Category Archives: Chatswood

Chatswood Mandarin – 61-65 Albert Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

Overall: Tiniest parent room ever!!! Funky stores, but a terrible place for anyone with children and a pram. 

Good Points: A parent room. Elevator access. Bottle warmer. Sink with soap and water. Cute pictures on one of the walls. Nappy bins and paper towel dispenser. A single chair.

Bad Points: The room is too tiny for pretty much anything. Located on 3rd level. Elevator and escalator are narrow. A single, tiny flat bench barely big enough for a nappy bag. No food prep space. Too small for a pram. One uncomfortable plastic chair. Door chocked open with general rubbish bin. No change table or change bench.

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This is probably the smallest, most inaccessible parent room I’ve ever seen. The Mandarin Centre has funky shops with cute and quirky gear for kids, but it is absolutely appalling when it comes to providing decent and useful parent room facilities.

The parent room is on Level 3. You won’t find one on Ground, Level 1 or 2. Nope, the only parent room I found is on Level 3. It’s not easy to get to this Level either, especially if you have a pram. There is an escalator and an elevator, but both are quite narrow. This is just the beginning of the difficulties.

The signs indicating a parent room offer such promise, but the end destination is a massive disappointment. The parent room door can be locked, but as the door had been chocked open by a big general rubbish bin, it looks like it’s meant to stay open. This is quite strange, and if anyone can enlighten me as to why this room is meant to have the door stay open, I’d love to know.

Actually, I think I’ve just realised why the door is kept open. It’s impossible to fit a pram in here with the door open let alone closed. The parent room is basically a tile broom cupboard – it’s that small!!! There is a teeny bench which has barely enough room for a nappy bag, let alone being able to change a baby on it (no chance at all). The sink is set into the bench, with a soap unit above it. On the opposite wall there is a paper towel unit, and all the bins are just underneath it. Apart from a single plastic chair taken from the food court, there is nothing in here to really help a parent look after the needs of their child at all. I don’t understand this. Why not at least have a fold out baby change table? That would be the least one could expect.

If you’re shopping with babies and intend on going to the Mandarin Centre, I’d say avoid it. Head to Westfield instead, at least for when you need to feed and change the little ones anyway.

 

Chatswood Chase – Level LG, 345 Victoria Avenue Chatswood NSW 2067

Overall: Hmmm……basic and unimpressive. Go down to Westfield instead. Nappy change, rest, feed.


Good Points: Clean. Change bench. Nappy bins. Sink with soap dispenser. Sign on the door indicating a Parent Room. Single cute artwork on one wall.


Bad Points: So hard to find! Door difficult to open. No toilet. Very dark. No privacy as door cannot be locked. Toilet paper mounted on both sides of change table – huh?? Hard uncomfortable chairs. No additional powerpoints. No microwave. No bottle warmer. No toys or activity centre. Paper towel on opposite wall to sink, soap and bin.













What a MASSIVE disappointment!! Chatswood Chase is always promoting itself as being so incredibly fabulous, having undergone renovations recently and carrying high-profile brands. But it is sooooo pathetic when it comes to essential basics like Parent Rooms and even Parents With Prams car parking. If you happen to pick up the 2011 Centre Directory, read the blurb about Parent Rooms……and then laugh at it because it is such rubbish!!


According to the Directory, the Parent Rooms are private and have a microwave oven. Hmmm…….no they aren’t and no they don’t. And the maps on the Directory are totally inaccurate too. The map doesn’t show one on Level LG but there is one at the Archer Street end, just so you know 🙂


None of the Toilet signs in this place tell you whether or not there’s a Parent Room, so you have to figure it out yourself by going down every single Toilet corridor and checking the blank doors, Female and Disabled Toilets. Then if you’re really lucky, around the last corner you might find a room with a laminated blu-tacked poster saying ‘Parent Room’. You’re so relieved to finally find one, but know it’s not going to be good inside.


