This page was blank for a long, long time.
Not because I couldn’t think of anything to say about The Silo Hotel. Quite the opposite. It was because there were so many ways to start the story of our stay, so many fabulous moments, that I really had no idea where to begin. We may have only spent one night here, but in that snippet of time the hotel and its staff created our own spectacular beginning, middle and end.
This is our Silo story.
From the outside, it looks rather intimidating. A proudly imposing chunk of history, the grain silo opened in 1924 - a protagonist in the prose of South Africa’s agricultural and industrial development. To experience it now is to stop and reflect on its transformation; where once grain was heaved and weighed and stored, now it houses imagination, beauty, an inspired vision.
The Silo Hotel is a melange of history and modern-day. Its past pulses through every inch of the browns and blacks of its exposed industrial architecture, and yet the building simultaneously surrenders itself to the artist’s palette, a party of colour celebrated in each room, each corridor, each staircase.
Indeed, this hotel gives you a reason to celebrate. We didn’t so much enter our room as be invited into the enormous space of our deluxe superior suite. The windows are eighteen feet high – huge pillowed pieces of glass beyond which explodes the spectacular view of Cape Town, the Waterfront and Table Mountain. A bottle of champagne, two glasses and this view. This was a reason to toast.
And so was the bath. I swear I would have spent an entire day here if I could. The floor to ceiling window bulged brazenly over polka-dot people bustling, selfie-taking, sipping and sight-seeing below. A bathroom of chunky zebra-stripe tiles, turquoise tables, bold, arching mirrors adjoining a charming expanse of bedroom (all 67m2 of it) with king-size bed, tables heaped with fruit, books, brandy (for later), a sofa so soft you’ll be tempted to re-write your itinerary entirely and a balcony leaning out towards the sunset...
...Which is the perfect time to head to The Silo Rooftop pool. Order a rose ginvino, The Silo’s signature cocktail – it is the perfect liquor percussion for Cape Town’s sunset serenade. The bar up here is open to the public, which is understandably a popular haunt, but the separate residents-only area is serene and luxuriously relaxed. Sipping in your slippers and dressing gown is positively encouraged. The offer of champagne brought to you as you admire the city from the pool – well, it would be a sin to turn it down. Tuna poke bowls, grilled prawn and chorizo skewers and beef empanadas are among the bar’s sundowner sidekicks.
The hotel’s main restaurant, The Granary Café, offers a deliciously eclectic menu. Malay tikka baby chicken, springbok shank, cape seafood curry and desserts of warm chocolate cake with mint marshmallow and turmeric caramel, and cinnamon mousse with lemon oat crumble… My mouth is watering at the memory.
What surprised me most, as it crept towards midnight, was that we were alone sitting in a corner of the hotel’s Willaston Bar. How could we possibly be the only people here? This hotel is far too fabulous to not be enjoyed to its maximum at all times. Yet that moment, just the two of us watching Cape Town sparkle beneath us, was simply gorgeous. Just above the bar you’ll find The Library – a tranquil den that's home to the most fabulous of sofas, its Monkey Bean fabric expertly-selected by Liz Biden.
Indeed, Liz is not only the owner of The Royal Portfolio properties, of which The Silo is one, but the ideas behind all the hotels’ interiors. Through style and colour, through furniture and fabrics, she creates, and recreates stories. It’s no coincidence that the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa sits just below The Silo Hotel, her choice of art within the hotel inviting and reflecting that housed below.
Each of the 28 rooms, from the breath-taking penthouse with triple aspect views of Cape Town to the mezzanine family suites, has its own personality, its own unique ability to ooze comfort, style and charmingly unselfconscious flamboyance.
For this very reason, we chose to breakfast in our room. There are smiles galore in The Silo, and our waitress exuded the warmth that every single member of staff here possesses in bucket-loads. She brought to us exotic fruits, English muffins with rosemary ham and hollandaise sauce, bircher muesli, vanilla oats with sultanas and treacle sugar, and healthy, freshly squeezed juice concoctions (please don’t judge, I did share…).
This is a superlative hotel. A hotel where staff embrace you with their words, their kindness and their attentiveness. My only niggle, the hotel’s parking isn’t clearly marked, so what should have been an effortless arrival turned out to be slightly more tricky. But a spot of trouble parking is reduced to nothingness when set against the backdrop of the Silo experience.
As we departed, London-bound, the staff lined the exit, waving and wishing us bon voyage and bidding us to return. And I very much hope we do.
At school, you’re always told to never ever end a story with the words, “but it was all a dream.” Apologies, Mrs White, but I’m almost tempted to do just that. Sitting at my desk, as London's daily ration of daylight fades, and the chill gets chillier (and chillier still), it seems like our sunset rooftop cocktails could have all been a beautiful figment of my imagination.
This is our Silo story. Yours is there waiting for you.
For more information or to book a room, visit: https://www.theroyalportfolio.com
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