When Thomas Heatherwick was tapped to convert a 1924 grain silo into a multipurpose complex and art museum, he applied his signature clean-lined touch. Working within Heatherwick’s architectural outline, hotelier and designer Liz Biden produced something entirely different on the uppermost floors of the Silo Hotel. “We wanted to contrast the stark industrial exterior with colorful and lively interiors,” she says. To ensure that each of the 28 rooms would stand on its own, Biden mined her own collection of international artifacts—fabric swatches, carpets, paintings—and went with idiosyncratic color schemes. Though the aesthetic touchstones come from far and wide, the hotel is still firmly grounded in South African culture. Local artisans were commissioned to create everything from the chandeliers to the artwork, and a basement gallery called The Vault will host a rotating slate of up-and-coming talent.
The comprehensive amenities are enough to pack a morning-to-sundown agenda, whether it be the Sunday roasts of pork, beef, and chicken served on trolleys, poolside oysters on the roof terrace, or treatments at the spa using products from Carol Joy and Black Pearl. But when the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opens in the fall, on the building’s lower floors, the Silo Hotel will be the envy of the industry. As the first museum in Africa devoted to contemporary art from the continent and its diaspora, Zeitz MOCAA’s halls are sure to be filled with the global culture set and members of Cape Town’s rising creative class. The arrival of the institutional anchor will mark a seminal moment for an artistic community ready for its turn in the spotlight. And Silo guests will have a front-row seat.
Rooms from approximately $923 per night; theroyalportfolio.com