During our recent short getaway to Johor Bahru, we were searching for a budget boutique hotel around Taman Austin when we came across The Ardens Hotel which had raving reviews on booking.com. Budget hotels in Johor tend not to have very high ratings on booking sites, so this was an anomaly worth checking out!
In case you are wondering why we were looking around Taman Austin instead of the more popular Nusajaya region (where Legoland, Thomas Town and Hello Kitty Town were) for a family getaway, that deserves a whole post altogether which I shall reserve for another time. Meantime, here is a short teaser of one of the many things you can find at Taman Austin.
So… We are in Malaysia and apparently due to the #equinox, there will be blazing hot #heatwave these few days. So we're escaping the heat at Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park! Stay cool and stay away from the heat everyone. #bumblebeemumtravels #malaysia #johor #johorbahru #malaysiatravel #tourismmalaysia #austinheightswaterthemepark #waterpark #beattheheat #travelblog #travelblogger #sgparentbloggers #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #wednesdaywanderlust #travelthursday #wanderlust #instatravel #instapassport #familytravelhq #globetrotter #citytripping #myfavouritetrip #airhead
Back to The Ardens Hotel. I think the reason why the hotel has remained relatively undiscovered compared to other boutique hotels in Taman Austin was because of its location.
The Ardens Hotel was not located at the main hub of Taman Austin where the water theme park and all the hippy cafes and restaurants were. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, hidden among some deserted shophouses and it couldn’t be seen from the main road.
Given its remote location, security would have been a concern. However, The Ardens Hotel’s front door had a magnetic lock that had to be unlocked from the inside and a security guard stood at the entrance all day watching the entrance and the carpark outside.
The very friendly security guard opened the door for us and we immediately felt welcomed by the small but cozy lobby.
It was not hard to notice the stag theme around the hotel. I’m a sucker for themes so that definitely won me over.
With much anticipation, we entered our room keeping our fingers crossed that it would be as fabulous as the photos we saw online.
Have you ever stepped into a hotel room to be rudely shocked by how the room looked nothing like those professionally taken photos you saw online? That didn’t happen here. Our Luxe room at The Ardens Hotel looked EXACTLY like the photos online!
The Ardens Hotel had different types of room. We booked the more expensive Luxe room because it had a bathtub. Having stayed at Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour and Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre earlier where the standard rooms did not offer a bath tub, we decided we should get a room with a bathtub this time round. Especially since The Ardens Hotel did not have a swimming pool to keep the kids occupied otherwise.
To say we loved the bathtub here was an understatement. The kids spent most of their time awake inside the bath tub.. Lol!! There was even a rubber duck which became MY’s beloved pet. And the chandelier hanging above the bath tub was so pretty!
The bathroom was huge and took up almost half the room. There was a separate rain shower beside the bath tub.
Just like at Holiday Villa, we could keep an eye on the kids in the bathroom while we lazed on the bed watching TV because of the see-through separation between the bathroom and the bedroom.
Since the bathroom was so huge, the rest of the room basically just had enough space for a king-sized bed and a desk.
You may also notice that the windows of the room were inside the bathroom. The bedroom didn’t have any windows. But as long as we didn’t close the curtain between the bedroom and bathroom, the blinds still allowed some natural light into the whole room.
The one thing I didn’t quite like was the curtain that separated the bathroom from the bedroom. Its opening was at a very awkward position that wasn’t aligned with the bathroom door, so it was a bit difficult to close the curtain fully from inside the bathroom. Also, the curtain was outside the bathroom – this meant that when I was doing my business in the toilet, the kids could pull the curtain wide open anytime and go SURPRISE!!! I very much preferred Holiday Villa‘s way of putting the switch for the blind inside the bathroom.
That aside, I absolutely loved everything about the room. I was very impressed that the items found in the room had the hotel name printed on them. For a 2* boutique hotel, I really wasn’t expecting this.
I especially loved the custom-made door signs!
Another great thing about the hotel was that items in the mini bar were complimentary! It wasn’t much but no complaints since they were free. (PS: The photo below is missing a London Choco Roll which MY grabbed before I could take a photo.)
Convenient (Laundry) Room
When we checked in, the staff told us that there was a laundry room. I just HAD to check it out. If you know me, I just love hotels with self-service laundry. Especially when they are free.
The washer and dryer at The Ardens Hotel were FREE to use, if you brought your own detergent that is. If not, the lobby sold washing powder at RM1.50 per packet. This would be totally awesome if you were staying here after visiting Austin Height Water Theme Park because you can wash and dry all the swimming costumes! #SoAuntie
There was WIFI access throughout the hotel. The hotel was not very big, yet they had two WIFI access points on each floor, so you can log into whichever is the strongest near your room. We had no problems surfing the net throughout our stay.
