The people behind the scenes at The Darling – NSW’s only Forbes Five Star rated hotel – reveal how they’ve mastered the art of customer service.
In 2017, we were thrilled when The Darling become the first and only hotel in Sydney to win five stars in the Forbes Travel Guide. When assessing the boutique hotel inside The Star Sydney, the Forbes inspector highlighted amenities including The Darling gym, “kitted out with the latest fitness technology” custom-made in Italy, the private oasis that is the outdoor pool, and The Darling Spa, where guests are pampered with luxury skincare products in 11 treatment rooms.
Of course, these glamourous experiences wouldn’t be what they are without the attentive hotel staff who keep things running. It’s thanks to them that The Darling has upheld its five-star rating for the last four years. As they explain, it all comes down to superb customer service.
Danielle Williams – Spa Manager at The Darling Spa
At The Darling Spa we provide an experience that surpasses what guests would expect. We always aim to surprise and delight guests through every interaction. From the reservation service to guests’ arrival and throughout their whole spa experience, up until the farewell, we aim to be attentive.
It’s a delicate balance with being overattentive. We want to provide a level of service that is anticipatory, knowing what a guest wants before they even know it themselves. Things like, if we see a guest heading towards the wet facilities, obviously they’re going to have swimwear with them, so before they even need to ask, we offer them a bag for their swimwear. Or if we see their glass is empty, we ask them if they’d like another drink.
We focus on the finer details, looking at the guests and reading their faces if they look lost, or that kind of thing. We aim to give guests something that goes beyond what they expect through their normal interactions with another business.
Addy Soebarkah – Front Desk Agent
Our beautiful product is one thing, but service and how we deliver our service is what separates us from other properties. We have a genuine sense of care for our guests and get into the mind of who the guest is. If somebody’s celebrating an anniversary we’d always ask, “How many years have you been together?” There’s a genuine sense of wanting to know who they are and why they’re staying with us.
For me, that is the bread and butter of our service. We’re always anticipating needs. If a guest asks for a bucket of ice to be sent up to the room, we’d always follow that request with the question, “Would you like a pair of glasses with that?”
As a team, we also focus on language. We’re more inclined to speak to guests in a cultivated English. But that changes if we have international guests, when we’ll try adapting to help with communication. We recognise every guest is different.
Mila Szumska – Executive Housekeeper
The housekeeping staff is more engaged with the guests. It’s not only about cleaning. We provide a personalised service that is definitely unique, always greeting guests by their name. And if a guest tells us that they have the flu, we’ll write them a get-well-soon card.
A big thing for us is consistency, because if one department fails, we all fail in offering the anticipatory customer service we want to provide. We also do things like a compulsory turn-down service. Another thing we do that is unique to The Darling is that we place all guest personal items on a napkin, so none of their items are directly placed on the vanity. Little touches like this set us apart.
Experience the Forbes Five Star treatment yourself by booking your stay at The Darling in The Star Sydney. Rooms start at $230 a night.