to attract more diners from outside the hotel. “It’s time to connect more with local people”, Hirst said. An all-day lobby-lounge dining offering is also planned.

Raffles Hotels and Resorts will open a Warsaw property late next year, a restoration of the former Hotel Europejski. Properties are also planned for Jeddah in 2018, Sharm el-Sheikh and Shenzhen in 2019, and Suzhou in 2020.