I have numerous Malaysia customs stamps on my passport, old & present, & a large proportion of these stamps were contributed by the Johor Bahru Customs. Why? Because JB is pretty accessible for a “Northlander” like me so crossing the causeway to shop, eat & relax for a day trip is a pretty attractive option for me, especially with the strong SGD against the MYR. :P However, I had never stayed overnight in JB before, until during the recent Hari Raya long weekend when I just felt like doing a short getaway from Singapore.
Thanks to a family recommendation, I got to know about the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Johor Bahru, opened since July 2014, which is conveniently located about 10 minutes by foot from JB City Square (i.e. near the JB Customs as well), great for people like me who do not drive.
Upon arriving at JBCS level 3 (the level that is linked to JB Customs), go down 1 level to level 2 & head to the Jalan Wong Ah Fook overhead bridge near The Chicken Rice Shop. Cross the overhead bridge & instead of turning left to the side of Public Bank Berhad building, you should turn right where you will see many little shops (mostly shops open by Indians). Just keep walking straight along the road (probably about 10 minutes for a slow leisurely walk) till you see this road sign:
Along the way, there isn’t much view except a number of Indian-looking shops at first followed by what looks like a major road leading to a highway at the later part before you see the sign above. Btw, that is the hotel building you are seeing in the photo above. ;)
Although we were unable to succeed with an early check-in around 10am that day, as official check-in time starts from 3pm, within an hour, the hotel reception actually tried to call me to inform that our room was ready! :) We continued with our cafe-hopping around the Jalan Tan Hiok Nee area before returning to the hotel close to 3pm. Upon receiving our room key at the reception, we were given our warm welcome chocolate chip cookies (which we later ate & found it too sweet for our liking).
We got ourselves a deluxe twin room on level 23 with a view of the outdoor pool on level 13. The room was modern & clean, even with 2 double beds, it was spacious for us to “roam about”. :)
Not sure if you notice that you can see through the shower from the bed (top right pic)? ;) Well we searched high & low for the switch to pull down the privacy blinds, & only managed to get it down after calling the reception for help, as the switch was well hidden on the left of the wash basin without any sign! :P Anyway we love the room so much that we just allowed ourselves to relax in the room for over an hour before we finally left the hotel for KSL hehe. Guess the only grouse that we have of the room was the super soft pillows provided. So soft till it’s as good as not having any support, but too bad by the time we realized it was close to midnight & we couldn’t get the staff on the phone to bring us other types of pillows (that were complimentary). :(
The highlight of this stay definitely has to be the sumptuous buffet breakfast the following day. :) I was already told not to miss the breakfast at the time of booking the hotel so we booked the room with breakfast, & very glad we made the right choice! It was equivalent to the buffet spread we get at hotels such as Grand Hyatt in Singapore. Check out the photos I took so that you can see for yourself. ;)
I didn’t manage to take pics of all the food & beverage counters so the above are just a sneak peek for you haha. We must say that 90% of the food were delicious & of high quality. I especially love the freshly squeezed fruit juices, as seen in the centre of the second pic (the colourful glasses: green = honeydew juice, orange = orange juice & red = watermelon juice). We were so full & satisfied after the 1.5 hours worth of morning feast that we skipped lunch. What’s better was the additional cost that we paid for getting the room with breakfast was only about S$20 for 2 pax, i.e. S$10/pax! ;)
With a great location, superb food & service, 24-hour gym, as well as a comfortable room for a good night’s rest, it was definitely a lovely birthday stay for me! Highly recommend to stay at this hotel if you just want a short & convenient getaway from Singapore without burning a big hole in your wallet. :D