THE moment you walk into the lobby of the Radisson RED you sense the tone of the hotel.
There is no reception desk or concierge; instead, staff work standing up at a counter set against the left hand wall, or at the long communal table in front of it. The décor is super modern, with merchandise displayed on honeycomb shelves, and a man in a denim kilt relieves you of your luggage, while another glides by on a skateboard.
Off to the left, beyond the lobby, are what would be called conference rooms in any other establishment. Here, in keeping with the fun and youthful image of the hotel (the staff will address you as “love”, “sweetheart”, or “honey”), they are called events and games studios. This is fairly literal; there are in fact games, which can be incorporated into, well, corporate functions or team building.
If you turn right from the lobby, you’ll enter OUIBar & KTCHN which is where you can grab a canteen-style breakfast and self-service coffee in the morning. Most of the guests here are on a room-only basis so they don’t necessarily want the full breakfast and a bun on the run is a better option for them. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner; we had jolly nice steaks there in the evening.
Take the lift all the way up to the top and you’ll find the RED Fitness gym and RED ROOF pool + bar + grill, with its spectacular views stretching from Table Mountain all the way across the Waterfront and looking down onto the bustling Silo District.
As an urban location, it doesn’t get much better than this. Travellers are smack bang in the middle of one of Cape Town’s best and most popular tourist attractions. The Zeitz MOCAA museum is literally a few steps away across the plaza, and the Silo District is filled with great restaurants like Si Cantina Sociale and The Yard, as well as a Lindt Chocolate Studio. It’s a short walk to the Clock Tower precinct (where you can catch the ferry to Robben Island) with even more restaurants – we loved Lupa Osteria for delicious Italian and fresh pasta made on-site – and from there you can cross the bridge to the main part of the Waterfront where you’ll find dozens of shops and restaurants, the Cape Wheel, and access to any number of boat trips and helicopter flips, and the sounds of busking marimba bands fill the air while seagulls wheel noisily above.
One of the biggest selling points of the V&A Waterfront and one of which it is proud, is that it is set in a working harbour. This means you get to see the comings and goings of the boats, and it also means when there are ships in the dry dock, it can get pretty noisy during the day. There is one such dock alongside the Radisson RED, but if you keep the sliding doors of your studio closed, it won’t disturb you much. Frankly, if this is going to be a problem, you should rather seek accommodation elsewhere. Personally, I love the vibrant maritime energy, and slept with the door open.
There are 252 rooms – studios – at Radisson RED which extend the theme of modern functionality and clean lines. The massive flat screen television is a joy, and can also be used to order room service (or you can download the app). The small detail of including fresh milk in the bar fridge did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Not all beds and pillows are created equal, and the one in my studio was deliciously comfortable and luxurious. Robes and slippers are in the closet with its sliding mirror doors which emphasise the compact utility of all the furnishings and fittings. Everything is sleek and unfussy, with bold artistic strokes in black and red against the stark white canvas of the décor.
You’ll notice the contact email below is addressed to “Baxter”. A Boston terrier, he is the resident hotel mascot and unofficial boss, and his likeness adorns the walls. You’ll meet him during the week (he takes weekends off), and the hotel is pet-friendly too. See the website for terms and conditions.
Radisson RED Hotel, Silo 6, Silo Square,V&A Waterfront
Telephone: 087 086 1578
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN
- This story first appeared in Independent Traveller on August 4, 2018