Overall: Below average. Nappy change, rest, feed (no microwave), play.
Good Points: It’s easy to find. Well sign posted from the moment you enter the shopping centre. Clean change bench with three change bays. Nappy disposal bins at change bench. Separate sink, soap and paper towel for baby change table and food prep bench. Auto-slide push button door. One wall mounted activity centre. Extra powerpoints at food prep bench. Separate waste paper/general rubbish bin. Adult and child size toilets. Locking toilet door. Toilet door big enough to fit a pram.
Bad Points: Very bare. Plastic school chairs for feeding. No privacy in feeding area. No side tables. No additional powerpoints. Difficult to navigate feeding area with a pram. Snug fit in main door for a double side-by-side pram. No microwave or bottle warmer. Lid not sitting properly on the sanitary bin. Tap in the toilet sink is too hard to activate for little kids.
Centro Seven Hills is a nice little shopping centre. All on ground level, easy parking, and no steps to navigate with a pram. It’s just perfect for parents with prams (although I didn’t see any dedicated parents with prams parking spaces. Maybe they are in the undercover parking area?) and it seems like there’s different fun activities for kids during school holidays. On this trip there was a fabulous jumping castle in the middle of the shopping centre for kids. It cost $2 per child for about a 10-15min session, just the thing to help little ones burn off excess energy. It was there for a week during the Easter holidays, and proved very popular with all children (especially mine!). Although it wasn’t a fun task trying to get my little one off the castle when it was time to go. The joys of trying to reason/bribe a toddler.
There’s two parent rooms at Centro Seven Hills. One down the Coles end, and the other up the Woolworths end. The best thing is both are incredibly easy to find. That’s often the biggest hassle for parents, so it’s good to find parent rooms that are well sign posted and a cinch to get to.
This first parent room is at the Coles end of the shopping centre. From the moment you walk into the centre, there’s signs hanging from the ceiling directing you to all the main areas. From parent rooms to Australia post, there’s clear and regular signage so you can’t get lost. To get to this parent room we headed left past Gloria Jeans and then right down the hallway, between the hairdresser and nail salon. We walked all the way to then end of the hall and found the doorway on the right. It’s a frosted glass auto-slide push button door – my favourite way to start a review. On this occasion, sadly, it ended up being the best feature of the whole parent room.
The doorway is going to be a snug fit for a double side-by-side pram, but once inside there’s loads of room. The website for Centro Seven Hills describes the parent rooms as being ‘pleasant’. Well if quiet and bland equal pleasant, then I guess the description is spot on. It’s a very stark, clinical white room with terrible feeding areas.
The feeding area is disgusting. It’s clean, for sure, but that’s probably because nobody wants to use it. It’s promoted as being a ‘private feeding area’ but it’s not private AT ALL!! First up, there’s no chance of fitting anything more than an umbrella stroller in there as the corners are stupidly tight to get around in order to eventually reach the chairs. Which leads me to the next ridiculous thing – the chairs!!!!!! What a joke!!! Some local school is missing a couple of chairs, because there are two hard plastic school chairs here instead. I remember how uncomfortable and plain old thoughtless!! I don’t know of any parent at all who would want to sit on one of these chairs these things were back when I was at school. I cannot imagine how any parent would be able to comfortably spend any length of time sitting on these to feed a baby. It’s just disgusting. And ‘private’???? It’s not at all private!!!!! There’s not even a single lousy curtain to give privacy, let alone a door. I don’t know how an open area with a plastic chair can be classed as ‘private’. Seriously, is there some parent room template these companies use to just copy-paste a blurb in to fill a gap in their websites. How about checking the information on the website for Centro is actually representative of your facilities?!!!
At least they haven’t said they provide a microwave, because there isn’t one. Inside the room, along the left wall, is an empty bench with a sink, soap unit, paper towel unit and additional powerpoints. Maybe there was a microwave here at some point, but I’m thinking all signs lead to No! So if you need to warm up a bottle or baby food, try your luck with one of the coffee shops in the centre.
Now in the far right side of the room is the change bench and it actually meets my expectations. Yay!! Something that’s finally decent. What a relief. It’s not stunning or anything, but it’s clean, functional and has all the essentials. There’s a couple of change bays, with the sink and soap dispenser at the end of the bench. The nappy disposal bins are placed at either end of the bench, but they’d be much better placed in the cupboards underneath the bays. Opposite the change bench is a regular open top rubbish bin for waste other than nappies. And just next to this is an old looking wall mounted activity centre.
Finally, there’s one more adequate element to this room which is the toilets. The toilet room is big enough to fit a pram, has both adult and child size toilets, and the door can be locked shut. Maybe this is where the centre expects parents to feed if they want privacy (I am so mad about that!!!!). It’s not been overly well maintained, with the lid half falling off the sanitary bin. The tap is one of those smash-the-knob-down which produces water for about 2 seconds before needing another whack. These are hard enough for grown ups to use let alone little children.
I had pretty good hopes for this Parent Room, but I’m very sad to report it’s unimpressive. It’s definitely better than what Blacktown Hospital has to offer just up the road, but it’s not anywhere near as good as it could and should be. The least Centro should do is make sure its Parent Rooms actually match the description they offer on the website. Big fat FAIL on that part!!!
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.