Eco-friendly thatched roofs crown Dubai’s new Sofitel

Sofitel Palm Jumeirah


Environmentally friendly thatched roofs are now in place on one of the newest hotel projects in Dubai.

The Cape Reed Group of Companies completed the construction project for the new Sofitel resort located on the Palm Jumeirah.


The company started work on the project in April 2011 and in December completed the design and installation of 7,000m² thatched roofing for the hotel, as well as 5,000m² thatch tile ceilings, including 100m of timber hand rails and 800m² of timber decking.

It also designed and built 60 thatched breach umbrellas, 40 thatched beach cabanas, five life guard huts, as well as 200m² of timber pergolas.

Special pressure-treated timber columns from South Africa were used to build all the structures, while the group’s cape reed thatching was used for all the roofs.

Andre van Heerden, managing partner, said:  “Cape Reed was involved with this project from the design stage and we are extremely proud to be a part of this tremendous accomplishment and to see this remarkable resort set new standards for sustainable resorts in the UAE,”

The company’s primary roofing material, which also gives the company its name, is cape reed, a unique kind of thatch that only grows on a small strip of land in the Southern Cape region of South Africa. Because of its scarcity very strict farming practices are adhered to in order to ensure its sustainability.

The cape reed plant grows for an average of six years before it is harvested, and provides one of the most durable natural fibres on earth, making it ideal for thatching.

Cape Reed thatching structures have a life expectancy of anything from 20 to 50 years. It allows trapped water and heat to escape, making it waterproof and UV-proof, while its insulating properties mean it can be as much as 10˚C cooler in summer, and warmer in winter than a standard roof cover, making it ideal for the local climate.

“The natural materials used throughout the resort are key in connecting our guests to their environment,” said Christophe Schnyder, general manager of Sofitel.

“Cape reed definitely falls into this category as they provide a very successful natural product with a high level of installation and quality control. They were selected due to their expertise in dealing with the natural reed product, which was utilised effectively as a unique architectural element throughout the Palm Jumeirah Sofitel Resort.”

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