A RED Staycation

by Jared

The Silo District is the elegantly-edgy new enclave of Cape Town’s famed V & A Waterfront. Cities come alive when creative forms of reimagining take place around their older or more rougher edges, and the Silo District is one of these. What once was a working grain silo, and the tallest building in Africa, now has a new lease of life, and a swanky new district surrounding it.

A first walk through the area is guaranteed to cause some jaw-dropping at the architectural wizardry. At the heart of this dynamic new space, you’ll find the Radisson RED. My recent staycation gave me the chance to explore both the hotel and its trendy new district, checking if they lived up to their growing reputation.

What to do Around the Silo District

Cutting edge offices, stylish eateries, and some surprising gems make up the District. Within steps of my home-base at the hotel, these are my top four silo-activities:

  1. Chocolate Workshop with Lindt
    There are only two places in the world where you can be an active participant in a Lindt workshop or class – and both are in South Africa. Visit Lindt’s gorgeous new chocolate studio at the Silo District and be taught by master chocolatiers on how to make Lindt chocolate cupcakes, and other chocolatey creations (yes, there was a lot of tasting involved). See the various classes here.
  2. Zeitz MOCCA
    You’re guaranteed to marvel at not only the impressive exhibitions, but also the museum which itself is a piece of art, housing the largest collection of contemporary African art in the world. The central atrium is the historic ‘silo’ after which the district is named; award-winning architect Thomas Heatherwick carved out an oval section of the space, exposing the inner concrete tubes and creating a spectacular atrium. Remember that African citizens go free every Wednesday between 10h00 and 13h00.
  1. Virgin Active Silo
    Considered by most to be South Africa’s premier Virgin Action, you won’t be disappointed with this state-of-the-art facility, it’s views and the services offered. One of my new favourite activities is the suspension yoga: hanging in suspended red cocoons, stretching out your body, with views over Cape Town… now there’s a unique experience. If you’re only visiting for a short period you can arrange ad-hoc sessions, even enjoying the impressive co-working space overlooking the Silo courtyard.
  1. Up Cycle
    Why not rent a bicycle from Up Cycles>’ Silo station. Enjoy a leisurely ride around the waterfront – or extend your ride to include the Promenade that stretches from Mouille Point all the way to Sea Point. When you get back, return the bike and enjoy a coffee from either Si or The Yard, both local favourites.
Where to Stay in the Silo District

A visit to the Radisson RED and it’s time to take the usual idea of how a hotel should look and operate, and throw that out the window. Just make sure there’s no one on the ground floor – it could be a heavy blow. Since RED’s inception, all notions of normal have been ditched, and a bold new hospitality philosophy has set the tone. Welcome to one of Cape Town’s most exciting new Waterfront hotels.

Fashion, music, and art are the three tenants of Radisson RED and pulsate through every aspect of hotel life. I also very quickly discovered that the true magic lies with the energy and creativity of the staff – they are the glue that holds these three elements together. Their boundless energy and creative endeavors ensure a truly unique experience. Reassuringly, all of this comes at no compromise to a luxe hotel experience.

Here are four reasons why I’ve been converted to RED:

  1. The RED team work hard to ensure there’s a constant stream of innovative and immersive events at the hotel, from sports screenings, fashion shows to fantastic food affairs. You should have seen the setup for the World Cup!
  2. Exciting rooms await you and are imaginatively designed. As you’d guess technology plays a vital role. Craving that late-night drink or caffeine fix? Simply use the hotel’s app and order away.
  3. Voted Cape Town’s favorite roof-top bar, both views and vibes will keep you coming back here for more.
  4. The OUIBar is the in-house restaurant, and I loved the inventive food offerings (the menu will have you chuckling), and the daily specials are worth noting.

There’re a couple other unique elements – but hey, if I told you everything there’d be no surprises! For those visiting Cape Town I dare you to experience the excitement of staying in one of the Waterfront’s most trendy spaces and enjoy this unique hotel. For locals, don’t forget the hotel’s exciting spaces are also open to the public.

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south african travel journalist