Today we reviewed the only Parent Room we could find on the sprawling LG level. And this was not an easy task. We came up the travelator from a lower level car park and arrived at K-mart. Looking around we found the Dining Court (sounds more posh than Food Court), and to the right there’s a hallway of shops (including A&R; and Smiggle) leading to a set of escalators heading up to Level G. 
We headed towards the escalators and found the Toilets sign on the left, pointing to a corridor between the Medical Centre and Chinese Massage store. The sign just had the Male, Female and Disabled Toilet symbols. From previous experience, I’ve learnt not to trust what the signs say and to check for baby change facilities…..just in case.


So winding around the corridor, which would be hard going with a pram, I checked the Disabled Toilet – no change table there. Next stop, the Female Toilets – nothing there. Hmmm…….maybe there isn’t – there it is!!! Around the last corner, at the end of the hall is a door with a laminated blu-tacked poster saying ‘PARENTS ROOM’.


I was definitely glad to see one, but the office printout sign didn’t fill me with much confidence. Sadly, I was more disappointed than pleasantly surprised by what’s inside.


The first problem is the door. It’s the usual budget pressure-swing door which, when you are juggling a pram and children, you need a bit of strength to open and keep open while you lug everything inside. And it’s quite a narrow space making moving around the room a little difficult if you have a pram or more than one child with you.


Considering the rest of the shopping centre, including Toilets, have had a makeover I had hoped this would have been extended to the Parents Room. Hasn’t happened.


This room is badly lit, especially over the nappy change bench located in the far end of the room. The only nice soothing element is the cute animal cartoon artwork on the main wall. The rest of the place is just plain old uninviting.


The change bench has one change bay, with enough bench space on either side to store your nappy bag and shopping. For some bizarre reason, there’s two toilet roll dispensers mounted on either side of the change bench. Why????


The nappy bins, which would be better placed under the change bench, are located underneath the soap dispenser next to the sink. This means you have to turn away from your baby to dispose of the nappy, instead of being able to just reach down and chuck it in a bin under the bench. 


For feeding your baby, be aware the room is not private (although the Directory would like you to think it is!). The door to the room does not have a lock, and there is nothing to ensure your privacy inside the room. For safety and privacy, I would rather head up to Westfield or at least feed covered on one of the benches throughout the shopping centre. 
If you do want to feed in this room, just know you’re not going to be too comfortable. The chairs are hard plastic and they’re not very clean either. 
If you are bottle feeding, then prepare for another disappointment. Although the Directory says the Parent Rooms have microwaves, they actually don’t! And I didn’t even see a powerpoint where one could be connected anyway.
So for mums who need to warm up a bottle or any baby food, ask one of the cafes in the Dining Court.


The last thing, and probably the best, is probably the bench on the other wall which holds the sink. It’s clean, the bench is big enough to hold nappy bags and shopping, and the soap dispenser is within easy reach of the sink. That said, the paper towel dispenser is on the opposite wall, next to the artwork.
Whoever designed this room needs a wake-up call. It can’t have been designed by a woman who has had children. It’s such a joke, seriously.


I am hoping hoping hoping to find better Parent Rooms elsewhere in Chatswood Chase during upcoming visits, but after today I’m not overly confident. If you have found better at the Chase, please do  tell me because I would looooove to know. For such a glam, high-profile centre, I expected a whole lot more from the Parent Rooms. Especially considering the high number of gorgeous mums with bubs I saw shopping there today. I wonder if they knew how much better the facilities are at Westfield just a few metres up the road, if there money would end up being spent there instead of the Chase. Something for the centre owners to think about hey.

Westfield Chatswood, Level 2 – Anderson Street, Chatswood NSW 2067

Reviewed by C


Overall: Okay. Big room but cold and kind of empty. Has potential for a whole lot more. Nappy change, feed.


Good Points: Big room! Long clean change benches, with sinks and soap dispensers in easy reach. Two private feeding cubicles. Big and little loo.


