By Kim Ball
Western Australian owned and managed, the Esplanade Fremantle Hotel is a four star international, 300 room hotel in the heart of the historic port of Fremantle. With a management passionate about sustainability, this hotel has picked up numerous environmental awards.
The original section of the hotel was built in 1875 and since then three new accommodation wings have been constructed to complement the original heritage listed building.
The cleaning of facilities including rooms, two restaurants, a lounge bar plus the third largest conference centre in WA and nine function rooms is managed by an internal housekeeping team of 50 cleaning staff.
Unusually the lobby, reception and main thoroughfares of the premises are carpeted which, according to Executive Housekeeper Bianca DeSouza, has its challenges. However, on inspection looks luxurious and cleverly joins the areas of the hotel together.
“The carpet in these areas is about five years old,” said DeSouza. “These areas are spot cleaned throughout the day and cleaned by external cleaning contractors at night.
“This is a tendered contract which is currently being fulfilled by ISS cleaning services. This group has been working with us since June 2009.
“At night, ISS staff clean the lobby, reception, lounge bar area, restaurants, conference and function rooms as well as common washrooms throughout the hotel.”
In seeking tenders for this contract the Esplanade focuses on companies that are environmentally friendly.
Managing director Marylyn New is a passionate advocate for the environment and has played an instrumental role in the implementation and success of the Esplanade’s environmental policy.
The hotel was the first in Western Australia to commit to the environment by announcing its ‘Living a Cleaner Dream’ policy. The Esplanade joined the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Challenge in 1997; became the first AAA Tourism-accredited Green Stars hotel in WA in 2001; was presented with the inaugural Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ‘WA Environmental Initiative Award’ in 2007; and the AHA ‘National Environmental Initiative Award’ in August 2008.
The Esplanade focuses on recycling, reducing water use, using environmentally friendly products, energy management, reducing the production of greenhouse gases and solar hot water heating.
“We encourage our guests to reuse their bathroom towels, we provide an environmentally friendly range of bathroom products and housekeeping staff use biodegradable products for cleaning,” noted DeSouza.
“Of course price is a factor however the hotel’s focus is to be environmentally conscious.
“Quite often Ms New will stop cleaning staff to ask what products they are using. She is an energetic and proactive owner which is great!
“For example she insists we use vinegar and water to clean the buffet floor in The Atrium Restaurant.
“With the trolleys used to move equipment in the restaurant, they scuff the lino so staff buff the floor as required and once a quarter the floor is stripped and resealed.
DeSouza shared that she had always worked in the hospitality industry, including working for four years in India’s famous Taj Mahal. She arrived in Australia in 2001, completed her Masters in Business Administration and joined the Esplanade seven years ago as manager on duty. For the past six years she has been the executive housekeeper.
When asked why she enjoyed working at the Esplanade DeSouza said that the staff she worked with were very friendly.
“The people I work with have become like family. The fact that the hotel is locally owned and managed makes a difference plus the hotel has its own charm.”
Housekeeping staff at the Esplanade work between 8am and 4pm each day. Their main focus is on cleaning guest rooms which range from standard rooms to 48.5square metre suites.
“The majority of areas in the hotel are carpeted,” confirmed DeSouza.
“Backpack vacuum cleaners are used to clean the rooms and upright vacuum cleaners for corridors.
“We have an auto scrubber machine and a carpet cleaning machine for spot cleaning and we outsource the regular hallway cleaning to ISS.”
The washrooms are mopped and cleaned during the day and as required and at night ISS staff scrub the tiles and give the areas a good clean.
“During the day washroom cleaning must be done as quickly as possible to cause minimal disruption to guests, especially when there is a conference taking place within the hotel,” insisted DeSouza.
“During peak season the accommodation section boasts about 450 to 500 guests per day and in the off-peak season we have average 60 to 65 per cent occupancy.
“There is always something happening in Fremantle.”