Opened today in a repurposed grain elevator in Cape Town, the Silo (the latest brainchild of the Royal Portfolio) pays homage to South Africa’s agrarian roots. Formerly the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa, the grain silo’s elevator facility has been converted into a luxurious boutique hotel. Perched above the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the building was updated by designer Thomas Heatherwick of London-based Heatherwick Studio, who was tasked with transforming the tower while also maintaining its status as a cultural landmark.
Heatherwick overhauled the original edifice with bulging glass bubbles that protrude from the rooms, creating the illusion of lanterns in the harbor at night. Functioning as eye-catching art pieces, the floor-to-ceiling glass spheres offer panoramic views of the city. The double-height main lobby showcases a whimsical chandelier silhouetted against the original grain hoppers—an effortless marriage of old and new.
The posh property features 28 well-appointed rooms, including a 2,012-square-foot penthouse suite with a sizable balcony. Designed and decorated by hotelier Liz Biden, the rooms fuse handmade crystal chandeliers, deep soaking tubs, playful colors, curated art pieces, and full-height window bays to create spaces that are both lavish and livable. An array of over-the-top amenities await just outside the rooms.
The Granary Café and the Willaston Bar (located on the sixth floor and managed by executive chef Veronica Canha-Hibbert) greet guests with flavorful fare and craft cocktails. The Vault, a private art gallery located in the basement, displays a biannual rotation of works from emerging and established African artists. A sumptuous spa showcases five treatment rooms and a sauna, and a rooftop pool overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain. A trip to South Africa would not be complete without a wine tasting, and the rooftop bar is the ultimate place to sip varietals and admire a bird’s-eye view of the Mother City.
The haute hotel (starting at around $1,400 per night) is the perfect home base for those who want to explore Cape Town’s most iconic destinations, from Lion’s Head to Robben Island. The reimagined grain complex will also house the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), a non-profit contemporary art museum that is scheduled to open in September. Established as a joint partnership between Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and art aficionado Jochen Zeitz (whose pieces form the initial bulk of the display), the museum will house the world’s largest collection of contemporary African art. (theroyalportfolio.com)