Behind the Desk: 5 people who make The Darling five stars

Darling, we’re five stars. With The Darling Sydney celebrating its fifth year as a Forbes five-star hotel – the only one in Sydney – five of our team members share the secret to five-star service.

For the fifth consecutive year, The Darling has earned the prestigious Forbes five-star ranking. Forbes look for many things, from room service to linens. But the thing that truly gets the judges’ attention? Service. The “attentive service” Forbes judges encountered helped The Darling become Australia’s first Forbes five-star property back in 2017. To celebrate our fifth year at the top, we sat down with five team members from The Darling to learn how they create our five-star experience.

The team at The Darling hotel.
The team at The Darling hotel.
Addy Soebarkah

Befitting a true alum of The Darling, Addy gets real satisfaction from providing good service. IT, housekeeping, concierge, bellman – you name it, Addy has done it in his role as Front Office Supervisor. Addy’s face is one of the first and last every guest sees, and he has his own finely tuned process to make sure each one feels welcome.  

Addy Soebarkah
Addy Soebarkah
What does five-star service mean to you?

Five-star service is the epitome of providing luxury and indulgence. The product we’re providing may sometimes be substantial and expensive, but the intangible five-star service won’t cost our guests a cent.

How does it feel to hold onto the Forbes five-star rating?

It makes me proud. I’ve been with The Darling since the very beginning. The moment my then-Front Office Manager and I saw The Darling listed under Five Stars on the Forbes website was incredible. As each year passed and we consecutively achieved the same standards, it made me even prouder. I carry so much passion for this property.

What is the special job skill you bring to The Darling?

Does my incredible sense of humour count? And possibly my impeccable handwriting.

Jonis Terrado

There is no such thing as an average guest for Jonis. The Bell Captain tailors his approach for each and every one of The Darling’s diverse customers. As the first point-of-contact for most visitors, Jonis knows the importance of creating a great impression from the outset.

Jonis Terrado
Jonis Terrado
How does it feel to hold onto the Forbes five-star rating?

I am honoured to be part of the only Forbes five-star rated hotel in Sydney. To be able to do it five years in a row is a testament of our teamwork and great customer service.

What do you strive to deliver every guest of The Darling?

I strive to create beautiful moments that will stay with them for a long time, remembering that each encounter is not a transaction but an interaction.

How do you create a personalised experience?

By having an inside-out knowledge of The Darling, being an active listener, being a team player and by being human, you can understand the needs and wants of each individual guest and tailor a personalised experience.

What is the special skill you contribute to The Darling?

My sense of humour? And I can carry out first-aid if they faint from laughing at my jokes.

Hanna Yepanchyntsava

It’s no small feat to make a job as demanding as Hanna’s look effortless. But that’s exactly what the Front Desk Agent pulls off every day. From the personalised amenity cards bearing her immaculate handwriting to the small moments of true indulgence she goes out of her way to deliver; Hanna has made hospitality her art.

Hanna Yepanchyntsava
Hanna Yepanchyntsava
What does five-star service mean to you?

Five-star service is all about making each and every guest feel special. It’s about exceeding guest expectations over and over and allowing them to forget about all the troubles of the real world.

How does it feel to hold onto the Forbes five-star rating? 

It fills me with pride and inspiration. We have an amazing team here at The Darling and we are all very passionate about making every day special for our lovely guests.

What about your job gives you the greatest satisfaction?

Seeing guests genuinely smile because we made their day, week or even their entire year better. It is such a little thing, but it is the best reward I can ever get for my work. 

Benjamin Maude

Benjamin knows that quality and comfort are as integral to luxury as the ‘wow’ moments. Since joining the team two years ago, the Front Desk Agent has committed to upholding the “sky-high” standards set by The Darling team and looks forward to retaining the Forbes five stars for many years to come.

Benjamin Maude
Benjamin Maude
What does five-star service mean to you?

To me, five-star service is surpassing someone’s expectations in a way that will leave a feeling of delight and satisfaction in their hearts for a long time after they’ve gone home. 

What do you strive to deliver every guest of The Darling?

“We’ll definitely see you again soon” is something I want to hear from each guest that I check in and out of The Darling. We get this by giving them a sense of a home away from home, whether it’s their first, third or tenth stay.

What’s the secret to creating a personalised experience?

Be passionate about what you’re doing and pay attention to the guest, plus having a genuine sense of interest in what they are doing during their stay with us.

Jean Barba

Since joining The Darling team a year ago, Jean has taken the Forbes five-star legacy as motivation to go above and beyond in her position as Assistant Front Office Manager. Jean views nurturing as central to her role and has become known for her calm demeanour at even the busiest of times.

Jean Barba
Jean Barba
What does five-star service mean to you?

Five-star service is all about creating positive and memorable experiences, harnessed with a careful and tailored approach, presentation and delivery. I love seeing our guests return to the property happy and feeling at home. 

What do you strive to deliver every guest of The Darling?

Knowing what truly matters – such as directing the mood, ensuring notable first impressions last and constantly anticipating needs before it’s asked – is the definition of a total experience for me.

What about your job gives you the greatest satisfaction?

When I see my team flourish through training, recognition and job performance. And, of course, welcoming return guests and fresh faces in the property.