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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in South Africa

The Silo hotel: a celebration of art, architecture and design

The Silo is part of Cape Town’s art ecosystem. We not only buy art but we also commission it…

By Irene Boaventura
Art Curator

The art at Silo brings an element of surprise to what is an extraordinary setting, and an icon on the Cape Town skyline. The waterfront grain silo was built in 1924 and remained operational until 2001. The hotel is built in the grain elevator portion of the historic silo complex and sits above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which really sets us apart.

The collection at MOCCA conveys youth and energy. My job is to introduce African contemporary art to our guests and I help facilitate the art experience – whether that’s getting tickets to an art fair, organising VIP invitations to an opening or setting up a visit to an artist’s studio. Many of the artists live locally and are keen to engage with our guests, who are keen to learn.

There’s a lot of vibrancy in our current displays. These include a collage made from felt fabric, lithograph and a portrait made from sequins. Every single sequin was hand-stitched onto a panel measuring two metres by three metres and took nine months to complete.

Of course, no two corners of the hotel are the same. The 28 rooms were designed by Liz Biden and each one showcases a unique collection of contemporary art. So many guests want to buy the art, but it’s not for sale. All of the art Liz buys stays in the Royal Portfolio Collection and so leaves a legacy for the hotels.

The Silo is part of Cape Town’s art ecosystem. We not only buy art but we also commission it, and each year we showcase one emerging and one established artist in our subterranean art space, The Vault. One hundred percent of every sale goes to the artist and we also buy a piece or two for The Royal Collection. One of the artists recently told me that the proceeds from her exhibition at The Vault helped her survive lockdown.

When I get to work, I usually grab a coffee and head up to the 11th floor sky terrace. If it’s not cloudy I can see as far as Robben Island. It must be one of the best views in Cape Town.


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Alfred & Irene Boaventura

Irene studied hotel management and has grown her knowledge of art through self-study, gallery internships and at museum workshops, as well as by forging connections with the many artists based in Cape Town. She joined Silo as duty manager. Her passion for art, and being surrounded by it every day, saw her role grow organically.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.

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