Bad Points: Not at all inviting. Entry door not easiest to open. Cold. Small feeding cubicles with bright lighting. No powerpoints in feeding cubicles. One standard height sink in toilet. Sanitary bin between big and little loo.

Follow the pretty pink sign

The Parent Room on Level 2 is pretty easy to find, which is lovely. In fact, Westfield has done a good job with the positioning of Parent Rooms in Chatswood. The Level 2 room is down the hallway, between Priceline and a travel agent (sorry, I didn’t note which company). If you’re looking at Coles, head to your right and the hallway is to the right of the escalators. 

Here’s the Parent Room front door
Follow the hallway as it snakes around the corner, and the pink signs will direct you to the Parent Room. The laminated Parent Room sign on the front door didn’t really give me confidence about what was inside. And I wasn’t really surprised at the fitout of the room. It’s big and has almost all you and your bub need, it’s not somewhere that makes you feel comfortable staying in for too long. And after visiting the Food Court Parent Room, I don’t think there was much left in budget to do any renovations here.

Massive change bench with 2 change bays
The change bench is enormous! It’s to your right as you walk in and runs almost the entire length of the wall. There’s only 2 change bays, and each has a sink and soap dispenser right next to it, plus nappy bins in the pullout cupboards underneath. Going forward it’d be a good idea to put in a new bench with more change bays – make use of all the extra space! On the other hand, having so much room means you can spread out all your nappy bag contents while you search for the packet of baby wipes.

Microwave at the end of the bench. 
At the far end of the change bench is the microwave. It’s clean and working – yay! There isn’t a separate sink or bin, which presents a hygiene issue. Extra powerpoints are to the left of the microwave, against the wall. These are the only additional powerpoints in the Parent Room. So for anyone needing to express using an electric pump, just be aware you’ll not have any privacy and will have to stand.

Two private feeding cubicles
There’s two private feeding cubicles in this room. Each has a club chair and side table, with a curtain at the entry for privacy. The lighting above is quite bright, which isn’t very soothing or relaxing. And given the massive amounts of unused space in this room, the cubicles could be bigger and nicer. But it is a quiet room, so apart from the lighting and size…..it’s not too bad. You can fit your pram into the cubicles but it’d be a struggle to have anyone else in there with you apart from just you and your little one.

Doorway to the toilet – on your left as you enter the room

Along the wall to your left is the toilets. It’s a regular door to open, which is nice – means not having to use the pram or your body to keep it open while you get everything inside. There is a big loo and a little loo and each has a toilet roll dispenser. The downside for the little loo is the toilet paper is too high and far from the loo. So little ones might need some help here. And my other pet peeve – the sanitary bin is, yet again, placed between the two toilets. There is sooooo much room between the big toilet and the wall…….why isn’t it there!

Two loos – very good!

Sink, soap and hand-dryer – bit high for little ones to reach
The sink is regular height, with the taps, soap and hand dryer out of reach for most little ones. So parents and carers, hang about to give your little angels some help here. They might need a booster to reach the taps and wash hands. The upside to this bathroom though is it’s clean. Unlike some I’ve seen, you don’t have to worry about what your kids are going to find in rubbish on the floor – because there isn’t any. Yay!

Just a television and one wall mounted play unit for entertainment
For entertainment or distraction….there’s not much in here. So much space, so under utilised! There’s a single wall mounted play unit on the left wall as you walk in, and a flat screen tv beside the main door. That’s it. Most parents and carers BYO toys, books etc when going out with little ones anyway, but just make sure you have something with you if you’re intending on using this room for any longer than just a quick visit. I think even I’d go stir crazy in here without something to do.

Like the other rooms in Westfield Chatswood, this one does the job. It’s clean, big and you can do pretty much everything you need to. For a quick stop, this is good. But for comfort and something that looks after mum/dad/carer and bubs a bit better, head up to the Food Court room on Level 4.