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Japan's best kid-themed hotels

A place where futuristic technology collides with an ancient culture, Japan is unabashedly eccentric and the perfect destination for families seeking suite dreams, Aleney De Winter writes.

As traditional as it is modern, as conservative as it is bold, and as mild as it is wild, Japan is a country of dizzying extremes that can leave visitors dazed but delighted and nowhere is that more evident than in its hotels.

While considerations like location and price are what most families look for in a hotel, in Japan, pop culture preferences can be added to the selection process! With themed hotel suites dedicated to everything from robots and Godzilla to kawaii (cute) kitties popping up all over the country, kids will adore ditching the beige and boring for one of these quirky and cute rooms. And, for that matter, so will their parents!


Disney Hotels

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel has three enchanting new character themed rooms. Leaves and trinkets abound in the Tinker Bell room, or step into The Beast’s castle in a Beauty and the Beast room. The Cinderella room is a swirl of enchanted blue fit for a princess, or you may prefer to fall down the rabbit hole into an Alice in Wonderland room filled with playing cards, red roses and that cheesy Cheshire Cat. It’s truly as though you’ve stepped into a fairytale.


Robots Hotel

How about a high-tech hotel that’s staffed by robots? It may sound like the stuff of sci-fi novels but at Henn-na Robot Hotel in Nagasaki, it’s a reality. The 72-room hotel is staffed by around 80 robots including a team of porter robots responsible for carrying luggage to and from rooms, and the cleaning robots who keep the hotel spotless.

Part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, which is devoted to all things Dutch (yes, it just keeps getting stranger), guests at Henn-na Hotel will be met at reception by a talking dinosaur and access their rooms via face-recognition. Rooms are comparatively more subdued, featuring clean, modern designs and all the features you’d expect from a human hotel. There’s no need for techno-fear here, with a few behind-the-scenes humans just in case something doesn’t compute.




Hello Kitty

Keio Plaza Hotel’s Hello Kitty themed rooms prove there’s no such thing as too much of the world’s favourite plush puss. Located in Tokyo’s lively Shinjuku district, there are two types of room to choose from. The Hello Kitty Town Room is a pop art explosion of cuteness; everything from the carpet up - including the giant Hello Kitty that dominates the room and vibrant wallpaper - is an ode to the Sanrio character.

The Princess Kitty room, on the other hand, is pretty in pink and has more of a fairytale feel. In each room special touches like a lipstick-signed bathroom mirror and take-home Hello Kitty water bottles, plush Hello Kitty toy and stationary add to the feline fun. The experience doesn’t end at the décor, however, with novelties including themed mocktails and a new Hello Kitty Room Original Breakfast that’s almost too cute to eat.


Minions

The newest themed-hotel suites to hit Japan are in Osaka’s Hotel Universal Port. One of the official hotels of Universal Studios Japan, it’s amazing kid’s facilities already make it a great place for visiting families.

Come January the hotel will be going totally bananas with the launch of Minion-themed suites where you’ll be able to share a room with your favourite on-screen characters in all their yellow-hued glory. There’s even an official Universal Studios store on-site for some fun shopping.



Snoopy

If you’re inspired by the Hello Kitty rooms at Keio Plaza Hotel but are more of a dog person, then head to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo’s salubrious Ginza area. Their Snoopy-themed rooms are dotted with everything from slippers and robes to cushions, cups and cuddlies.

Book the limited edition Grand Chef Snoopy package and you’ll also enjoy a pup-themed bento for breakfast complete with a take-home Snoopy Bento bag, unique to the hotel. You can also pick up the ever-so-cute ‘Doorman Snoopy’ at the Imperial Hotel’s gift shop to take home to family and friends.


Gundam

Tokyo’s bayside Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba is the place for anime and robot fans with a variety of Gundam-themed rooms complete with figures from the popular animated TV show. Massive murals of the giant robot mechanoids cover the walls, and bed linen, carpet and wallpaper are also emblazoned with Gundam imagery. For the ultimate in Gundam geekery, there’s even an in-room cockpit photo spot!



Thomas the Tank Engine

Toot toot! While we're on the subject of cute why not book a stay with Thomas and his friends at Highland Resort Hotel & Spa, the official hotel of Fuji-Q Highland, a theme park located at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

The Thomas and Percy themed rooms are family-sized and in addition to detailed murals of Thomas and his friends, maps of Sodor and character sofas, boast an incredible view of Mt. Fuji (which is literally right outside your window). If too much Thomas is never enough for your little trainspotters, Thomas-themed kids meals and children's utensils are also available.

Godzilla

There's no character that is as uniquely Japanese as Godzilla. Now you can have a sleepover with him at the Hotel Gracery. The hotel, located in Tokyo's popular Shinjuku district, has two room types themed around the not-so-jolly green giant.

You can choose to wake up to the sight of a giant reptilian eyeball peering into your bedroom in a Godzilla view room, which looks out directly onto a replica of the movie monster, or sleep alongside a man-sized Godzilla statue on a bed that's shadowed by an enormous green claw in the Godzilla room. Roarsome!



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