One of the newer indoor playrooms in Hong Kong is inside the shopping mall Windsor House in Causeway Bay. It is called Planet J Kids and is located on Floor 13. On the one hand this is very convenient in the heart of the shopping district, but of course, on the other hand this means space is at a premium and hence the venue is quite small and also very expensive.
But let’s start from the beginning: to reach Floor 13 you’ve got to enter the building via one escalator and one lift (or there is a special lift for strollers/wheelchair users that takes you from the ground floor to the first floor, from which you can get the lift to Floor 13). Then you check in at the reception and have to leave your stroller outside.
You pay for a day pass (which is for 1 kids & 1 adult) and the price depends on the admission time. I had hoped it would be cheaper during the week – and it is, but not between June 25 and August 31, as this is summer holiday season and classified as ‘special dates’.
The admission price during Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays and Special Date:
- Before 12 noon: 150HKD
- Between 12.01-5.00pm: 220 HKD
- Between 5.01-7.00pm: 150HKD
- After 7.01pm: 120HKD
During Monday-Friday outside of school holidays, the prices are:
- Enter between 11.00-12.00pm: 80HKD
- Between 12.01-4.00pm: 140HKD
- After 4.01pm- 100 HKD
(The fee for an extra adult is another 50% of the entrance price).
Once you’ve paid, you receive a bracelet for each participant and then you can enter/exit all day long.
So what awaits you inside, once you’ve taken off your shoes and put on your socks? There is an area to rest and eat right at the entrance, and then you enter the main play area. This is split into several sections:
(1) A small corner with simple stacking toys and books for young toddlers. This includes a few tables and chairs where you can sit down and read, or draw on a magnetic board. Plus two or three small scooters or toys that you can ride. This is all geared towards small kids and not of much interest to a three-year old or older! Also most of the toys were the standard IKEA, Fisher-Price, V-Tech toys, so not really something new/different then the stuff most people have at home already.
(2) The two big hamster wheels – and yes, these are fun, but there are only two so if it is crowded you have to wait. Plus you have to be careful, as you can fall out at either end. So while my older toddler loved this, the younger one with 15 months had to be held at all times and he was also very scared of the rolling motion.
(3) A smaller ball pit with a slide and some little houses/areas to explore. Again, this is small and geared towards small kids
(4) A corner with building blocks – similar to MegaBlocks, but they don’t stick that well together. During the 2x 1.5 hours that we were there, not many kids played with them, as the towers kept tumbling and falling.
(5) The big ball pit, which includes a bouncy castle, a mini pool (that can be filled with balls), a few pool toys and swim rings – and also a small climbing wall at the side. This is more fun for the walking/older toddlers, but again, it is not that big, nothing that special and I am guessing that once it is a bit more crowded (we went on a Monday morning at the end of June) the kids will fight over the pool toys and just start throwing balls at each other. So probably not much fun for the smallest ones!
And what annoyed me the most: there is a screen with a virtual game, that runs all the time. The aim is to use the balls and throw them at the screen. There are different games, some are like candy crush, but there are at least two that I deem totally child-unfriendly: one with army tanks and the other one with zombies. Granted, older kids might find this ‘cool’ but I don’t think the 2-4 year olds in the ball pit should be confronted with those images. Moreover, the throwing balls at the screen can easily escalate and cause injuries…
So what is my verdict? Thumbs down.
On the plus side: My 3.5 year old and 15 months old both had a good time, and we made the most of the high entrance fee by arriving early and staying for 90 minutes, then having a rest and lunch, before going back for another 90 minutes. While it was a little busy around 11-12noon, it was very quiet between 13.30-14.30. Windsor House is conveniently located, there are lots of shopping/lunch options next door, and if it is hot or raining and you’ve got time to kill, this might be an option.
On the minus side: It is too expensive for what it is, especially the special day prices. Planet J Kids is geared towards smaller kids (there is not much to entertain 3-5 year olds – for instance, no cars, no kitchen/dress-up/role-play area, no educational toys for that age group), and I didn’t like that it was just a ball pit, with little other activities. We’ve been to several other playrooms, and there is just so much more to choose from, that I can see kids getting bored easily. And the big screen with the virtual game is just a big NO for me!
Planet J Kids
13th Floor, Windsor House
311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong