From fire trucks to cats, hotel rooms appeal to the senses of youngsters by ditching the boring beige and daring to dream, discovers Belinda Jackson.
Accosted by pirates and knights or wading in a sea of frothy pink: waking up in the stomach of a Nintendo game may be your idea of hell ... or heaven.
Kids may not be holding the purse strings, but canny hotels know that thinking small can make a big difference.
While interconnecting rooms are a given, you'll now find alcoves stacked with bunks and stuffed with toys and books that remodel the room from red-eye traveller to pint-sized revellers.
Here are six of the best.
Adelaide, South Australia
Got a wannabe firefighter on your hands? Book a night's stay at the Fire Station Inn, Adelaide's first fire station built in 1866, now a boutique hotel in swish North Adelaide. There's a fully restored 1942 fire truck at the end of the queen-size bed, a fireman's pole, lights and costumes for dress-ups. The room has a king bed and a double sofa bed. Costs from $275 a double plus $45 for children over two years. adelaideheritage.com.
California, United States
Lego-mad kids can choose to be a pirate, adventurer, or perhaps a knight at the new 250-room Legoland hotel in Carlsbad, California. The hotel is made up of millions of Lego bricks and guests get early entry to Legoland's rides and attractions. The best thing is you don't have to pick up all the Lego pieces. Rooms comprise a queen bed and a separate sleeping area for up to three kids. Kids stay and play free when booked by September 30 for stays until November 21. From $179. legoland.com.
EMPIRE OF THE CAT
Jeju Island, South Korea
She's super kawaii (cute) and pink to the gills: Hello Kitty hits new highs in the five-star Lotte Hotel on Jeju Island. Off South Korea's southern coastline, Jeju is the country's party island thanks to its beaches and warm summers. Being Korean, the activities include sauna, karaoke and hunting, but if your focus is a white kitty cat with a pink flower in her hair, who appears on the duvets, the carpets and the walls, maybe that's not quite your game. Suites from $726. lottehoteljeju.com.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
Little India, Singapore
Step out of the madness of Little India and into a madness of a different kind at Wanderlust, a super-cool Design Hotel whose two fabulous space rooms feature a red space rocket and a few friendly aliens. The kitchenette and bathroom are downstairs, then climb up to the loft bed and watch the stars as you orbit into sleep. Costs from $298 a double, includes breakfast and Wi-Fi. Extra beds from $85. wanderlusthotel.com.
The Fifth-Avenue home for stylish little girls is the Eloise suite at the Plaza Hotel, dreamed up by fashion designer Betsey Johnson. As they say: "Think pink and lots of it". Saucy Eloise, the heroine by Kay Thompson, who lived at the hotel, was modelled on Thompson's goddaughter, Liza Minnelli. The two-bedroom suite is a swirl of zebra print, sparkly pink and neon lights. The Eloise ambassador will escort guests to the suite, get their autograph and take a portrait, before presenting you with a monogrammed Eloise bathrobe and a $100 gift card to the Eloise shop. From $1395 plus taxes. theplazany.com.
Canberra's top hotel is currently the swish East Hotel. Its Kids Cubby connects with the East Apartment for a chic, two-bedroom option. The cubby has bunks, kids' furniture, a little dining table and an Xbox 360 as well as other games. Book their Questacon package and get admission for two adults and two kids into Questacon (the National Science and Technology Centre), as well as a free in-room movie and popcorn, parking and a half bottle of wine. From $380 (room only), $410 (Questacon pack). easthotel.com.au.
FIVE MORE COOL KIDS' ROOMS
SWISSOTEL, PHUKET, THAILAND
Set by Kamala beach and a favourite with families, the hotel can redesign the kids' room, with age-relevant toys, food and games for kids two to 17 years. From $154, two-bedroom suite, until November 1. swissotel.com.
FANTASYLAND HOTEL, EDMONTON, CANADA
Sleep in a pick-up truck, stylishly, in truck theme room. There's a queen bed in the back, a futon in the cab and fire-engine toddler bunks. The igloo room has an icy-cool fitout. From $368. fantasylandhotel.com.
SHERATON MACAO HOTEL, MACAU
The largest Sheraton in the world's two-bed, two-bathroom suite has a kids' room with craft tables, games, a Wii and bunk beds. From $299. sheraton.com/macao.
THE PALMS, LAS VEGAS
For girls, as well as the girlish at heart, The Barbie Suite is a very grown-up affair that sleeps six, and parties for 40. From $3000. thepalms.com.
NOMAD XPERIENCE, GRANADA, SPAIN
Sleep in a yurt, a tipi or a gypsy wagon at this property in the Sierra Nevada. €35 ($51) a person, €25 children three to 16 years. nomadx.es.