A Contemporary Art Hotel: The Silo, Cape Town – Hotel Review
Check-in for contemporary art and architecture
In 2017, The Silo opened on Cape Town’s waterfront, revolutionising the city’s five-star hotel landscape – and its art scene, too. Occupying six floors above Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgie Bentley-Buckle checked into this cool Cape Town hotel that stands tall in the centre of the city.
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Hotel Review: The Silo, Cape Town
At 57 metres, when it first opened in August 1924, the industrial building that now houses The Silo was the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa. Standing empty and unused for 16 years before being transformed into The Silo, Cape Town flourished around the original building before its closure in 2001, after nearly 80 years at the epicentre of the city’s industrial development.
Part of The Royal Portfolio, the architectural artistry seen now in The Silo is the result of three years of construction. Located on the city’s Waterfront, The Silo’s geometric windows form a reflective honeycomb that glows against the neighbouring harbour each night. This striking aesthetic continues inside, with the hotel’s private art collection containing over 300 pieces.
The unique, pillowed windows brazenly frame the 360-degree views from within. This notably includes the 28 individually curated rooms that are sun kissed throughout the day – from the pink skies of sunrise to the warm, late afternoon sun. With windows taller than they are wide, The Penthouse has triple aspect views of Table Mountain, while the two Royal Suites face the ocean and Robben Island. Overlooking the city and mountains, our Deluxe Suite – with amethyst furnishings and mirrored surfaces – had a confident character, embracing the excitement of the city while revelling in utter opulence.
The Silo’s Sky Terrace showcases views that are both rural and urban. A glamorous place that welcomes hotel residents and visitors, many step through the elevator doors throughout the day in search of a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar. On the other side of the rooftop, sun loungers and sofas are spread around an open kitchen, leading toward the swimming pool. This side is exclusively reserved for hotel residents; here, we drank mango margaritas and ate fresh oysters, cooling off in the sky-high pool.
A sanctuary within the city, Silo Spa houses five treatment rooms, and therapies are in keeping with the hotel’s luxurious persona. For me, this included the hot crystal massage, with oils to soothe the skin from the hot African sun. Unlike the remainder of the hotel which invites the outside in, The Silo’s spa is concealed quietly in the centre of the building. Designed to offer a ‘regenerative journey towards enhanced wellbeing’, using products such as Ling and Black Pearl, the spa offers the latest therapies and techniques, with special signature treatments personalised to specific needs. Not to be overlooked is the chrome high-tech gym, sauna, and manicure and pedicure area.
Beyond the hotel’s revolving doors at ground level, step instantly into the city’s cosmopolitan V&A Waterfront. Filled with a huge selection of bars, restaurants, and shops, this is ideal for anyone looking to dive headfirst into some retail therapy. On a Saturday morning, we visited the local Oranjezicht City Farm Market, a popular attraction among locals for its fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables, and not-to-be-missed food stalls. Just beyond the perimeter of the city, take yourself off the pavements and onto the hiking trails, including the Cecilia Forest and Lion’s Head.
Halfway up the iconic building, on the ninth floor, is The Silo’s cocktail bar, The Willaston Bar, and fine-dining restaurant, The Granary Café. A scenic spot for cocktails, large jade-green velvet booths circle around the bar, which serves as the backdrop for crafted cocktails, the hotel’s curated wine list, bar snacks and small plates.
The Granary Café plates up generous breakfasts piled with fruit, yoghurt, pastries and hot dishes with frothy coffees. It is also the setting for the quintessential Royal Afternoon Tea of cakes, macaroons, and sandwiches. As the evening draws in, the restaurant’s open kitchen comes alive while the sky, framed by the industrial windows, turns pink. Here, we dined on contemporary cuisine with creative ‘African twists’, such as rich cuts of springbok and a wine list of local labels. Above the main dining space, The Granary Café also has a glass-fronted private dining space – aka The Wisdom Room – for personal celebrations and private meetings.
THE FINAL WORD
This cool, contemporary hotel is the latest chapter from The Royal Portfolio. A collection of luxurious and eclectic properties from Liz and Phil Biden, The Silo completes the group’s exceptionally special places across South Africa.
Retaining the historic fabric of the building, the key sustainability features of The Silo Hotel include the re-use of the building’s original materials, alongside natural ventilation systems and air conditioning from a central sea water cooling plant.
Mid-season rates in a Silo Room start from £922. For more information and to book visit theroyalportfolio.com.
Featured image: Deluxe Superior room.
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