Liz Biden loves nothing more than to showcase the beauty and people of South Africa. Wherever possible she works with local designers and manufacturers that are making a meaningful impact.
The driving force behind The Royal Portfolio has become synonymous with beautiful spaces and an eclectic design aesthetic that has been delighting guests of The Royal Portfolio for nearly 20 years. A style that is more maximalist than minimalist with a focus on destination specific design.
Each of The Royal Portfolio hotels has a boutique stocked with a carefully curated selection of gifts, clothes and objets d’art specific to the experience. Birkenhead House for example has a more laid-back, beach oriented boutique while the guests at La Residence look for more sophisticated items and they love to buy the wine, jams and preserves produced from the Estate.
In keeping with the ethos of The Royal Portfolio Foundation, it is important that the suppliers we work with operate ethically and play their part in developing communities in South Africa. The boutique at Royal Malewane is an elegant emporium of locally sourced African treasures including scarves and clutch bags from Lalela and the amazing ceramics, cushions, napkins and table mats from Ardmore. Mavros Silver provides intricately sculpted ornaments that are ideal mementos for our guests that want to take a little piece of their safari experience home with them.
The Potters Workshop is a wonderful project – they make beautiful ceramics – some of them just for us, while the beaded wire place-mats and key-rings are made in colours selected by Liz and made by a group of female weavers based in Kwa-Zulu Natal – it is their sole income.
The shop at Royal Malewane has been open since day one but the merchandise is constantly evolving. “We always try to find new items to keep the shop alive for our many return guests.” says Liz. Many pieces in our boutiques are made specifically for Liz including the bestselling monkey place-mats at Royal Malewane.
“Our guests like to buy items that remind them of their holiday, be it a curio, piece of jewellery or something special like a cashmere shawl. On safari, guests often find that they need a hat and love to get into the safari experience with safari clothing – neutral olive green and khaki colours. Guests often find they need warm jackets for early morning game drives or evenings around the fire in the Masiya Bar.” explains Liz.
“Hotel boutiques are evolving. I always look at shops in hotels that I visit. Some are better than others but mostly they are improving and trying to offer unique, destination specific items.” Liz Biden
Increasingly guests are engaging with the art at The Royal Portfolio hotels. At The Silo Hotel in particular, guests are falling in love with many of the pieces and the incredible people and stories behind the art. Often our guests are able to meet the artists themselves during their stay in Cape Town and our team can arrange for the art to be shipped home for them.
Likewise, South African wines are hugely popular with our guests. South African producers are really shining on the world stage due to the outstanding quality and value for money. Many guests enjoy having their favourite holiday tipple delivered to their home in time for their return.
Image courtesy of Mohau Modisakeng and WHATIFTHEWORLD.
So next time you’re at one of The Royal Portfolio properties, take a moment to peruse the boutique – there’s perhaps more to it than meets the eye.
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