Casino Royale Hotel Goes ‘All In’ on Laundry Room Redesign

LAS VEGAS — When Betsy Bracken, the director of marketing for the Casino Royale & Hotel, planned a remodel of the property’s 150 guestrooms on the Las Vegas Strip, she figured the project scope was large enough that there really wasn’t any room for it to get any bigger.
Bracken was excited as her redesign project got started. She took a deliberate approach to redoing the guestrooms, placing the bed and linens center stage.
“The beds looked very nice,” she says, adding that the property chose a three-sheet makeup, a new comforter, high-quality mattress cover, and bed skirting. Problem was, that quality look and feel wasn’t conveyed when the linens returned from the laundry.
“I was not happy with the wash process,” Bracken says, adding that when the beds were made up with the clean linens, the look was far below expectations. “To me, it looked like the bed had been slept in.”
Naturally, she sought out answers about what was causing the poor wash quality. At this point, if she were in a horror movie, the audience would be yelling, “Don’t go down in the basement!” Bracken was certainly frightened when she witnessed, as she puts it, “the full magnitude of what was going on.”
One washer was functioning, but the other was leaking, she says. Three dryers appeared to be working, but she questioned their true efficiency. That’s when the hotel’s remodel grew to include a complete laundry makeover.QUITE AN EDUCATION
Bracken interviewed a number of laundry equipment distributors before deciding on UniMac distributor AJ Industries.
“I received quite an education in laundry,” she says, adding that her learning began during her first meeting with AJ Industries Owner/President Joseph Dramise.
“I learned more in the first 10 minutes with Joe than the whole time I spent with all the other distributors.”
But there were many challenges ahead, including how to accomplish Bracken’s goal of installing a flatwork ironer in the small space that was available.
“To get as efficient as possible, we really needed to have three washers and three dryers,” she explains. That wouldn’t make her goal of adding an ironer to the mix an easy proposition. “It was a little like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”
Along the way, she learned the dryers in-service were not reversing, the laundry was consistently compounding its inefficiency by overdrying loads, and the washer-extractor foundations were crumbling. The water softener wasn’t functioning properly, and because of the age of the building, water wasn’t hot enough for some wash cycles.
“While water not reaching a high-enough temperature seems like a minor issue for the laundry, it’s really not,” says Kim Shady, vice president of sales for UniMac. “Laundry chemicals designed for hot-water applications often require very high temperatures. If your hot water is not hot enough, it will impact the chemical’s effectiveness.”
So a plan was created to meet all of Casino Royale & Hotel’s needs. This included tearing down walls and eventually gutting the laundry. Meanwhile, the project gained a sense of urgency.
“We got down to only one washer that was working and then that one died,” Bracken says.TASK COMPLETED IN ONE WEEK
AJ Industries installed three 55-pound washer-extractors along with three 75-pound drying tumblers, all from UniMac. In addition, the distributor assisted with upgrading the water softener and water heater.
Despite the space being unable to accommodate an ironer, “AJ Industries worked very hard to meet my wish list,” Bracken says.
“We designed the room around someday having an ironer,” she adds.
“We also rearranged the room to allow more space dedicated to folding clean linens,” Dramise says.
The project included pouring new foundations for the washer-extractors, replacing flooring, painting walls, and adding piping for the new equipment.
Despite the size and scope of the total laundry makeover, the task was completed in one week in September, a feat that amazed Bracken.
Getting the new equipment installed was only part of the equation. New, more efficient equipment meant staff would need to implement new procedures.
“We’re trying to break some bad habits,” Bracken says of changing how the laundry room operates, which also has included switching some laundry chemicals. But change has definitely been good.
“The overall efficiency of the Casino Royale & Hotel laundry is vastly improved,” Dramise says, adding that the combination of the higher extraction speeds, more efficient drying tumblers, and overall improvements to wash formulas have had a significant impact.
“A laundry that was handicapped before by dated, inefficient equipment, today is far more productive and efficient,” he adds.
Shady says other on-premise laundry managers can learn from the Casino Royale & Hotel project.
“It would have been easy to replace the washers and dryers, without focusing on a total laundry solution,” he says. “Relying on a laundry expert like Joe Dramise improved productivity and linen quality.”
Bracken is excited that the changes have led to the kind of quality she hoped for from the start. “Certainly, we’ve gotten better finished results [with the new UniMac laundry equipment],” she says.
But the real test has been how guests have received the changes at the property. It appears Casino Royale & Hotel has hit 21.
“Feedback from guests has been very positive,” Bracken says.


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