World class, leading hotel Adare Manor’s new laundry system delights both guests and staff alike. We talk to Director of Housekeeping, Kate Feighery about what’s been happening in their laundry and the benefits these changes have brought.
Adare Manor, located on the banks of the River Maigue in County Limerick, Ireland, is the former seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl and now a luxury five-star hotel. The property, set on 840 acres and incorporating a championship golf course and the only La Mer Spa in the British Isles, was awarded ‘Hotel of the Year 2018’ at the Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards.
In summer 2017 the venue underwent extensive refurbishment and now hosts 104 bedrooms, a ballroom that can accommodate up to 350 guests, a year round wedding business, plus its dining facilities, spa and golf clubhouse. It’s no surprise therefore that the laundry at Adare Manor has a lot to cope with.
The hotel laundry, which comes under the jurisdiction of Director of Housekeeping Kate Feighery, runs both a dry cleaning and a wet cleaning system. Along with the day to day laundry of sheets, towels and catering linens, there are 515 staff uniforms to keep in pristine condition and guest laundry requirements which can be anything from socks to wedding gowns.
“Adare Manor is one of the few hotels in Ireland that has the capability of handling all its laundry requirements in-house,” states Kate. “Our linens are a key element of our hospitality and service offering and as such are of the upmost importance.”
Laundry, and the linens themselves, is a considerable outlay for any operation, but especially for a five star hotel. Adare Manor understands the value of high quality textiles in terms of providing guests with an exceptional hotel experience and that in order to facilitate this, laundering standards must be second to none.
Kate continues: “When I joined the hotel in May 2018, we decided to re-evaluate the laundry programmes and products and look into improved ways of working that could add value to our services. Last year, laundry specialists Christeyns, who already provided our dry cleaning chemicals, carried out a full assessment of the facility in order to offer guidance on the most effective solution to meet our growing requirements.”
Christeyns’ laundry consultants worked with the venue’s housekeeping team to understand the daily needs and challenges of the laundry, the systems in place and the quality of output.
Due to the broad variety of textiles, Christeyns recommended the use of both wet and dry laundry methods in addition to the regular wash cycles. Machines were pre-programmed to cope with the demands and variants of the daily wash regime. For Dry cleaning, the machines were set up with the Sultra range of detergents that include a cleaning enhancer, finisher and deodorising agent, all gentle on fabrics, leaving items easy to finish and with a pleasant aroma.
Christeyns’ renowned Pro-Fit products were introduced for wet cleaning. Pro-Fit detergent can be used at low temperatures and in all types of water hard or soft. The range is gentle on fabric and fibres, being exclusively developed for wet cleaning delicate textiles.
For Christeyns, being awarded the laundry detergent business for such a highly prestigious hotel was a proud moment. Dave Aveyard, Christeyns Operations Director commented: “We couldn’t be happier to be working with Adare Manor. Kate and her team take their laundry very seriously and we have been delighted to help support them with our range of services and expertise. The work carried out at Adare Manor is part of an on-going strategy at Christeyns as we look to further develop this market sector of luxury hotels in the UK and Ireland.”
“We now have a new auto-dosing system which has been effectively installed in a unit outside the laundry to maximise on space, “ explains Kate. “This central dosing system accurately matches detergent to wash load and continuously checks and correct dosages. We can monitor all aspects of the wash and it also has built in alarms to advise us when chemicals need replacing.”
“All our table linens are specially designed and hand-made in Italy by Beltrami Linen, from 100% cotton. We have two colours of napkins, not just white, and it is essential that all pieces are laundered in a way that prolongs the life of the linen as well as ensuring it is perfectly washed. We take time to separate all our linens so as to give each piece the correct type of wash and to produce the optimum end result.
“At Adare Manor we do not use starch – we don’t use folds or creases and all our table linens are hand set and hand hung. This makes it doubly important that the wash programme produces items that is easy to handle.”
It’s not just the actual systems and products though which make the Adare Manor laundry stand out from the crowd. It is the service offering and the competent, specially trained team of 14 laundry staff who are able to deal with guest laundry requests, even the most challenging issues.
Kate explains: “Christeyns provided training for our laundry team, this involved an intensive two week course covering all aspects of both dry and wet cleaning, fibre identification, classification of garments, stain removal, finishing and specialist, delicate garment treatment as well as chemical safety. The new systems have made life much easier for my staff and our linen reject rate is now much reduced at under 8%. Re-wash is even lower at only 2%. This not only makes us more productive but also saves on detergent, water and energy usage.
“Having a laundry on-premise means that we can attend to any guest request immediately,“ continues Kate. “We have had instances where time is of the essence, such as a stain on a wedding dress that needed removing ready for the big event. As we can now handle such tasks professionally in-house, this was accomplished and the garment returned in an hour and half by our head of dry cleaning. “
The hotel laundry is open seven days a week for at least 12 hours a day and currently processes on average 41,100 kilos of laundry a month. This will increase in the summer months. Its deluxe rooms feature king sized beds with luxurious 300 thread count, 100% cotton bed linen, goose down pillows and duvets, plus 650g cotton towels and monogrammed bathrobes and duvet covers.
“The laundry facility has gone from strength to strength since the new system has been in operation, making a huge difference to both the quality of output and the day to day work experience for our laundry staff, states Kate. “One of the first things you notice is the lovely smell when you take the laundry out of the washer. And it’s not just our staff that have noticed. Guests have asked me where they can buy the fabric softener we use!”
“As luxury hoteliers we understand the value of high quality textiles both in terms of providing our guests with exceptional standards but also in operational efficiency. We can now be assured of consistently top quality output with a faster turnaround rate whilst reducing wastage and our environmental impact. What more could we ask.”