The Silo Hotel

Review of The Silo Hotel review by Varun Sharma

The Silo hotel is located on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This 28-room luxury boutique hotel is part of The Royal Portfolio, which boasts a string of prestigious properties in South Africa.

The Silo is built in the elevator portion of a historic grain silo, occupying six floors above Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which houses the continent's largest collection of modern indigenous art. The hotel itself is ‘a celebration of art, architecture, style and design’ - industrial yet extravagantly chic.

At 57 metres (190 feet), the silo was the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa when it was opened in August 1924. The original building was a huge concrete grain silo used to store wheat, maize and soya that was shipped around the world. Derelict after operations ceased in 2001, it became a focus of the massive regeneration of the waterfront which has changed the cultural landscape of the city. It is still the tallest structure on the Waterfront offering fantastic views of the harbour, city, and the iconic Table Mountain. 

The Silo Hotel is featured on the list of The Best Luxury Hotels In Cape Town

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Situated in the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, The Silo stands proud above the Silo District, by far the tallest around the harbour and located just a short walk from the Clock Tower Precinct. 

There is plenty to do nearby and the Waterfront evokes images of the early activities of the harbour, much of its charm lies in the fact that thus once gritty historic district and busy commercial harbour is now a huge entertainment venue with pubs, restaurants, specialty shops, craft markets, theatres, and cinemas.

Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the hotel.



The Silo Hotel features just 28 rooms, including six suites and a spectacular one-bedroom penthouse, arranged over the six floors above the Zeitz Museum.

Opening the doors to see inside the rooms for the first time is awesome. The delicious interiors popping with bright hues, colourful and eclectic pieces juxtaposing the modern, industrial architecture. Fantastic views include Table Mountain, the harbour, the city, and Robben Island in Table Bay – where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years.

Up-to-the minute technology in each guestroom includes touch-pads for controlling lights & blinds and in-room facilities which include a Nespresso coffee machine. Bathrooms are glamorous and free-standing baths are situated in front of windows so that guests can enjoy bubble baths with amazing and indeed complimentary views. Toiletries - in reusable containers - are by the British luxury brand Penhaligon’s - with its classic Quercus scent.

The six room categories are based on size and views, all beautifully appointed yet unique in style. Each room boasts a private balcony, and a collection of contemporary African art is dotted around the living and bedrooms.

The smallest, the Silo Room is set in a 44 square metre space and the largest rooms, Deluxe Superiors, range from 60 square metres in size.

‘Superior Suites’ feel like private luxury apartments, situated over the 6th and 7th floors with an upstairs and a downstairs and either mountain or harbour views. They vary between 76 and 88 square metres in soze, and also include a small balcony. 

Deluxe Superior Suites situated across the 8th, 9th and 10th floors enjoy spectacular five and a half metres high pillowed-glass windows.

For the best of all worlds when it comes to views, the two-bedroom, triple aspect Royal Suites face the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island, and the distant mountains. Each Royal Suite is 132 square metres in area, features two bedrooms, large living and dining areas and generous balconies.

Service & Facilities


Attentive service is respectful and personalised as you would expect in such an intimate hotel setting.

The Silo Spa is a tranquil space, instantly calming in pure white with five treatment rooms where guests can indulge in luxurious treatments using Ling and Black Pearl beauty products. There is also a gym, sauna, and a dedicated manicure-pedicure area.

The Silo’s large rooftop swimming pool overlooks Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, city, harbour and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The hotel is arguably the finest rooftop swimming pool in Africa. 

The Silo is a sophisticated hotel where younger guests are welcome. Two-bedroom duplex Family Suites are ideal. Found on the 7th floor they enjoy lovely views over the old harbour and out to the distant mountains or over the V&A Waterfront and Signal Hill. They range from 111 to 128 square metres, including a balcony. Set over two levels, they have two bedrooms upstairs, one of which is a smaller room - ideal for children.

The hotel is accessible for disabled guests.



A monument to the city’s renaissance The Silo hotel is a symbol of its regeneration, offering unrivalled urban elegance. International sophisticates and art & design-loving guests flock to The Silo for its unique industrial meet luxe style, urban opulence at its best with high ceilings and those unique pillowy windows.

The lower half of this near century old relic was converted into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa using cutting-edge technology to scoop out the middle of the building and its 42 huge silo tubes. The hotel is the conversion of the upper part of the building and former lift-shaft and it houses its own collection of commissioned art with 300 pieces displayed – and for sale - throughout.

Everything about this destination hotel is impressive, starting from the exterior with its arresting industrial style and awesome façade of 104 honeycomb-like windows (made of panels of hand-cut glass) and doming out to a metre, a striking feature imagined by celebrated British designer Thomas Heatherwick - a favoured pupil of style-guru Sir Terence Conran.

The wow factor continues inside, from checking in at the swish reception on the 6th floor to entering its creatively appointed rooms, decorated in bright hues like shocking pink and emerald green, the now iconic floor to ceiling windows affording bird’s eye views of the harbour. In this ultimate perch, the higher you go the better it gets with incredible 360-degree vistas from the roof terrace – a private space for guests with a fabulous rooftop swimming pool.