The Stag Bistronomy
Breakfast was served at The Stag Bistronomy located at the lobby. The Stag Bistronomy was a bistro that did not serve just hotel guests. Anyone could walk in to dine at The Stag Bistronomy.
The bistro had the same elegance found throughout the hotel and our luxe room.
This was nothing like any of the hotel breakfast venues I had encountered from budget boutique hotels in Johor Bahru before.
Breakfast at budget hotels in Johor usually revolved around a simple buffet of nasi lemak, char kway teow, sausages and fried eggs etc. Here at The Ardens Hotel, it was quality over quantity.
We were given 2 meal vouchers with our room booking. We were not restricted to using it for breakfast and could use it anytime from morning to 2pm. We decided to drive out in the morning for dim sum breakfast (since dim sum places in Johor tend to open only in the morning) and used our voucher later in the afternoon for lunch.
Each meal voucher we had could be used to redeem one of the above brunch sets. We also had an option to top up RM5 to upgrade to an item from their ala-carte menu:
The bistro also had kids menu:
We decided to get the waffle brunch set and topped up RM5 to get the spaghetti with soft boiled egg. Each set came with coffee or tea and two muffins.
After we ordered our coffee, I couldn’t help spying the gorgeous teapot with a crown on the opposite table. I wondered if I had chosen tea for my brunch set, it would come in that nice teapot. Or maybe the teapot was only for ala-carte tea orders. Hmmm….
Back to my own table. The waffle was served and it was beautifully decorated with banana and peach slices and a scoop of teh tarik ice-cream with rainbow sprinkles!
I loved the waffles and ice-cream. Their ice-cream was super rich and thick. And the waffles were served with honey instead of maple syrup – Super love!
The spaghetti was topped with white bait tempura and served with a soft-boiled egg with cavier.
We were told to pour the soft boiled egg with cavier over the spaghetti. But I think they overcooked the egg a bit and we couldn’t pour it out. We ended up having to scoop the egg out.
I think it would have been nicer if the egg had been more runny. But despite the fail egg moment, I loved the spaghetti a lot.
Overall, the food at The Stag Bistronomy was pretty good and I wouldn’t mind coming here just to dine even if I weren’t staying at The Ardens Hotel.
In my opnion, The Ardens Hotel offers a 5* room for a 2* price, making it the most value-for-money hotel I have stayed in in Johor Bahru to date. Do note that bathtub and bath robes were only available in their Luxe rooms.
The staff at The Ardens Hotel were great. The security guard was always smiley and greeted us every time we left / entered the hotel. Couldn’t say the same for the doormen at the 5* Renainassance Johor Bahru Hotel, but that is another story for another time. Also, with the security stationed at the front of the hotel through the night, we didn’t have to worry about car theft.
The biggest issue with The Ardens Hotel is the location of the hotel. But if you are driving your own car, there are attractions within a short driving distance like Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park and Kuso 3D Trick Art Gallery. It is also a short drive from AEON Tebrau City, a large shopping mall that Singaporeans love visiting. And there are no lack of chic cafes and interesting restaurants around Taman Austin.
One thing to be aware of is that hotels in Johor tend not to be very well-maintained over time. So I cannot guarantee the hotel will still be as nice as it is now few years down the road. i.e. Go and stay while it is still new. :p
If you are looking for a place to spend the night without the frills like swimming pool and fitness corner etc, and wouldn’t mind having a set breakfast instead of the usual buffet breakfast, I highly recommend The Ardens Hotel.
Address: NO 19 & 21, JALAN AUSTIN PERDANA 2/22,
TAMAN AUSTIN PERDANA,
81200 JOHOR BAHRU, JOHOR,
Tel: +60 7 3549323
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I declare The Ardens Hotel @the_ardens THE most value-for-money hotel in JB. After staying at this 2* boutique hotel, a brand new 4* hotel and another big-name 5* hotel, the 2* won hands down for me. Can't wait to share more about it on the blog for next week's #TravelTuesday! #bumblebeemumtravels #malaysia #malaysiatravel #tourismmalaysia #johor #johorbahru #staycation #travelblog #travelblogger #iamtb #sgparentbloggers #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #travelthursday #citytripping #myfavouritetrip #familytravelhq #wanderlust #instatravel #instapassport #traveltheworld #traveladdict #globetrotter #airhead #airheadsflock #sonya6000 #sonyalpha #sonycamera #sonyimages
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