Radisson Red, CapeTown
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Top 5 funky hotels in Cape Town

Cape Town is on the must-see list of many travellers. With its buzzy cosmopolitan culture, balmy Mediterranean climate, trendy neighbourhoods and a truly remarkable history, Cape Town is one of the world’s most enchanting cities.  It’s a city that is very easy to fall in love with, and is frequently voted among the top 10 best cities in the world to visit. If you planning a visit to Cape Town and not sure where to stay, why not try something a little different? These are five of our favourite funky hotels in Cape Town. The Silo Hotel One of Cape Town’s hottest new properties,  the Silo Hotel is a magical hotel towering above the V&A Waterfront and makes an ideal base from which to explore all that the city has to offer. Silo Hotel Cape Town The Silo District was historically one of the busiest areas of Cape Town’s commercial port, and the industrial hub of the city.  Whilst the area still a working dockyard, since its redevelopment over the last few years it has also become home to Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art in the Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) and numerous excellent bars, restaurants and stores. The Silo Hotel has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying 6 floors above Zeitz MOCAA.  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 will bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this transforms the building into a glowing lantern or beacon overlooking the harbour. Inside, the hotel is decorated in an opulent style with an eclectic mix of furniture: colourful sofas and chairs sit under elaborate chandeliers, and the fabrics and Persian carpets in bold colours contrast with the natural woods and metals that are a reminder of the building’s historical past.  Guests can relax at the spa, take afternoon tea overlooking Table Mountain, quaff champagne, swim in the rooftop pool, work off the city’s fine dining in the gym or enjoy a guided tour of the museum. One of the best and most interesting new hotels in Cape Town, the Silo appeals to art lovers, architecture addicts and style junkies alike. Radisson Red Also in the Silo district, the very modern Radisson RED Hotel is within a few minutes’ walk of the V&A Waterfront, and adjacent to the Zeitz MOCAA.  This urban city hotel has a young, relaxed vibe with a focus on art, technology, fashion and music. Radisson Red, CapeTown The hotel is decorated with simple-but-stylish contemporary furniture and a largely monochromatic pallette, with bright splashes of red and occasional accents in other colours.  There is plenty of exposed concrete in the rooms and public spaces, and exposed air conditioning ducts and industrial style lighting complete the urban chic look. As soon as you arrive at the hotel you are aware that this is a little different.  There is no large check-in desk, and instead you check via the self-service terminals or the app that you download to your phone.  If you use the app, then you can also use your phone to access your room, order food and drink, contact guest services, and check-out at the end of your stay. In keeping with the modern feel of the hotel, the guest rooms all feature large, vibrant murals, and come with free Wi-Fi, smart TVs and mini fridges. The family suites have bunk beds for the kids – complete with a TV display in each bunk! As well as it’s excellent location only a short stroll from the bars and restaurants of the Silo District and V&A Waterfront, Radisson Red also has a lovely roof space with seating around the swimming pool offering views of Table Mountain and the harbour. As you would expect, the set-up is modern and relaxed, with a deli serving breakfast pastries before lunchtime, and then switching to burgers and sharing platters later in the day.  Just in case this set-up sounds a little conventional, cocktails, craft beers, and other drinks are served from the bright red truck which serves as a bar. 15 On Orange The Company’s Garden is a large park in the centre of Cape Town that was first established in the 1650s as a refreshment station for the ships of the Dutch East India Company as they rounded the tip of Africa on their way to India from Europe.  15 On Orange occupies a large site near to the Garden and only a couple of minutes walk from the restaurants and bars Long Street, and this glamorous urban oasis with boasts floor to ceiling windows and a huge number of plants is a wonderfully relaxing and contemporary place to stay in the heart of the city. 15 On Orangem Cape Town The rooftop pool bar has great views of Table Mountain & Lions head as a backdrop, and is a favourite spot to relax on lazy summer weekends with both locals and international visitors.   whilst the main atrium bar whilst guests at the wine bar in the lobby catch the light of the huge chandelier. Their are 3 major room types in addition to the suites – city view and mountain view rooms are on the outside of the hotel and have fantastic views, whereas the atrium  rooms are set around the large atrium in the centre of the hotel.  Whilst the atrium rooms have some funky-looking suspended chairs they lack natural light and can be noisy, so the mountain view and city view rooms are definitely the ones to go for here. The Grand Daddy The Grand Daddy is one of the longest established funky hotels in Cape Town, and boasts a fantastic location among the restaurants, bars, and clubs of Long Street in the heart of the city.  Housed in a refurbished Georgian building, the Grand Daddy blends the maturity and grace of the original building with a youthful energy that comes from it’s fun and funky design. The Grand Daddy, CapeTown All of the rooms are colourful and modern, but the real talking point and focus is the roof, where there is a lovely rooftop bar and 7 vintage Airstream trailers which operate as guest rooms complete with queen-size bed, wet room with shower and w.c., TV, Aircon, and a mini-bar.  The trailers are all brightly decorated to an overall theme of a road trip around South Africa, with each trailer decorated to represent a particular area or activity such as the winelands or a safari, etc. These are probably the most unique hotel experience in the middle of the town, and are highly recommended for anyone looking for something really unusual in the heart of the city. The Marly Camps Bay, under the Twelve Apostles mountain range, is a chic suburb on  Cape Town’s trendy Atlantic Seaboard, a mere 7 minutes from the center of the city.  Sidewalk cafes, bars and a casual, relaxed atmosphere make this spot a beachcomber’s paradise, and as it faces west across the ocean it is one of the city’s top places for an early evening drink to watch the sun set before heading out for the evening. The Marly, Cape Town The Marly has an enviable location right in the heart of Camps Bay, and offers beautiful ocean views from it’s sea-facing suites and public areas.  As first glance the decor is far more subtle than the other hotels featured on this list, however there are many beautiful design touches and unusual furnishings that distinguish this from the tasteful-but-dull decor of many hotels. There are plenty of ornately framed mirrors, film-set style lighting and floral painted skulls that mean that each room and space has it’s own character. Paul Campbell is a Co-founder and Managing Director at Travel Butlers. Travel Butlers are specialists in tailor-made safari and beach holidays to Africa and the Indian Ocean. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Campbell

Paul Campbell is a co-founder and Managing Director at Travel Butlers, specialists in tailor-made safari and beach holidays to Africa and the Indian Ocean. Paul’s love of independent travel was first cemented when he spent 9 months doing the classic back-packing route across Asia, Australia, and North America when he was 20 year old. Over the following 30 years or so he has returned to these destinations many times, and also travelled for extended periods in central in South America as well as making countless trips to destinations across Europe. His first trip to Africa was nearly 20 years ago, and he fell in love with the continent instantly. After a few more trips (including spending a month training to be a field guide in the Sabi Sands), Paul and his wife Tracey decided to leave their jobs in marketing to form Travel Butlers. Their aim was to provide a friendly, professional, and knowledgeable service to help visitors find the very best experiences in Africa. The company was formed in 2003, and initially focussed on just South Africa and Namibia. Over the years they have taken on more staff and expanded to cover a dozen countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean. They still travel regularly to Africa both to find new destinations and experiences to offer their clients, and to check-up on old favourites.

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  1. I fully appreciate the ideas about branded hotels. The potential guest, often on business in a new strange city, is seeking a brand that will provide reassuring familiarity. For the hotel building to the same format in city after city creates the economies of scale that result in improved profitability.

    Yet, there are times when the traveller wants to go off-piste, to step out of his or her comfort zone.

    This is a very encouraging selection of hotels which demonstrate some highly original design and creative flair.

    1. Hi Gerald.

      I totally agree with you – sometimes the security of booking a well-known branded chain hotel can add real peace of mind, especially for shorter, more functional stays such as overnight for an airport etc.

      For longer stays and special destinations it is usually worth seeking out something with a bit more character.

      I think the thing that I like most about these places is they have an individual style and give you a sense of the personality of the city.


  2. How cool is the Silo Hotel? What a great icon of contemporary architecture to have alongside all that modern art.

    It’s just so clever, recycling and repurposing the remains from the industrial past. It keeps the place in touch with its history whilst at the same time coming up with a great hotel. I’m guessing that environmentally this is far less damaging than pulling the silo down and building a new hotel there?

    I want to stay there – now!

    1. I know what you mean! The Silo is absolutely fantastic, and is in a great location as well as being a wonderful example of site redevelopment.

  3. The Airstream trailers as rooms on the roof of the Grand Daddy is a brilliant idea. Imagine stepping out early morning and seeing great views. Though the air-con must be essential in summer. The South African road trip is a brilliant original idea for their decoration too. Also that extra room space up top is a big hint that the hotel is often bursting to capacity.

    1. That is a very good point, Paul. I guess it must have been by crane, and it would have been an amazing sight to see when they were doing it!

  4. I’m always amazed by the vision that some talented people have. When I see a silo it is a silo – not a hotel. Never in a million years would I think about converting the Airstreamer into a hotel room.

    And it’s not just the big vision thing it’s all the little details too. I just haven’t got any flair at all for interior design. Maybe that’s why I appreciate staying in funky hotels like these so much.

  5. I think the Radisson Red gets it right with a relatively small reception area. Too often hotels have massive check-in areas that are way too ostentatious, they are just trying to make a big first impression. And how much fuel and energy do they waste heating those cavernous spaces???

    Then when you get to your room it’s quite cramped. If the hotel’s doing its job properly you only go to reception to check-in and check-out, so why waste all that space?

    1. Hi Isabella, and thanks for your feedback. I’m always a little bit envious when I hear that someone is about to go to Cape Town for the first time…it’s an amazing city!

  6. I love how you described the highlights of each and every hotel in the list. Being a millenial myself, I would definitely stay at Radisson RED mainly because of the art, technology, fashion and music advantage. I really find the self-service check-in amusing and cool!

  7. It really blows my mind to think that you could check into a hotel with an app on your phone. Truly amazing. Also, the fact that it’s in Cape Town, South Africa — who knew? I’m really getting interested in this place and all it has to offer … hope to visit there sometime soon.

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