Katmandu Adventures, a new entertainment programme for kids.
The Sol hotels’ new enter tainment programme, Katmandu Adventures, has been launched in ten of the brand’s hotels this year. It emphasises the impor tance of imagination, fun and values to children through the mythical legend of ‘Desirata’, a jewel that allows whoever possesses it to travel through space and time, and its eternal guardian, Boro, who’s inspired by the Yeti.
It's 10 a.m. and the guests filling the breakfast area at Sol Barbados, in Mallorca, are in high spirits. Several families with children of all ages are gearing up for a day full of fun. They ’ll head to the beach, the waterslides, the waterfalls and the hotel’s children's clubs, where the Katmandu Adventures programme comes alive in a magical place called the Enchanted Forest.
Suddenly, two adorable characters, Boro’s niece and nephew, make their entrance in the breakfast area. Excited children run to take photos with them. Laughter, applause, nerves... Boro’s teen Yeti nephew, Kumar, and young Yeti niece, Maya, who live in the Enchanted Forest, are affectionate and attentive. They smile as they greet everyone: ‘Koko!’ say the characters. ‘Koko!’ scream the children, who have been learning basic words in the Yeti language, Katlingo, since their first day. These small Yetis are the stars of 80% of the activities at the mini clubs (for children from 8 months to 10 years old), so this surprise is a delightful reunion. Giant muffins are served alongside fresh juices and toast, and breakfast becomes a true family affair.
That’s how the day begins at the ten Sol hotels where Katmandu Adventures has already been introduced: Sol Barbados, Sol Alcudia, Sol Calas Mallorca, Sol Príncipe, Sol Pelícanos, Sol Palmanova, Sol Lanzarote, Sol Falcó and Sol Milanos Pingüinos. ‘This year we’ve adapted the ages of the clubs to the mental ages of children today ’, says Isabel González, Global Entertainment Director of the Meliá group. These are just some of the adjustments made after a year of testing in three pilot hotels.
FOR THE CHILDREN OF TODAY
‘Until last year, the age limit for the children’s clubs was 12. But, given the feedback from pilot hotels, and considering that children today mature early—by age 11 or 12 they ’re essentially pre-teens—we have readjusted. Now, there are three mini clubs: the Dreamers, for children from 8 months to 4 years old; the Explorers, for children from 5 to 7; and the Rangers, for children from 8 to 10. Each age group has different activities based on the same topics: workshops, daily shows, surprises... all inspired by the mythology of
Desirata and based on the use of imagination. Every event is supervised and guided by professionals in childcare, pedagogy, education and the arts.
‘For pre-teens, from ages 11 to 15, we’ve created the Teen Kave, a space specially tailored to their interests. Its focus and activities are based on the steampunk aesthetic, a style that has made its way from literature and cinema to today's popular culture, encompassing a wide variety of artistic areas. The style and decor are full of watches and Victorian artefacts, typical of the classic Jules Verne-style adventurers’, says Marian Vallés, Marketing Manager of Meliá Hotels International’s Mediterranean region.
‘The premise of the design of this new entertainment programme is that children, above all, should have fun. However, safety and the dissemination of the Meliá group’s universal values are equally important to us’, adds Isabel González.
‘The idea is based on the Sol Katmandu Park & Resort, a successful family resort located in Mallorca with a perfectly integrated theme park’, explains Vallés. ‘The experience of working side by side with Katmandu Park was so positive that it influenced the activity schedule and children's entertainment programme in our Sol hotels, which have more of a family focus.
ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
This year, with the programme already established in the brand’s ten hotels, there are some changes. ‘We’ve relied on recent studies that corroborate what we’ve observed, which is that the way families want to experience their holidays has radically changed. Before, parents wanted to rest while their children were entertained. Parents today, however, want to relax but also to spend time enjoying their holidays with their children’, explains Isabel González.
‘To implement this idea, we’ve created family time at the hotels; every day there are one or two activities where families can have fun together ’. Even though parents may not know what to do with their children, the hotels organise daily family activities in great detail, creating moments that are not only positive for the children, but also help parents feel closer to them.
Among the numerous benefits cited in the most recent studies on this subject are: promoting children’s self-esteem, security and peacefulness; facilitating the exchange of experiences; stimulating social and emotional skills and much more. Everything is based on the importance of the family, which is the first environment in which children develop ideas about themselves and the world.
‘Let kids be kids, use their imagination, think, dream... feel free... always in a safe environment with professional supervision’, says Isabel González. ‘These are the criteria that have fundamentally guided us in the design of Katmandu Adventures, and they ’re proving to be a success’.
Below, the play area and super visors in the children’s club at theSol Falcó hotel in Menorca.To the right, a staff membertells the legend of Katmandu at the Sol Barbados. Above and to the right, Boro the Yeti and games atthe Sol Alcudia.
Above, a character enjoys the pool with guests. Below, themedactivities in the children’s club at theSol Palmanova.