South Africa - Liz Biden
Maître Hôtelier
An eye for detail
" Liz takes her inspiration from many sources "

The skilful eye of Liz Biden is evident throughout the thoughtful presentation of each of the very individual hotels within The Royal Portfolio in South Africa.

Liz Biden and her husband, Phil, moved from the world of fashion to hospitality in the late 1990s when they converted their holiday home on a private game reserve into a luxury lodge - Royal Malewane - Birkenhead House, La Residence and The Silo followed.

Each property is individual and in each the interior design has been meticulously crafted by Liz Biden, demonstrating her considerable talent for creating beautiful spaces that are both comfortable and luxurious and yet remain sympathetic to the original building.

Liz takes her inspiration from many sources, including ornaments, fabrics and designs that she may have come across whilst travelling or seen in a magazine. She then tries to incorporate these ideas into the local environment, using South African artists or designers wherever possible.

“Every room is different, each space unique. I tend to start by introducing a piece of furniture, fabric, carpet, or a painting that catches my eye or inspires me. This will then be the spark for the rest of the room,” she explained.

“I try to make the process as natural as possible, allowing the room to make suggestions along the way - there is a lot of trial and error and moving of furniture involved! I don’t ever think of a room as complete - it’s continually evolving.

With a portfolio of properties each boasting its own unique characteristics and history, the design usually relates to the building’s heritage.

“For example, Royal Malewane has furniture and interiors which enhance the classical safari that guests enjoy in the African bushveld, celebrating the balance of nature and luxury. That said, I like to brighten things up with the odd splash of bright colour and eclectic design.

“The interiors of The Silo Hotel are in stark contrast to the raw, industrial feel of the building’s exterior. Each room adopts its own unique, often bright and daring colour-scheme. However, the building’s heritage remains an important attribute that has been smartly incorporated into the interior design. The concentric circle chandeliers on the sixth floor of the hotel for example, represent the original steel rings used in the old grain elevator.”

One aim remains constant across all the hotels: to make the guest feel completely relaxed and comfortable. “The interiors should allow our guests to have a complete experience and a perfect stay. That is our company purpose. And one of our values is to create an environment of relaxation and enjoyment.”

The style of food served is also part of the overall ambience and experience of the hotel and Liz works closely with the executive chefs to achieve that synergy. “We strive to make our cuisine delicious with a definite sense of place and regional sensitivity without being overly fussy or pretentious,” she said.

Amanda Roberts
Editor, Revue internationale de la Chaîne

All photos: (c) The Royal Portfolio


From top to bottom:
1. La Résidence
2. Royal Malewane
3. John & Liz Biden
4. The Silo