SINGAPORE - Children are increasingly no longer just an afterthought in hotels.
At least five hotels here - Swissotel Merchant Court, Swissotel The Stamford, Festive Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa, Grand Park Orchard and Grand Park City Hall - have specially designated kids' rooms, adjoined to regular rooms, where the bedsheets, furniture, decor and amenities are all suited to their younger guests' tastes.
While some hotels have these rooms set up as part of larger family suites, some transform regular guest rooms into kids' rooms upon request when a reservation is made.
Serviced apartments Fraser Place Robertson Walk also offers children's rooms in some apartments, and Holiday Inn Resorts on nearby islands such as Batam and Bali offer the same in their family suites.
This trend of creating rooms specifically for children is slowly catching on in Singapore, after starting in Australia and the United States within the last five years, say hotel experts such as Hotels.com regional director Katherine Cole.
Festive Hotel and the Swissotel introduced these rooms in 2010, while Park Hotels introduced them here last July.
She believes the trend might be an extension of the themed- accommodation that theme parks often offer to cater especially to families with young children.
"The popularity of theme parks and the added allure of staying in themed hotels have caught the fancy of family travellers, driving hotels to offer child- friendly services," she says. "A sizable number of hotels have begun adopting this concept and tailoring their set-up to children via offerings such as providing toys for kids."
This is important as children "have become key decision-makers in family travel", says Ms Cole.
A spokesman for Resorts World Sentosa says Festive Hotel's family suites with kids' rooms were introduced when the hotel opened in 2010.
The suites - which feature loft beds, toys and amenity kits for children containing kid-sized toiletries - have proven to be "very popular", says the spokesman.
"It allows a family of four to be within a room, yet for parents and children to have their own private space," adds the spokesman. The family suite starts from $620 a night.
Ms Susie Lim-Kannan, FRHI Hotels & Resorts' director of public relations for the Asia Pacific region, says the children's rooms at Swissotel hotels here have also proven highly popular. "We have had instances when children were reluctant to leave the room after residing in it for a few nights. Many also request to take home the toys found in the rooms," she says.
Kids' rooms at Swissotel come decked out with age-appropriate toys, books, DVDs and video games for children in three age categories: zero- to five-year-olds, six- to 12-year-olds and 13- to 17-year-olds.
The hotel group decided to introduce the rooms after seeing a rise in family holidays, with parents travelling with children of varying ages, says Ms Lim-Kannan. "We saw the opportunity to differentiate the experience of staying in our rooms for kids and adults," she says.