Giles Coren and Monica Galetti travel to South Africa - where they experience a land of contrasts through working in two very different hotels.
In this insightful and entertaining programme, Giles and Monica travel to South Africa - where they experience a land of contrasts through working in two very different hotels. The Silo is an industrial-chic, luxury art-themed hotel in the heart of Cape Town. It sits in the former elevator shaft of a 90-year-old, 187-foot grain silo (once dubbed the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa) and on top of the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa - the African equivalent of the Tate Modern - within the same repurposed historic building. The redesign of the silo building was led by British star designer Thomas Heatherwick, who created 96 stunning windows which contain over 5,300 individual panes of glass overall and cost £50,000 each to construct.
Giles and Monica discover that what looks amazing can be challenging to maintain. Giles puts his best window-cleaning skills to use on the angular panes inside the hotel, whilst Monica draws the short straw and gamely abseils from the 11th floor of the building to clean the exterior, using a mixture of citrus peel and alcohol. The choice of waterless cleaning products highlights a huge challenge for the hotel and for the city - during Cape Town's worst drought in a century. Giles works alongside maintenance man Dean as he checks the hotel's water aerators - special devices fitted to taps and shower heads - and finds that so far they have reduced water consumption in the hotel by nearly 60%.
Whilst there is a severe shortage of one liquid, Monica discovers another is very popular in town. She works with Zimbabwean bar manager, Jonas, who offers 14 different types of gin, many distilled in Cape Town and infused with plants that can only be found locally. She cooks with Chef Zyaad, who draws inspiration from his Cape Malay heritage, and is shown the hotel's own bijou art gallery, The Vault, which features the work of emerging artists.