Capture their imagination – start by getting excited!

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    I’m really interested in hotels that are targeted on children, especially with the design. Having two of my own it is really important that they are amazed as soon as they walk in through the doors as you generally pay quite a lot of money to stay at such places.I think one of the best hotels we’ve stayed at so far is the LegoLand Hotel in Windsor. Before you enter the hotel there is a dragon that roars and breathes smoke onto guests. You enter reception and are immediately confronted with lego play areas, buttons to push, whoopee cushion carpets and the gift shop… It’s bright, colourful and definitely a lot of fun. Rooms here are also geared up to entertain the kids with a treasure hunt to unlock a Lego toy in the safe and there is also a special kid’s part of the room with bunkbeds and a TV. In the bar area there’s a stage for entertainment in the evening, but this is targeted at a younger audience so if you have older children, it’s painful. This is where Alton Towers really hits the mark for all ages.

    The advantage here for Alton Towers is that there are two hotels. Splash Landings Hotel has entertainment for the younger kids and Alton Towers Hotel has Pirate Bill earlier in the evening and then usually some singers later on for the adults. The theme within the Alton Towers hotel is Sir Algenon and his adventures around the World, his ship is located in the bar area and reaches up through the atrium to reception level. The standard bedrooms are designed around the ‘adventure’ theme with compasses, telescopes, old fashioned oil lamp style light fittings and nautical themed carpets.

    The next ‘adventure’ at Alton Towers Hotel has been the redesign of some of the guest rooms. The ‘Moon Voyage’ rooms are similar in design to the ones at LegoLand in that they have a separate area for the kids with bunkbeds and TV. Space is at a premium at Alton Towers as the room had to accommodate the design whereas at LegoLand it was a purpose built hotel so rooms are slightly larger. Until we are able to visit the new rooms at Alton Towers, we can only go by the images sent through and clearance at the end of the bed looks tight.

    A hotel I was really disappointed with is the Drayton Manor hotel. Its theme is ‘Thomas & Friends’ but it failed to carry the theming right through the hotel. Standard rooms are very nice, but it looks like a business hotel. There are themed rooms, but the standard rooms should have some element of the theme – there was no magic, no excitement. Similarly with the dining/bar area. It was a business hotel with no entertainment. I have to wonder if the designers got excited when they were given the project as there’s no evidence of it anywhere. Again, a complete contrast to Alton Towers and LegoLand.

    If you have any suggestions for hotels that cater for children then please drop me an email.

    Daniel Fountain / 07.04.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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