The Royal Portfolio founder and owner - Liz Biden - has an eclectic style for this opulent nest, personally accessorising rooms with antique chandeliers, Persian carpets, velvet chaises, ornate desks, and mirrors. 

Each room is unique in style and all are filled with carefully chosen African art – even the teacups are hand painted by local artists.

Restaurants & Bars


The Silo has three restaurants and bars. The Granary Café and Willaston Bar take up the whole of the sixth floor and have inherited the same eclectic and contemporary style as the hotel interiors with banquettes in popping colours and wild animal print. 

At the Granary Café, Executive Chef Veronica Canha-Hibbert and her kitchen team believe in good, honest, and approachable food. Dishes showcase seasonal and local ingredients, including fish of the day – the freshest local catches such as oysters, teamed with pineapple salsa and lime foam. Locals are enticed to join in the culinary fun with fashionable Sunday brunches.

The menu has an international flavour with a modern take on traditional local cuisine including Cape Malay food, with lightly spiced dishes influenced by the settlers, including fragrant seafood biryani. Supper might include the special prawn tagliatelle, delicious Cape seafood curry or the tasty crab ravioli with green apple salad. 

The Willaston Bar is a vibrant space with punchy bright blue velvet clad banquettes, bar stools and industrial chandeliers, where guests can enjoy lunch, a light snack, Royal Tea, dinner or drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. Guests and locals are lured here for the creative cocktails. The Cape Town gin scene is booming, thanks to locally grown botanicals from 9000 different plants including Honeybush, juniper and aniseed. The delicate Rose gin cocktail blends local gin and rosewater.

The Silo Rooftop wraps around the 11th Floor of the hotel, its glass panels protecting guests from an often-stiff sea breeze. Here an al fresco dining experience affords a unique perspective of Cape Town with panoramic 360-degree views – the best in town. Artificial grass is set with sofas and tables, and pizzas, sharing platters, salads and poke bowls are on the menu. It is a great place to enjoy a glass of bubbly, cocktail or a drop of fine South African wine while soaking up the last of the day’s sunshine. 

Cape Town’s moniker is the New York of Africa and The Silo’s clientele is cosmopolitan. Both international and local guests have been flocking here since its opening in March 2017, as the property really is the height of sophistication and stature.


As well as the community upliftment organisations the hotel supports, The Silo is also committed to ongoing sustainability initiatives.

The incredible array of local artists on display throughout the hotel sets it apart from the competition. Furniture and finishes throughout are also sourced locally.

Stimulating local business is also a key focus, sourcing the freshest ingredients with fruit, vegetables, baked goods, dairy, freshwater salmon and trout, wine, and handmade chocolate all from local suppliers, often small-scale operations that support their immediate communities. The Silo also aims to empower local entrepreneurs through its outsourced services and suppliers.

The hotel uses energy-saving light bulbs, all plastic bottles and straws have been removed. Succulents and artificial grass are used on the rooftop to minimise water use. 

The Silo conserves water in other creative ways too - taps and showerheads have certified water-saving attachments, disposable napkins reduce laundry water consumption and ice bucket water is reused for cleaning. The air conditioning system uses a central seawater cooling plant, reducing energy and water consumption.

Double glazed windows throughout the hotel means using less energy for insulation. 

What We Love

  • The location – the V&A Waterfront – the place to see and be seen. While there is so much to do around the property and in the city itself, you could be forgiven for staying in The Silo and seeing everything from your suite or the rooftop with a cocktail in hand. The peace and calm is overwhelming. 
  • The uniqueness of The Silo – who thought that sleeping in a grain silo could be so exciting? The Biden family are seasoned hoteliers and everything they touch turns to gold. Cape Town can be either the start or end to a South African sojourn - which must include a visit to The Royal Malewane - my favourite African safari experience - review to follow. 
  • The rooftop swimming pool – an amazing location. From here you enjoy unparalleled views of Cape Town, the Atlantic Ocean and the harbour - complete with Robben Island. On a hot Mother CIty day, there is nothing better than an early morning or evening dip to chase the heat away. 

    Varun Sharma

What They Love

  • The Team: After 40 wonderful years in the hospitality industry, I can easily say that the team I work with at The Silo Hotel is the most inspiring. Their passion and expertise continue to motivate me. Over 70% of the team has been here since the hotel opened in 2017. We have fun at work; the staff wear jeans and we enjoy being informal in a formal environment. We are 100% committed to our purpose: to give our guests a complete experience and to deliver a perfect stay.
  • The Destination: Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Silo Hotel is an architectural wonder - as well as a spectacular art destination. The building is iconic - a recipe for success that fulfils our purpose and values.
  • The Space: Every room in The Silo Hotel has been individually designed and decorated by Liz Biden, owner and founder of The Royal Portfolio. I am indeed a lucky General Manager - as I have a beautiful product that makes my job so much easier. All me and my team need to do is focus on delivering the best of everything else, since the product is already complete and perfected.

    Luis Pinheiro
    General Manager
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