PHOTOS Micky Hoyle PRODUCTION Sumien Brink WORDS Ashraf Booley
What was once the grain elevator tower of a 93-year-old grain silo complex at the V&A Waterfront is now home to one of the world’s most anticipated hotels for 2017: The Royal Portfolio’s The Silo.
From a distance, The Silo with its unusual glass-bubble facade is a towering landmark. There is nothing quite like it in the city’s skyline. The six-floor hotel, which opened its doors on 1 March 2017, is set atop the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (due to welcome its first visitors in September).
Setting the tone for the hotel’s architecture are bulbous faceted windows resembling compound eyes that overlook Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Robben Island and the sea. It was Thomas Heatherwick, founder and principal of Heatherwick Studio in London, who rose to the challenge of transforming the elevator tower into a boutique hotel that is wowing locals and foreign visitors alike with its awe-inspiring aesthetic.
“The redeveloped building is a beautifully contrasted mix of historical infrastructure and modern design,” says Ross Bowers of The Royal Portfolio.
The interior features a combination of eclectic and contemporary (mostly custom-made) furniture and accessories. This includes a striking chandelier by Haldane Martin and a beautiful work of art by Mohau Modisakeng in the foyer.
The glamorous Liz Biden, owner of The Royal Portfolio, is the design maven behind the hotel’s striking interior. The 28 rooms are individually decorated. Liz says her goal has always been to provide their guests with luxury and every amenity. “This has meant balancing the stark and industrial style of the architecture with aspects of classic glamour and contemporary comfort.”
There are seven room categories: a 211 m2 penthouse (with a 24 m2 balcony), two royal suites, four family suites, seven deluxe superior suites, six superior suites, four luxury rooms and four silo rooms. Accommodation rates start at R12 000 per night.
The rooms’ colour schemes were determined by items that Liz drew inspiration from, such as a vibrant piece of fabric, a rug or a painting discovered on her travels around the world. And each bed has a unique headboard made by Moorgas & Sons, just one of the local manufacturers she used.
In every bathroom, a soothing sanctuary awaits the weary. The bath (oh, the bath!) is perfectly positioned by the 5 m-tall floor-to-ceiling window. Just imagine soaking in the tub while soaking up a spectacular view of the Mother City – no other bath will ever compare.
A spa and gym; a piano bar; and a rooftop swimming pool, restaurant and champagne bar round out The Silo’s pleasures.
When the sun sets, those huge faceted windows light up, turning the building into a lodestar in the city’s topography.