Sydneys Newest Luxury Hotel Embraces Innovative Mobile Cart Housekeeping Solution To Enhance The Guest Experience

Hospitality | 21/8/2018

When the brand-new, international five-star Sofitel Darling Harbour opened its doors in September 2017, it promised guests a one-of-a-kind, luxurious hotel experience; complete with breathtaking views on the Harbour and skyline, spectacular infinity pool, state-of-the-art technology and contemporary décor inspired by chic French elegance. When it came to selecting the right housekeeping solution to match this magnificent new property, Sofitel Darling Harbour chose to invest in a superior mobile cart system from Rubbermaid Commercial Products, designed with the best of both worlds: heavy-duty, high-performance substance paired with discrete, sophisticated style.

The Opportunity

With its striking glass façade towering over the sparkling waters of Darling Harbour, the Sofitel Darling Harbour luxury hotel is the jewel of the newly-developed harbourside precinct. This impressive, five-star luxury hotel is the first to be built in Sydney this millennium and the property takes full advantage of the latest technology innovations and current design trends in every detail. Creating a premium guest experience at this new, landmark property is paramount to its success. Guests are invited to relax in airy Club Millesime lounge for members, laze by the infinity pool, sip a cocktail at one of its three stylish bars or enjoy the sweeping cityscape from the floor-to-ceiling glass in every room; all elements have been designed to maximise the breathtaking views and premier position. Every detail is state-of-the-art and premium quality, right down to the housekeeping service which takes advantage of an innovative mobile cart housekeeping system. Sofitel Darling Harbour chose a cart-less housekeeping system, which was a new way of working for many housekeeping staff. “The hotel has 590 rooms including 35 suites across 28 floors. With a traditional housekeeping cart system, servicing so many rooms would have needed 56 carts or two carts per floor. Hallways would always be blocked and the space required to store them would be a significant footprint," said Sofitel Darling Harbour Housekeeping. Maintaining the brand new finishes and fixtures in a high-occupancy environment meant housekeeping teams needed to work with maximum productivity, and Sofitel Housekeeping decided a large traditional housekeeping cart would slow them down. With a compact, easy-to-transport mobile cart, a housekeeper can wheel the unit into the room, where they have all supplies and equipment within arms’ reach. Refreshing room amenities such as minibar or bathroom supplies are completed with swift efficiency. Workplace Health and Safety for housekeepers was a major factor in choosing a lighter-weight trolley-less system. Housekeeping staff have very physical jobs, and manoeuvring heavy traditional housekeeping carts pose a workplace injury risk.

The Solution

Sofitel Darling Harbour chose a 60-strong fleet of Executive Series Quick Carts, by Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP). The Quick Carts securely hold all housekeeping supplies and equipment in a compact, professional-looking, suitcase-style cart. The Quick Carts are easy-to-transport and small enough to move around quickly and discretely. “Guests would hardly know the Quick Carts were there,” said Sofitel Darling Harbour Housekeeping. “Housekeepers can wheel the Quick Carts quickly and quietly from room to room. The hallways are always clear, clean and tidy. Dirty linen and rubbish are not in plain sight.” Made from high-performance, stain-repelling and durable materials, the Quick Carts are strong enough to withstand rigorous daily use. Sofitel Darling Harbour Housekeeping has been impressed the durability and discrete design has been impressive. The sleek black, luggage-style design of the Quick Cart looks like an executive suitcase, so blends perfectly into the hotel’s prestige décor. “The Quick Carts are very clean and tidy, and far more professional-looking than traditional carts,” Sofitel Darling Harbour Housekeeping added. Featuring clever compartments with adjustable dividers and quick caddy, the Quick Carts securely store all room essentials such as tissue boxes, bathroom amenities, minibar and tea and coffee. The outside pockets securely hold cleaning equipment in place while the removable inner liner is treated with Teflon® fabric protector for easy cleaning or replacement. “Being able to separate all the room amenities using the different compartments and removable caddy is a great feature. The housekeeper can carry the caddy to the vanity bench, and everything they need is right there. It’s simply more efficient.” “The Quick Carts are very handy. Being able to wheel the Quick Cart into each guest room is a big advantage for productivity. Rather than constantly moving back and forth to a cart parked in the hallway to replenish amenities, everything is there in the room, within easy reach. The housekeeper can solve any problem straight away, without needing to leave the room.”


After initial uncertainty about the trolley-less system, Sofitel Darling Harbour’s Housekeeping team are now complete converts. “When the housekeepers first saw the smaller mobile cart, they were sceptical it could work as well as the traditional large housekeeping carts they’d always used in the past. After using it, though, they instantly realised how much easier it would be. There are a few adjustments you need to make, but the Quick Cart system fits the Sofitel Darling Harbour very well.” “Our RCP representatives came and spent time showing the whole housekeeping team how to use every feature more efficiently. This training was invaluable and helped them use the Quick Carts with confidence from day one.” Sofitel Darling Harbour Housekeeping management found the ergonomic design of the Quick Cart solves many WHS issues for its staff. No back issues have been recorded. “The telescopic handle can be adjusted very easily to suit the housekeeper’s height. Sofitel Housekeeping team members who are shorter really appreciated this adjustable feature.” Hospitality staff have found it makes a pleasant change from traditional housekeeping carts which are tall, posing a challenge for short-statured staff. “The Quick Carts are lightweight and easy to move from room to room. The hallways are clear of housekeeping clutter, so guests can move around more freely. Rooms can be serviced more efficiently with the Quick Carts too, as everything is right there at the housekeeper’s fingertips.” Guests can enjoy a beautifully clean room without unsightly or smelly housekeeping carts filled with dirty linen and rubbish cluttering the hallways and spoiling the prestigious guest experience they expect of the hotel. Read more about this implementation in the full case study