The hospitality industry has taken several major knocks following strict lockdowns – but some sectors have found ways to thrive where others have struggled. Hotels, in particular, have found themselves having to change the way they work within the communities in which they are situated, rather than operating as neutral zones which are frequented only by short-term visitors. As things open up, guests are arriving – but having experienced some hotels as a part of their communities back home, they now have different expectations of the modern hotel experience. BlackBrick Cape Town is one such example, having become a cultural and innovative hub for Cape Town’s thriving creative community in the heart of the CBD, under lockdown.
The building has embraced its community inviting artists to paint custom murals in some of its communal spaces to have it come alive as part of an ecosystem that allows creatives to express themselves, form connections and exchange ideas. “The building has become a real melting pot of creativity,” says BlackBrick Cape Town‘s GM, Philip Bailey. “Taking on the identity of the neighbourhood and becoming a space where people want to live, work and play has been essential – and will be a major part of the hotel industry going forward,” he says. “The Cape Town scene can be a difficult place to find your space in, but by becoming what our guests want us to be and curating experiences for them that contribute to all areas of their lives, we’re seeing a diverse audience embracing an African brand in among the European and American cookie-cutter spaces.”
BlackBrick Cape Town is part of the BlackBrick network, which includes the BlackBrick Sandton development, in the heart of Johannesburg’s financial district. Their “vertical villages” have seen vacant office buildings reinvented and turned into accessible accommodation and co-working spaces, becoming serviced, furnished hotel apartments with meditation gardens, boardrooms, boxing gyms, cinemas, theatres, Zoom pods and bars, for total integration of lifestyle needs. By buying into one BlackBrick “club”, owners can have access to the facilities at the buildings in Sandton and Cape Town – with more local and global opportunities in the pipeline, including Los Angeles, Mexico City and Dubai – or visitors can take up short or long-term stays as hotel guests.