Cape Town's Silo Hotel: A new star is born

There's a buzz around this month's opening of Cape Town's The Silo Hotel. Its six glittering floors rise above the city's historic grain silo, enhancing an already dynamic art and design scene.

The monumental structure's lower tubes will house the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, opening in September with the world's largest collection of modern African art.

London architect Thomas Heatherwick, of Heatherwick Studio, has reinvented the 1921 silo to retain its industrial heritage and honour South Africa's agrarian roots. The austere lower concrete facade contrasts with the boutique hotel's upper floors inhabiting the silo's grain elevator portion.

Heatherwick points to the hotel's key architectural feature – futuristic pillowed floor-to-ceiling glazed panels that "bulge outward as if gently inflated". The effect is of a glowing lantern in the night harbour.

The 28 suites, which include the 211-square-metre penthouse, have impressive mountain and ocean views, while the rooftop pool and champagne bar boast equally stunning vistas.

Liz Biden is the designer behind this latest addition to The Royal Portfolio's stable that includes Franschhoek's opulent La Residence and the chic Birkenhead House at Hermanus.

Each room is uniquely designed to mix exquisite pieces of furniture, tufted chairs, lively colours, and crystal chandeliers for her trademark sumptuous interiors focusing on a light, modern sensibility. Integral to her design, she says, is art that "brings a space to life, creates warmth and tells stories. The Silo will take that art experience to a whole new level with a focus on contemporary African art."

Rooms from $1222. See

Listen: Flight of Fancy - the podcast with Ben Groundwater

To subscribe to the podcast Flight of Fancy on iTunes, click here.