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The Silo Hotel Dining

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3 June2020

by Nicole Sorour

The Royal Portfolio's floral arrangements have blossomed over the years.

While our hotels remain closed, we wanted to share a few insights into our floral arrangements and highlight the talented women who enrich the beautiful spaces throughout The Royal Portfolio properties.

Liz Biden is passionate about flowers. When she isn’t busy at the hotels she might be found in her rose garden – her floral sanctuary. A room is simply not fully dressed, fully alive, without flowers. Eye-catching arrangements can be found at each of The Royal Portfolio properties establishing a sense of glamour and elegance. Each hotel’s style is different and each arrangement has a distinct sense of place.

Meticulous thought goes into every arrangement. Each room has been decorated by Liz – fresh flowers match and complement the unique colour schemes.

The style of Birkenhead House is a mix of white linen with plush fabrics, colourful paintings and decorative antiques. In-house florist Alyson Kessel understands this aesthetic perfectly and her dreamy floral designs work beautifully to enhance the whimsical interiors. Alyson prefers a minimalist look for maximum effect. Her arrangements are inspirational, her choice of blooms, colour combinations and groupings are diverse. Guests are always delighted by her creations as they are both sophisticated and fun.

Birkenhead House is the setting for Alyson Kessel’s book “Birkenhead Blooms”, a guide on how to master the art of preparing modern and stylish flower combinations.

Located in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley on a private 30-acre estate, La Residence is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, plum orchards, vegetable gardens and fragrant flower beds. La Residence has four beehives on the estate which produce honey for our guests and which benefit the surrounding ecosystem. In keeping with our Purpose and Values, we strive to do as much as we can to promote conservation, protect the environment and support local communities.

Fresh flowers are a wonderful part of the guest experience. La Residence uses mostly all indigenous flowers which include Asiatic Lilies, Lisianthus, Hypericum, Michaelmas Daisies and the following which are grown on the estate – Alstroemeria, Ruscus, Limonium, Pennygum, Safari Sunset, Protea, Marigold and Pincushion.

Elegant antiques and exquisite flowers enhance beautiful spaces throughout the hotel. Guests are handed posies of flowers on arrival before heading to their individually decorated and named suites. Whether it’s Armani, Huguenot, Nomatemba or Chambre Bleu, the fresh flowers match the colour scheme of the room.

Each day, full-time florist Madalaine Jefthas comes in to arrange flowers for La Residence, making the most of what the hotel has to offer. Madalaine is responsible for maintaining every floral arrangement – that’s around 300 pots of flowers. Guests are constantly asking Madalaine to share how she achieves arrangements that are full and rich, yet relaxed and informal.

Madalaine takes her lead from what’s in bloom seasonally and is happy to mix foliage and flowers with branches laden with fruit. On the tables in the great hall, in the bedrooms and bathrooms, arrangements of country cottage blooms are always a focus.

La Residence and Madalaine were featured on BBC’s “Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby”. The show followed her picking, sorting and arranging flowers at the hotel and then back to her home in Groendal – a settlement nearby in which she lives with her three sons. Groendal is home to almost 60% of the hotel staff. Aside from flowers, Madalaine is also passionate about the critical work The Royal Portfolio Foundation does for the vulnerable children who live in the broader community of the Franschoek Valley.

A few years ago, Cape Town experienced a severe drought. The Silo Hotel had to adapt its choice of flowers to be more water wise. The Silo Rooftop is decorated with succulents and artifical grass to minimise water use.

Likewise at Royal Malewane located in The Greater Kruger National Park, where water is scarce, the use of succulents can be seen throughout the hotel.

Many of the beautiful designs and images are featured in The Royal Portfolio’s book – A Perfect Stay.

Flower Arranging Tips With Madalaine

Ensure variety in the shape of the bloom, colour and texture.

Balance simplicity and visual impact when choosing your flowers.

The shape of your vase will determine the outcome of your arrangement. Choose something in the middle. A tall, skinny vase could produce a columnar arrangement. A low, shorter vase might create a droopy arrangement.

Let nature guide your assembly process. Begin with the stiffest, woodiest materials. Build the foundation with flowering shrubs. Use your star flowers as focal points, and create floaters using the short-season blooms that are only enjoyed while they last.

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