The Silo Hotel
Stylish, elegant, high-design
Silo Square, V & A Waterfront Cape Town, South Africa +27 21-670-0500 theroyalportfolio.com
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At a Glance
There’s no place like Liz Biden’s hotels, in large part because they all started as her family’s vacation homes. In 1999, the former fashion entrepreneur transformed the Bidens’ property in Thornybush Private Game Reserve into Royal Malewane, and hospitality in South Africa had a new star. La Residence, in the Cape Winelands, and Birkenhead House, on the coast, followed. Most recently, The Silo opened in a spectacular setting in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront district. While the properties—and their locations—are distinctive, what’s consistent is the personal touch in both the design of the spaces and the service. The Silo’s intimate boutique lodgings seem as transporting as its location, set at the top of a former grain elevator in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront district. The property is a feat of industrial-meets-Art Deco design and showcases the mix-mastery for which Liz Biden is known—and beloved.
The Standout: The architectural details of the building, including its striking geometric windows (designed by Thomas Heatherwick), with 56 glass panels each for optimal views
Don’t Miss: Having a swim in the rooftop infinity pool or a cocktail at the adjacent bar—both with views of the city’s iconic Table Mountain
- The excellent collection of contemporary South African art, evidenced by hundreds of colorful, dramatic pieces gracing the rooms and common spaces
- The chic rooftop bar with 360-degree views of Cape Town
- The opulent guest rooms, each one unique and a true feast for the eyes
The Silo Hotel Review
In the shipping port-cum-trendy downtown hub of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, the Silo Hotel commands attention. Its exterior is a spectacle: a series of giant, pillowed glass windows, with geometric panes tinted blue in the reflecting sun. A project nearly 10 years in the making, the boutique hotel is part of an exciting urban development involving the restoration of the city’s historic grain silo, which also houses the Zeitz-MOCAA Art Museum.
Guests enter the Silo on the ground floor, where their first eyeful of the hotel includes a glorious collection of modern art. There, juxtaposed with the building’s original grain hoppers, a giant industrial chandelier hangs amidst a sitting area where the exhibited, often evocative art, is rotated regularly.
The wow factor continues as guests are whisked upstairs to the 6th-floor lobby. Framed by the unmistakable pillowed-glass windows, the space is decorated with plush velvet sofas, vintage barstools and industrial light fixtures: an opulent glass jewel box in the sky. There, the Willaston Bar and fine dining restaurant can be found. And on the 11th floor, the Silo’s rooftop bar has a sleek pool and hip atmosphere. The pièce de résistance is a raised, grass-covered pavilion–the hotel’s highest point–which offers 360-degree views of the seaside city, which backs up against Table Mountain.
Despite its commanding presence, the Silo is quite intimate with only 28 colorful guest rooms, each with incredible harbor views and 18-foot ceilings. The designer’s eclectic style shines in each room: plush textures complement Art Deco antiques; brightly painted furniture offsets colonial touches; quirky modern art hangs below palatial chandeliers; and sky-high ceilings frame the now iconic, geometric-paned windows. And while Biden’s baroque style reigns, the Silo’s rooms are given an edge with exposed steel beams and the subtle use of industrial materials throughout–a nod to the building’s factory heritage. The result is an innovative contrast of old and new: a testament to Biden’s careful curation and serious eye.
As is expected, the Silo excels at another piece of the hotel puzzle: dining. While the property has its fair share of culinary competition, the Silo has already established itself as a staple of the city’s gastronomic scene. The Silo’s all-day eatery, Granary Café, offers tried-and-true favorites like excellent Sunday roast and indulgent afternoon tea; while the dinner menu features elevated seasonal fare like seafood bouillabaisse and rabbit tortellini. A rooftop tempura bar serves charcoal-fired delights and creative desserts.
When not exploring Cape Town, guests can take advantage of the Silo’s private art gallery, gym and spa.
Who Should Stay: The Silo is a true city hotel, best for art and design aficionados who want to be based centrally, as well as couples and groups who appreciate high-design and an ideal location. While the hotel is extremely stylish, it nevertheless offers amenities and room categories that will suit families traveling with kids, including several two bedroom suites.