For two upscale New York hotels, prestige is not limited to the individual guest rooms, but rather, it begins on the ground floor — in the lobby restrooms to be more exact. The Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park Hotel and the W New York Times Square Hotel were awarded the Kimberly-Clark Roving Restroom Rater Award.

Gordon Javna, editor-in-chief of the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader book series, selected the award-winning restrooms based on cleanliness and overall appearance.

“It’s not just cleanliness, but atmosphere,” says Aziz Bendriss, director of housekeeping for the Ritz-Carlton Central Park Hotel.

The Ritz-Carlton’s restrooms feature a classical décor of Irish linens, candles, wood vanities, wood stall-doors with smoked glass and marble floors. The marble is kept so clean that guests’ shoes squeak when they walk into the restrooms, Bendriss says.

At the W New York Times Square Hotel, the ambiance is just as exquisite. The style is rather uniform for warmth and color, says Arnold Tamasar, the assistant director of housekeeping and style at the hotel.

The restrooms overflow with greenery. There are three tiers of wheat grass, Egyptian green limestone and white oak doors with gingko leaves embedded in the frosted glass. For special occasions such as weddings or wine tastings, the hotel adds an extra touch by providing a restroom attendant to hand out towels.
“After normal events, guests say the cleanliness was to their liking,” says Tamasar. “But when we use an attendant at high-end events, we get a lot more positive feedback.”

But even an elegant restroom loses its appeal when it’s not kept clean. Both hotels invest a lot of time keeping the restrooms looking clean and consistent.

“Consistency is very important,” says Tamasar. “We clean religiously.”

Every half-hour a team of two people do light cleaning, such as wiping down the walls and replacing soaps. There is a checklist to follow and sign inside the restrooms, along with a built-in supply cupboard. The light-cleaning process takes about 10 minutes. At night, a contract cleaning crew cleans the floor and grout. They overhaul the restrooms, either closing it down or sectioning off specific areas.

Bendriss is just as strict with his cleaning schedule. The Ritz-Carlton restrooms are cleaned and stocked every hour. Certain areas must be cleaned with a cotton swab to ensure perfection. If it’s not to Bendriss’s liking, he calls the staff back for another round of cleaning. Like Tamasar, Bendriss uses a contract cleaning crew at night to make everything perfect again by 6 a.m.

The award is extra special to Bendriss and the Ritz-Carlton Central Park Hotel because the hotel is less than a year old. While the W Times Square Hotel has been around longer, Tamasar says the feeling is just as great.

“It feels rewarding for all the hard work we do,” says Tamasar. “It feels even better when other people recognize the care put into the restroom.”

Dan Weltin
Products Editor

ICAN: A New Resource For Cleaning Executives
Consultants to the cleaning industry have formed the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN).
The network is designed to promote respect for the cleaning services industry. Managers can contact ICAN for expert advice and information on the development of cleaning standards.

From the “Teaming with Controversy” article in the February issue:
Bruce Stark is the manager of building services at Colorado State University, not the University of Colorado.

Communication is Key
I found “Beyond Words” of interest in the February issue. At first glance, the comic front cover captured my curiosity and compelled me to finish the article, which is rare. Let me clarify the unfinished articles. It’s not for lack of interest; it’s the busy world of housekeeping and the need for constant communication that often keeps me from honing my skills.

Your staff writer reflected upon an important issue in our industry that is too often overlooked. The business of cleaning is complex and not as simple as many assume. The right information can make the difference. Effective communication with our customers and staff is vital to our continued success. I’m fortunate to have come across Housekeeping Solutions magazine and welcome articles that will remind me personally of how to stay in tune with the business.

I especially related to your statement, in which you identified the housekeeping department as having the lion’s share of challenging communication problems within the facility hierarchy. You have a real handle on the business. Bravo.

— Ronald E. Smith
Project Manager for Omni Facility Services