Overall: Best on offer at the Towers – nappy change, rest, feed, play.
Good Points: No-touch auto slide door. Good signage throughout the centre. Male symbol included on the Parents Room door sticker – nice to see dads recognised. Large colourful play area. Four change bays spread across two benches. Sink and soap dispenser in the middle of each change bench. Disposable change mats. Central relaxation zone with armchairs and television. Separate food prep bench with sink, soap, microwave and paper towel. Adult and child size toilets, with toilet paper units for each. Locking doors on 2 private feeding cubicles.
Bad Points: No toys or play panels in the play area. Giant stinky nappy disposal bin (yuk!!). Unhygienic hand dryer in the toilet. Ridiculously small private feeding cubicles (cannot close doors because you can’t fit a pram inside!).
This is the best of all the parent rooms on offer at Castle Towers. It’s on the top floor of the shopping centre, up the ‘paris end’ (ie where the higher-end stores are located). So it’s reasonable to expect this would be the best facility. It’s still not the best we’ve seen of all parent rooms and shopping centres, but for the Towers you just won’t find better.
What this place does well is telling you where to find the parent room. From the moment you get off the travelator, there are signs hanging from the ceiling directing you to the toilets and parent rooms. Just follow the signs and you’ll get there.
The door to the room is brilliant! It’s a no-touch automatic sliding door. It has a sensor of some sort that picks up when you’re at the door and it opens for you. Love it! No buttons to push or doors to jack open. Perfect for mums and dads with prams and no hands to spare.
The room has a big colourfully fenced play area where you can let older ones run about and burn off some steam. You might want to BYO toys, as there’s NOTHING in here to keep the kids entertained. No toys, no play panels.
One of the most important features for parents is the baby change benches. There are two benches with four nappy change bays spread among them. In the middle of each bench is a sink and soap dispenser, with disposable change mats found at the ends of the benches. Little touches like free change mats really can make your day. The nasty gigantic stinky nappy disposal bin against the far wall can kill that good feeling though. It’s just gross! It’d be awful to be the person who has to empty this thing. Even worse would be having to use this bin later in the afternoon after loads of nappies have been changed. I can onlt imagine how horrid the smell would be by then.
Another good feature is the food prep area. It’s separate from the nappy change benches (a big plus!!) and it has it’s own sink (even better!). The microwave is clean and working, and there’s paper towel on hand. Opposite the bench is a relaxation type zone. A few wipe-clean armchairs sit side by side, in perfect position to watch the television mounted high on the wall. This space would be great for feeding, as the allocated feeding cubicles are too small to fit a pram, and therefore you can’t close the door and have any privacy. So you may as well get comfy on one of the central armchairs and feed bubs. At least you’ll have a decent view of the tele.
Seriously though, the cubicles are ridiculously small! All that can fit inside is the armchair. Yes the doors do lock from the inside, but that’s pretty much useless as you can’t fit a pram in there anyway. Even on this visit, the mum feeding her baby in one of the cubicles chose to keep the door open and have the pram half in/half out, rather than close the door and keep the pram outside. I’d do the same thing. With all the space in this parent room, surely more space could be given to decent size private feeding cubicles. The Towers does so well with many other aspects of the parent rooms, but across the board the feeding cubicles are completely impractical.
Which is your favourite of the parent rooms at Castle Towers? My next mission is to find the praised parent room in David Jones. I STILL cannot find the thing, despite wandering about for a few laps following marked signs that turn up nothing. Maybe I need to do a Narnia and look behind the coats at the back of the cupboard.
Overall: Average. Old, tired and run down. Nappy change, rest, feed.
Good Points: Private locking door feeding room. Big main room. Armchairs and side tables in the private feeding room. Loads of bench space. Separate sinks for food prep and hand washing. Microwave. Nappy bins. Nappy change mats. Additional powerpoints. Soap and paper towel. Locking door to Parent Room.
Bad Points: Marked, worn and dirty furniture and walls. No extra powerpoints in the feeding room. Old wooden square playpen in main room with nothing in it. Nappy bins stored away from the nappy change bench. Change mats move around on the bench (not built-in). Main door too narrow for a double side-by-side pram. No toilets.
I finally got around to checking out the Myer Castle Towers Parent Room recently. I’d heard from different people in the past it was meant to be great, so my hopes were fairly high but quickly fell through the floor when my little one and I walked in.
The Parent Room is located on the far right wall of Level 3, between the boys and girls tweens/toddler clothing section. There’s a bit of signage hanging from the ceiling when you first enter the floor, but if you miss it then just head to the kids clothing on the right hand side of the floor.
The door of the Parent Room can be locked from the inside, so if it’s closed when you find it, try opening it. But if it’s locked, head to one of the other Parent Rooms in the Towers. For anyone with a double side-by-side pram, it might be a struggle/impossible task getting the pram inside.
