Pros: Portable, working elevator, easy storage, nicely detailed
Cons: Seems a bit snobbish and elitist
As I stated in my last review of the Fisher Price Sweet Streets Beach House, I have been actively avoiding the Sweet Streets toys for a long time. Why? Mostly because they are incompatible in size with the original Loving Family doll house line that I obsessively sank a bunch of money and time to collect (for my daughter, of course). How dare Fisher Price use the ever popular Loving Family name to sell these cheap, miniature doll sets! Who would stoop to buy these? Uh
me, it turns out.
Once I officially sold out and started buying the Fisher Price Sweet Streets line of toys, I immediately had my eye on the Loving Family Sweet Streets Hotel. This is the largest "house" in the set and comes with four dolls and 13 additional pieces of furniture and accessories. My main reason for NOT instantly snatching up this toy, other than my quickly dwindling sense of pride, was very simple price. This hotel retails for around $25, give or take a couple of bucks. Thats just too much for me to drop on a casual toy when there isnt a special occasion to justify the splurge. However, recently all the Sweet Street toys went on sale at Target and I found the hotel for the incredibly low price of $11.99. Well, what choice did I have? Questions like this make my husband crazy. He would say "You had the choice to NOT buy it!! Needless to say, I didnt exercise that choice.
Every Girl Needs Her Own Luxury Hotel!
The Fisher Price Loving Family Sweet Streets Hotel is an ornately decorated pink and blue plastic building, measuring about 13" wide, 11 and 1/2" tall, and 5" deep when closed up. When the two bottom wings are opened up fully, the width of the hotel expands to about 24". Starting at the bottom, the front of the hotel has a cafe on the left with double yellow doors that open and close. A glance inside the many windows reveals a beautiful flower carpet (decal) and the entrance to an elegant dining room at the back (also a decal). The right is a boutique with images of fancy outfits on the wall and shelves of dolls and other gift shop items on a decal in the back. Both the cafe and boutique sections open outward to reveal more floor space on the purple tiled first floor of the hotel. The right wing houses a fancy swimming pool with a big slide and a raised hot tub (deluxe!).
Thats it for the first floor except for the most important feature, right in the center, the working elevator! The blue elevator can be entered (by the miniature dolls) through an ornate yellow gate. Twisting the pink knob on the top of the hotel clockwise pulls the elevator up the pink elevator shaft to the second floor of the hotel. Twisting the knob counterclockwise brings the elevator back to the first floor.
The second floor is split level with the right side lower than the left. Both sides are intended to be hotel rooms. The larger suite on the right has a couple of built-in dressers and a corner sink in the bath, facing a large window to the rear of the hotel. The smaller room on the left has a corner stand. In the front center of the second floor is a curved balcony that leads to the elevator. Steps on the left of the balcony lead to the smaller of the two rooms. The top of the hotel has a small sight-seeing deck/balcony on the right, a dome over the elevator in the center, and a fold down pink carrying handle/decorative arch and pink elevator control knob. Finally, the entire exterior of the hotel is adorned in ornate flower patterns, tall curved windows and arched shutters. Very elegant, I might add.
The Sweet Streets Hotel comes with 13 pieces of furniture and/or accessories for imaginative play three beds, a couch, luggage, TV, serving tray, table, three chairs, front desk, and life preserver. The one double bed and two twin beds are all yellow with purple pillows. The pink couch is identical to the one in the Sweet Streets Beach House (maybe it doesnt belong in that set opps! Hard to tell when all the pieces are jumbled together) The couch has several briefcases or bags stacked in front of one corner and a coat casually draped over the end. The green luggage is all in one easy-to handle package consisting of three bags, a teddy bear, a hat and a coat. The color TV sits on a blue stand/dresser. The blue room service tray has a pot of coffee, cup of coffee, poached egg, toast, and napkin. The blue dinner table with the red tablecloth is elegantly set for three and goes with the three curved back blue chairs.
The most hotel-like accessory is the curved pink front desk with a reservation book on top, along with a lamp and plant. The front of the desk has more luggage and coats against it and the inside of the desk reveals a computer, old-fashioned dial phone, clock, keys, pens, papers, and a safe. Its really quite detailed. Finally, this hotel comes with a green sea horse life preserver that comes permanently tethered to the side of the swimming pool with a pink cord. My daughter immediately became annoyed with the fact that this was attached and quickly solved the problem with a quick snip of the scissors. Obviously there are not enough furnishings to realistically outfit a hotel, but the ones that are included do an effective job of setting the stage.
Now For the Happy Vacationers And One Hard Worker
This hotel comes with four small dolls that, in my opinion, are a step down from the versatile Loving Family dolls from the original doll house collection because they arent quite as maneuverable. These Sweet Street dolls can stand upright (barely), bend at the waist, move their legs, and move their arms up and down but cannot bend at the knees or elbows. However, this particular set is at least more mobile than the dolls for the Sweet Streets Beach House because those dolls couldnt even move their arms or their legs. I guess that Fisher Price is catching on because the hotel was released more recently than the Beach House.
The family of dolls, as usual, includes a mother, father, and a girl. The mother has short yellow blond hair and is dressed casually in a red short sleeve shirt, blue capri pants, and white tennis shoes. The father is also casual in a short-sleeve polo shirt, brown slacks, and white shoes. The daughter has short orangish hair tucked into a green bathing cap with matching green slippers, a purple bathing suit, and a removable green skirt. Finally, this set also comes with a very official looking bellhop dressed in a blue uniform with cap and black shoes.
The Play Factor
My daughter was, and still is, fascinated with the elevator on this hotel. She regularly crams it full of dolls, from this set and others, and takes them on rides up and down on the elevator. However, maybe since shes never been to a fancy hotel, she doesnt necessarily make the bellhop haul the luggage. In fact, shes just a likely to have him sleeping in one of the beds or sitting at the table having dinner. She enjoys all the little pieces of the set, even though she finds it difficult to keep track of them. In fact, the mother doll, TV, and table are all temporarily missing. Thats one of the drawbacks of having so many tiny pieces.
Ive grudgingly learned to like the Sweet Streets line of toys, mostly because they are reasonably affordable and are impressively detailed. This hotel is no exception. Mostly I like it, though, because my daughter (and my sons) enjoy it so much. In summary, here are my likes and dislikes with the Fisher Price Loving Family Sweet Streets Hotel:
~ The moving elevator
~ Price (when on sale)
~ Ease of storage, both of the hotel itself and all the accessories that fit into the folded structure
~ Impressive details on the furnishings
~ Decals already attached at purchase
~ Kid appeal
I Dont Care for
~ Lack of compatibility with the original Loving Family doll house and dolls
~ How easy it is to lose the little pieces
~ The use of the Loving Family name (rather misleading)
~ The overall snobbishness of the set, implying that you should be rich and able to afford fancy places like this (yeah, right)
~ The "whiteness" of it all. At least at this time, there is no equivalent African American set (or Hispanic or Asian, etc.)