From Big Five-Spotting to a 24-carat Body Ritual at The Silo Hotel, Cape Town Should Be Next on Your List
Big yes to rooftop views of Table Mountain and freshly shucked oysters.
BY Mary Gostelow  |  April 24, 2023
2 Minute Read

Perfectly cold Veuve Clicquot and local Saldanha Bay oysters shucked in front of you are perfect accompaniments to sunset-watching from the twelfth-floor rooftop of The Silo Hotel, Cape Town. Add in a backcloth of Table Mountain and, far below, the exuberant vivacity of the city’s V&A waterfront, and yes, another oyster, please.

V&A Waterfront

The Silo Hotel, as its name might imply, is part of what were 42 silos built in 1924 to export South Africa’s grain. Architect Thomas Heatherwick, known for Shanghai’s Bund Finance Centre and the 1,000 Trees project, Singapore’s Nanying Technical University’s The Hub, Google’s California headquarters, as well as the re-do of Hong Kong’s Pacific Place, loves challenges. In Cape Town, he has left the silos’ original iron supports and some of the concrete walls intact as a base for what he envisioned as a beacon for the city. 

The Silo Hotel. Image courtesy of Mark Williams

From afar, you now see the exterior of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA). It’s a world leader in its genre, formed around the personal collection of German traveller and environmentalist Jochen Zeitz, he who started and then ran Puma before switching from running shoes to Harley-Davidson, where he is chairman, president, and CEO.

The Silo Hotel pool. Image courtesy of Mark Williams

Above Zeitz MOCAA is The Silo Hotel, Royal Portfolio’s 28-room “home away from home,” according to general manager Luis Pinheiro. That is appropriate for dwellings with eight-metre-high rooms with ceiling-high, multi-pane concave windows with a one-metre bulge. The interiors, by Royal Portfolio’s founder Liz Biden, include elaborate Egyptian candelabra in main rooms and bathrooms, where freestanding tubs have incredible city and ocean views.

Room number 805, all cream walls and Indian rugs on hardwood floors and exquisite, white-embroidered bed linens, has a heritage carafe of sherry with cut-glass snifters, and a Day-Glo-green cabinet for the minibar and anticipated accessories including lemon and ginger. Of the hotel’s 400-plus art collection, the four pieces displayed here include a Cyrus Kabiru Macho Nne eyeglass self-photo, one of the Kenyan artist’s unrealistic views of the world, here seen through slatted lens.

This piece could easily fit into MOCAA (there’s a private museum entrance from The Silo). The hotel is also about five minutes’ walk to the heart of downtown, its waterfront, and superb craft and brand-name retail, plus hundreds of eating and drinking spots. Fish and chips? Try Beluga, in the cruise terminal. Seafood curry? The hotel’s The Granary does a good one, in a big ceramic bowl. Drink the Royal Portfolio’s La Résidence wines from nearby Franschhoek, say, the Rosemary Jane 2021 rosé or Nicole Alexandra 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Savvy Australians are leading Asia’s discovery of the Cape year-round. Do safari first—perhaps at Royal Portfolio’s Royal Malewane. From Big Five-spotting to a 24-carat body ritual on The Silo’s fourth floor, you’ll feel at home, here in Cape Town. 

All images courtesy of The Silo Hotel.