Kids rule the space at Shangri-La's Adventure Zones and Cool Zones where activities from planting fish houses to pool diving for tokens, art classes to adrenalin-pumping slides keep young guests from four to 12 years old thoroughly amused from check-in to check-out. Best of all for parents, access to the zones is free for children who are accompanied by an adult guest.
At Kerry Hotel, Beijing, where the hotel's fresh and energetic vibe offers unexpected touches, the children's Adventure Zone recently reopened as part of a RMB35-million phased refurbishment of the hotel's 7,000-square-metre Kerry Sports. Designed for explorers of different ages, the 2,000-square-metre Adventure Zone accommodates children with interactive games and play modules. Toddlers can dress up in the Role Play Village and enjoy the padded slides and climbers.
For the ultimate in excitement, there are three slides: the Hyperglide Wavy Astra slide at 5.5 metres high gives toddlers and young children a gentle thrill, the Double Drop slide at 6.1 metres tall is suited for pre-teenagers, while the tri-level 7.3-metre-high slide, aptly named Demon Drop, is a thriller.
Other children's facilities include net towers, bridges, ball pits, ramps, rollers and a wading pool, as well as three themed party rooms that offer customised invitations, goody bags, kids' food and drink menus, and entertainment when reserved for private celebrations.
The seven-month refurbishment of Kerry Hotel, Beijing's Kerry Sports included the multi-purpose courts for tennis, basketball and badminton; gym; exercise studios for high energy and wellness group classes; wet areas; juice bar; and the massage and locker rooms. The facility also provides an indoor heated pool – Beijing's largest – measuring 35 metres long.
Equally extensive in its Adventure Zone offerings is sister property Kerry Hotel, Shanghai. Housed within Kerry Sports, the city's largest fitness and recreation destination, the Adventure Zone is similarly configured as its Beijing counterpart with three themed rooms, the same heart-racing slides and other play equipment within 700 square metres of indoor fun.
Recently, a dedicated area containing six houses was set-up. The colourful two-storey houses are themed as a café, post office, fire station, market, petrol service station and bank so little guests can interact and role play with each other.
Soon to be launched is a mobile application to enhance the interactive experience. Using the camera function on a mobile device and aiming it at the Adventure Zone logo or at the paintings on the party room walls, guests will see animals or cartoon characters come alive.
At Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu, toddlers and children can play under the supervision of trained staff in the three-level Adventure Zone with climbers and slides. Daily activities such as ceramic and T-shirt painting, tie-dye magic and sand art are tailored for age groups, while birthday packages and evening parties can be arranged.
Those who prefer the wet outdoors can take to the Aquaplay, a water playground designed for very young children with three slides that gently splash down into shallow water. The facility has a bow-shaped rainbow shower to create a tunnel effect with soft water spray.
Another entertainment hub is the E-Zone, an indoor centre with an arcade, billiards, football and air hockey tables, Wii console and an X-box 360 video console. A lounge allows guests to view sports matches on TV or sing in two private karaoke rooms.
The fully supervised Cool Zone at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, Singapore also keeps young ones captivated for days on end. It is Singapore's largest indoor hotel kid's club and comes complete with activity centres for crafts and games, and the popular three-level Treehouse slide that spirals into a pool of colourful balls. For added excitement, The Flying Trapeze on Siloso Beach lets guests as young as four years old – with the assistance of a certified instructor – try their hand at being a flying acrobat.
The resort organises educational tours around the property, beach games and Sunday brunch with a magic show. It also offers a 'natural state' swimming pool, children's pool and splash pad where a water system uses the minimum statutory amount of chlorine to minimise allergies and is gentle on skin and hair.
Another favourite family destination is Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu with an enviable Cool Zone that accommodates toddlers with padded walls and soft toys; provides a creativity area for children to develop painting, crafting and other skills; a computer and TV room; and an adults' section for relaxation over coffee.
Other facilities include a 2,000-square-metre pool with tapered shoreline for children and an infinity pool section for adults. Thrills and spills are part of the curriculum at the water play area with theme-park-quality slides and water battle stations with water balloon launchers. Children have as much fun as the parents in the company of other little residents and the resort's caring members of staff who organise daily activities and a weekly Friday themed party, which includes clay painting, coconut bowling, dancing, paper patching, plasticine modelling, face painting or a scavenger hunt.
The Adventure Zone, Cool Zone or Kids' Club at the following Shangri-La properties typically provide free children's activities, while selected programmes have a surcharge.
• Kerry Hotel, Beijing
• Kerry Hotel, Shanghai
• Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island, Fiji
• Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
• Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
• Golden Sands Resort, Penang
• Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Penang
• Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines
• Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu, Philippines
• Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, Singapore
• Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Sultanate of Oman
The zones and club can open as early as 8 a.m. and close at 8 or 9 p.m.