The main room is pretty spacious, but it’s bland, old, worn and dirty. There’s two armchairs in here, in case the private feeding room is occupied, but they are so marked and dirty. It’s just not a clean feeling environment. Absolutely nothing has been done to give other children some distraction/entertainment while your looking after the littlest ones. A plain square wooden play pen is all that’s available for kids in terms of play equipment. What a joke.
Some good features of the room are the microwave, separate sinks for food prep and hand washing, and loads of bench space. The food prep bench and nappy change bench are on opposite sides of the room, which is good for hygiene. Sadly though, bins for both benches are not really within easy reach. The regular rubbish bin is next to the main doorway. The nappy bins are on either side of the sink, rather than tucked underneath the nappy change bench. There’s loads of room under the bench for the bins, so they really would be much better placed under there.
The change bench itself is only ok. It has two vinyl change mats, which move about if you haven’t got a firm grip on them. It’d be much better for mum and bub if the change mats were attached to the bench.
The private feeding room is very big, which is lovely. It has three armchairs, each with a side table. The room is also marked, dirty and worn, like the main room. There aren’t any additional powerpoints in here, although this would be the best place for them. You could fit a couple of prams in here, so if you’re not too shy then it’s a good space to share with other mums and bubs. Next to the size of the room, the best feature would be being able to lock the door from the inside. Most mums want privacy when feeding their babies, and also like to feel safe and secure. Curtains don’t provide that, and neither do toilet-stall style feeding cubicles. This private feeding room is great for giving mums and bubs the privacy they need when feeding or just having a rest.
Obviously, maintaining the Parent Room is not high on the priority list for Myers. Although if they do put some time, attention and money into it, they might find more mums happy to stay there and shop. There are cleaner Parent Rooms throughout Castle Towers, even on the same floor. And most of the others also have adult and child toilets in them. This is another let down with this Parent Room. It doesn’t have a toilet. If your little one is learning to use the toilet, or just needs one that is their size, then definitely head to one of the other Parent Rooms in the Towers.
Good Points: Hands-free entry to the Parent Room. Complimentary disposable change mats. Separate sinks for nappy change and food prep benches. Soap dispenser at nappy change bench. Adult and child size toilets. Lockable doors on private feeding cubicles. Clean and working microwave. Separate food prep bench. Extra armchairs in the main area.
Bad Points: Private feeding cubicles are too small to be able to fit a pram inside AND be able to close and lock the door. No additional powerpoints for those mums who need to express using an electric pump. Massive nappy disposal bin is too far from the nappy change bench.
One of my favourite places to go when the weather is miserable is Jitterbugs playland and cafe at Castle Towers. And no…..I’m not being at all sponsored or paid to say it. I just like it because we pay the one fee and the little one has unlimited play. It’s softplay too, which means none or minimal potential for major bumps. And the cafe is perfect for us parents who want to relax and still keep an eye on our kids.
The other thing I like about it is it’s location to the Parent Room. Just a little further down the hallway is the Parent Room. Perfect if you need to change bubs or get them to the toilet asap during their playtime. The best bit of the Parent Room would have to be the entrance. The door is totally hands-free!! It senses you’re there and slides open for you. Perfect! To get back out, however, you need to press a green button but who cares. The entry is totally automatic. Love it!
Inside the room is pretty big. To your right there’s a few armchairs where you can get off your feet and rest for a while. Directly opposite the doorway against the wall is the food prep bench, with sink, soap, and microwave. It’s good to see the food prep area is well away from the nappy change area (with the exclusion of the gigantic nappy disposal bin being put between the two).
To your left as you come in the room, you’ll find the two private feeding cubicles, nappy change bench, and toilets. Considering the available space in the room, the private feeding cubicles could be bigger and more user-friendly. Each one contains an armchair, just like the ones in the main room, and that’s it. The doors are lockable from the inside, but you’d find it tough to get the pram in there with you and also be able to close the door to lock it. There’s just not enough room! If you really do want privacy, then you’ll probably need to keep the pram outside the cubicle. If the doors opened outward instead of in, you’d have a better chance of getting complete privacy. But it’s not to be in this Parent Room.
The change bench has two spots for changing little bottoms. Between the two spaces is the sink and soap dispenser. At either end of the bench you’ll also find a dispenser containing complimentary disposable change mats. Little things like this can really make a big positive difference to a parent. The downside of this spot is the nappy disposal bin. Ideally there would be a few nappy bins tucked underneath the change bench, where it’s most accessible and convenient. Instead there is a HUGE bin against a wall between the change bench and the food prep area, which is out of arms reach. Not very handy at all. These gigantic bins seem to be a common feature throughout Parent Rooms in the Towers, and it’s a feature that could do with a rethink.
The toilets are pretty standard. Adult and child size, with the one sink. Not much to tell here. I just wish the sanitary bin was between the adult toilet and the wall, instead of being between the child and adult toilets. Little ones are curious enough without having this unit within easy reach.
So if you’re headed to the Towers and are shopping around on Level 3, go check out this Parent Room. It’s got all the basics you need, but could do with some improvements. It’s definitely no Stockland Mall Parent Room, but it does the trick.