After three years of construction, The Silo Hotel in Cape Town opened on March 1 in what was once the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The former grain silo has stood 187 feet tall since first opening in August 1924.
Today, it’s now a modern, industrial architecture masterpiece featuring 28 rooms, including an ultra-luxury one-bedroom penthouse.
The grain silo closed in August 2001 after nearly 80 years at the heart of South Africa’s industrial and agricultural development.
It played an integral role in terms of international trade as an export facility, but it also provided vital infrastructure to South Africa’s regional agricultural economies.
It supported local farming communities while also making a major contribution to the economic activities of Table Bay harbor.
The building has two parts – the elevator tower, where The Silo Hotel is located, which facilitated the mechanical bulk handling of grain – and the actual storage silos themselves.
The elevator tower was known as the working house and it served many functions.
It received grain from the track shed, lifted it to the top of the building by the use of elevators and provided facilities for the grain to be weighed, cleaned, bagged, stored and distributed.
Grain from the smaller, inland ‘country elevators’ around South Africa was delivered to Cape Town.
The first load of maize was received into the grain elevator in Cape Town on the 8 September 1924, and this was followed two months later by the first export from the new elevator – 6,245 tons of maize aboard the SS Willaston destined for Europe, on the 12 November 1924.
The last export shipment from the grain elevator was on board the M/V Anangel Wisdom in 1995 and operations ceased in 2001.
Each room in The Silo Hotel has been individually designed and decorated by the stylish wand of Liz Biden.
Colorful and eclectic pieces juxtapose the modern, industrial architecture.
There are seven room categories — the rooms are more spacious vertically than horizontally due to the unique architecture of The Silo Hotel and the ingenious design of the pillowed window bays which are one of the key architectural features.
The exterior of the building and the inside of the museum has been designed by Thomas Heatherwick, Founder and Principal of the London-based Heatherwick Studio.
Heatherwick Studio was tasked with the transformation of the elevator house and the adjacent storage annex of six rows of seven silos, while carefully retaining its cultural significance.
Inside The Silo Hotel guests can enjoy The Granary Café, The Willaston Bar, Sky Terrace, The Silo Rooftop Bar & Restaurant, Rooftop Swimming Pool, The Silo Spa and Gym.
Cape Town enjoys a Mediterranean type climate — summer runs from October until April when daytime temperatures are usually over 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Silo occupies six floors above what will become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA).
Zeitz MOCAA will be a contemporary art museum to rival the likes of the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York and Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid.
Zeitz MOCAA is a not-for-profit partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz, whose collection forms the Museum’s founding collection. Zeitz MOCAA will open in September 2017.
From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original structure is the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors, which bulge outward as if gently inflated.
By night, this transforms the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbor.
The one-bedroom penthouse is the jewel in The Royal Portfolio’s crown located on the top floor of The Silo facing Table Mountain with triple aspect views of Cape Town, including a balcony.
There are two triple-aspect Royal Suites facing the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island and the distant mountains. Each Royal Suite has 2 bedrooms and a generous balcony.
Four Family Suites can be found on the seventh floor with views of the old harbor and out to the distant mountains or over the V&A Waterfront and Signal Hill. Each of the Family Suites includes a balcony and a mezzanine level with two bedrooms.
There are seven Deluxe Superior Suites all with balconies across the 8th, 9th and 10th floors with spectacular 18-foot high pillowed glass windows showcasing the natural wonder of Cape Town.
On the 6th and 7th floors are six Superior Suites with either mountain or harbor views. These suites include a small balcony and each has the bedroom on a mezzanine level.
There are four Luxury Rooms with mountain views on the 8th and 9th floors which include a balcony.
Finally, there are four Silo Rooms with spectacular harbor views including a balcony.
For more information on The Silo Hotel, visit www.theroyalportfolio.com/the-silo/overview.