Travelling with small children isn’t always a bundle of laughs. It’s often exhausting and, at times, a little bit stressful.
After three days and nights at Sheraton Grand Macao, Cotai Strip in Macau with my husband and two little fire crackers (5 and 2 years old), I can honestly say this is the first holiday we’ve had together that actually felt like it should… a holiday.
At the outset, Macau as a destination has several unsung benefits for family travel:
- very close proximity of the airport to the Sands Cotai Strip hotels reduces those painful transit journeys to a blink of the eye;
- a fairly small airport means a lot less trekking from check-in to passport control to departure gate;
- everyone is genuinely delighted to see your children and share a little joke with them or help with your stroller/suitcase/over-excited toddler;
- things work, meaning you don’t need to second-guess and over-stress any arrangements you make for transport, eating out, activities etc.
So that’s the critical but less-than-glamorous logistical stuff taken care of.
We stayed in the Shrek Suite of the Sheraton. This is where the fun stuff starts. Words cannot express what a clever concept this is and how immaculately the hotel has executed this. Not only has the connecting room for children been cleverly adapted (featuring a customized bunk bed with the divine Sheraton Sweet Sleeper© bed linen throughout, play table and chairs, and TV cabinet with added Xbox if parents request it) but all the little details that annoy parents in hotel rooms have been thought of too:
- kid-proof socket covers to keep tiny fingers out of the electrical points;
- internal phones and radio alarm clocks removed to avoid every toddler’s constant need to press buttons; inadvertently set alarms for 3am, and generally damage expensive technology;
- a little plastic step placed in the bathroom so smaller kids can reach the toilet and the basin;
- mini bathrobes which will melt the hardest heart;
- Dreamworks movie-themed bathroom amenities with all the usual hotel lotions and potions swapped out for products that really are suitable for sensitive kiddy skin.
Beloved movie characters from Shrek, How to Train your Dragon, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda adorn the fittings and furnishings.
And while we’re on that theme, there is the potential to entirely pack out your holiday itinerary with chasing Po and his Dreamworks friends around the Cotai Strip. We took in everything we could squeeze in (details below) and still had remaining attractions left to do/see which we had to shelve for a return visit because we simply ran out of time:
- All Stars Parade – takes place every afternoon in the Shoppes at Cotai, featuring various characters from all the Dreamworks movies dancing and parading to the backdrop of lively music and delighted children and adults alike;
- Kung Fu Feast – brunch “with a difference” as you sit and enjoy an extensive themed buffet while the characters put on quite a show, performing and dancing and then cruising round the room to stop for photos and lovely big furry cuddles with all the guests at their tables;
- Sheraton Lobby – regular appearances by Po the Panda in the hotel lobby each afternoon, just in case your little one just hasn’t got enough already of those big furry arms coming in for a “panda hug”;
- Movie Night in the Sala by the pool – an outdoor screen set up so children can watch an evening movie of a weekend while their parents have a quiet moment to enjoy some food and drink by the pool.
Truly, the only thing we had to worry about is where on earth we can travel to next that will offer even half the fun and memories of this experience.
Editor’s note: This article is by Hannah Bruggen, who is based in Bangkok; neither the author nor BKK Kids received any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the publishing of this article.