Africa Travel Director, Chris Wain was one of the first through the doors when Cape Town’s latest luxury hotel, The Silo by Royal Portfolio, opened recently. Here's what he had to say about the experience.
Situated in the city’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront development, the hotel occupies the top six floors of an historic grain silo complex, and it will sit above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa when it opens in September this year, (and which is sure to rival the likes of the Tate Modern in London and the MoMA in New York).
Guests are greeted on the ground floor by some stunning and vibrant pieces of African art, (including a collection of incredible plastic flowers painstakingly made from thousands of fake acrylic nails!), before being whisked up in the lifts to the reception on the 6th floor. Stepping out of the lifts is like walking into a wonder world suspended high above the streets below, where the owner Liz Biden’s eclectic and colourful designs dovetail well with the building’s industrial brick and steel structures. The hotel’s extraordinary windows were made to order and they billow outwards, enhancing the feeling of being somewhere really special up in the clouds.
A casual restaurant on this floor, the Granary Café, serves breakfast, lunches & dinners, whilst the highlight of the adjacent Willaston Bar is undoubtedly the row of bright blue leather swivel chairs set along the bar, which are supremely comfortable and would not look out of place in a gentleman’s barber shop.
The rooms are housed between the 6th and 10th floors, and these really reflect Liz’s personality. Individually-styled, no two rooms are alike, with everything from vibrant green velvet couches and pink chaise lounge in the bathrooms, to unique Egyptian chandeliers, leopard-print cupboards, one-off artworks from up-and-coming South African artists, and hand-painted ornate teacups. The 28 rooms range from the ‘standard’ Silo Rooms, (which are anything but standard), through Superior & Luxury Suites to the 2-bedroom duplex Family & Royal Suites, and for those who really need to stretch out, The Penthouse, (where it would technically be possible to lose your partner amongst the many rooms).
The views from some rooms are better than from others, (although you can always see the sea, and then either the harbour or Table Mountain), but the pièce de résistance is higher still, up on the roof, where the swimming pool and another dining venue, the Silo Rooftop, are located. Like the majority of places in Cape Town, (with the notable exceptions of the Mount Nelson Hotel and the One&Only), the pool is not heated and in fairness it is not really much more than an elongated plunge pool, but the uniqueness kicks in when one settles down with a chilled glass of something and soaks in the 360-degree views, which most definitely are not available elsewhere in the city. Open to hotel residents only, a real sense of club-like status exists in this high-up environment.
The Silo is a worthy addition to the Royal Portfolio family of luxury hotels and lodges and, although you will ultimately pay for the view & for the exclusivity, (the best value rooms cost over GBP700.00, even in the low season), it is a unique property which will really come into its own when the Museum opens below.
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