Chatswood NSW

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.

Chatswood NSW

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…’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.

Chatswood NSW

Westfield Chatswood, Food Court, Level 4 – Anderson Street, Chatswood NSW 2067

Reviewed by C

Overall: Best room at Westfield Chatswood! Nappy change, rest, feed, play. Clean and spacious.

Good Points: Easy entry – big sliding frosted glass doors. Nappy change area separate to food prep area. Decent size play area. Two darkened private feeding cubicles. Clean and working microwave. Separate sinks for food prep and nappy change areas. Extra seating just inside the entrance. Big loo and little loo.

Bad Points: No powerpoints in feeding cubicles. Feeding cubicles are a little small. No paper towel at the nappy change bench. Shop staff like to use the microwave. Sanitary bin between big and little loo.

The sign at the front of the door so you know you’re in the right place

After a lovely half hour of awesome playtime at Softplay (never been to a timed play centre before), we were ready for some foooodd!!!! So what else are you going to do? Head to the food court! Yippee!
We got the lift from Level 6 down to Level 4 and made our way across to the food court. Bub and dad went to Subway, while I went to Maccas. Yep, Subway is definitely the better choice but the Happy Meals had My Little Pony’s! And I…oops!….and Casey really wanted a pony. 

Anyway, looking around checking out the parent and child friendliness of the food court, I spotted the signs for the toilets and saw there was a Parent Room there too! Very very happy mummy. The hallway to the bathrooms and Parent Room is in the far right corner of the food court, between a kebab outlet and Oporto (I think) Look for the signs hanging down from the ceiling – cannot miss it.

The food court is okay. Has all the usual suspects of fast/semi-fast food. Some healthy options which is good to see. There were a couple of high chairs dotted about the place, and various seating options – from chairs through to cushy stools and booths. Like most food courts, it’s manic during lunch hour so can be a bit tough to navigate with a pram. Umbrella strollers, however, are a cinch.

So the Parent Room! It has my favourite kind of door – big sliding frosted glass door with a big green button to whack to make it open. These doors make life soooo much easier. Once inside, it’s a pretty lovely Parent Room experience. Floating floorboards (or something that looks like it), green, creams and brown for the fitout – nice and soothing. 

The decals on the front sliding door are so welcoming. Love these doors. Perfect for the larger prams

Directly to your right as you walk in, there is a little extra seating area. I guess if the feeding cubicles are full, or your partner/hubby/friend/mum etc wants to give you some space or something, these couple of extra chairs come in handy. Directly to your left (opposite this little seat nook) is the toilet. 

Extra seating just to the right as you enter the Parent Room

Big loo and little loo

For the most part, the toilets get my approval – apart from the sanitary bin being between the 2 loos, instead of between the wall and the big loo. Anyway….the good thing is there are 2 loos!! Yay! Each has it’s own toiler paper dispenser, plus individual sink and soap. And there’s paper towel for drying hands – yay again!! Much more hygienic than hand dryers, and teaches little people to dry their hands properly before leaving the bathroom. I like it! It’s a pretty good size bathroom………definitely would be able to get a pram in there (if you don’t mind shunting the door open with the pram – one of those annoying pressure doors).

Love big and little sinks, with separate soap units

Spacious change area. Three change bays, two sinks

For little people requiring nappy changes, the change area has 3 bays, each with a sink to the side. The sinks have soap dispensers, and nappy bins are in pullout cupboards underneath the bench. The area is clean and well fitted out. Just make sure you  have something to dry your hands on (eg a flannel or tissues) as there isn’t a hand-dryer or paper towel within arms reach.

Separate food prep area, including separate sink.

At the far end of the Parent Room is the food prep area and the private feeding cubicles. The food prep area is pretty simple. Long bench, paper towels, sink with filtered water tap and soap dispenser, and a microwave tucked away in the corner.

Clean and working microwave

This is a lovely spacious food prep area. The only down side being it seems store staff like to use the microwave too! While we were in here, a nice young woman was in a store uniform, using the microwave to heat up her lunch. Don’t they have staff rooms in Westfield? 

Club chair inside one of the feeding cubicles

To the left of the food prep area are the two private feeding cubicles. There is a comfy club chair and little side table in each room, and a curtain provides privacy at the front. The cubicles are darker than you’d normally find in a Parent Room, which is a nice touch. Helps to make bubs more settled when feeding if the light is not so harsh. The downside of these cubicles is the size. They really are quite small. Just you, bub and the pram will fit in without room for anything or anyone else. The plus side is you get a very cosy feel.

The very fun play area

And now for the fun part! The play area!! Yep, when little ones are all clean and fed, you can let them loose in the secure play area. It has some funky artwork on the walls, including mirrored decals. There’s a couple of wall mounted activity units, a flat screen television, and some big fat round cushions/blocks to jump, sit or play on. The only problem I found was getting my little one away from this place. She was not interested in leaving! Fair enough, really.

All in all, this Parent Room at the Food Court in Westfield Chatswood is the best the shopping centre has to offer. It’s probably the most modern and definitely caters best to your needs in a Parent Room. I’d happily visit this one again for sure. 

Check it out and let me know what you think of it!