Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre Review

Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre (Malaysia) Review - Bumble Bee Mum

Last week, we made use of the school holidays to hop across the causeway to check out a brand new hotel, Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre.  If you frequent Johor Bahru, you should be familiar with KSL Hotel & Resort.  Holiday Villa JBCC was located right beside KSL City, bringing some competition to the 5-star KSL Hotel & Resort.

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Here’s a quick fact sheet, if you are curious to know more *ahem* mundane details about Holiday Villa JBCC.

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Not sure about you, but I love checking out new hotels.  Sometimes they have soft launches before the hotel is fully completed, like during the time we stayed at Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson.  When we visited, Holiday Villa JBCC was still not fully completed and they were having a pre-opening.

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As you can see above, there were still some renovation works going on, which was expected from a pre-opening.  Despite the renovation works going on at the side, the lobby itself was very clean and so new it seemed to sparkle!

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For the pre-opening, I think all that was left to be completed were the restaurants and shops.  The hotel rooms, guest facilities and lobby were ready to welcome visitors.

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Superior Room

We booked a Superior Room which was, on the whole, pretty spacious at about 30 sqm.

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The bed was a King size bed.

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There was a flat-panel TV and there was a sheet of paper on the desk with the list of TV channels, but not all the channels were ready yet.  Probably because we were at pre-opening stage, I guessed the cable was not up yet. So we were stuck watching our usual local TV.

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For the bathroom, there was no bath tub – just a rain shower.  Just like during our stay at Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, the kids had to be disappointed because they love soaking in the bath tubs during hotel stays.  Blame it on our frequent visits to Japan where bath tubs are the norm. It seems bath tubs are pretty hard to find in Johor.  Even when we stayed at the superior king room in the adjacent 5-star KSL, there was no bath tub.  If you need a bath tub here, you would have to book their premium suite.

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At least the see-through separation between the shower and the room kept the kids happy.  They were super amused that they could see through to the room when bathing, and even more amused when we drew the curtain down.

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I kind of liked this glass separation because it allowed me to keep an eye on the kids while they were showering without having to be in the bathroom with them.

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The biggest problem we had with the room was the height of the sink.  It was too tall for MY to reach and we couldn’t find anything that we could use as a booster.

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The view from our room on the 17th floor allowed us to look across the city.

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And we could see KSL city right outside our window – it was literally a stone’s throw away!

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They have connecting rooms available at Holiday Villa JBCC if you need more space.

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Breakfast at Fern Pine Cafe

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The one thing I always look forward to during hotel staycations is breakfast! Breakfast was served at Fern Pine Cafe on Level 9.   I love the unconventional location on a high floor (how many times have you had your hotel breakfast on Level 1?).  The view from the full-length windows was such a refreshing sight to wake up to!

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I was hoping to get a table next to the windows but they were all occupied, so we made do with somewhere in the centre of the cafe.

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There was quite a wide variety of food available for breakfast.

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There was a good mix of both continental and Asian food.

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While there was definitely more food than I could eat in terms of quantity and variety, the food here did not wow me in terms of quality.  Between Holiday Villa JBCC and Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour (another 4-star hotel in Johor), I preferred the breakfast at Hotel Jen.

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Infinity Pool

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The highlight of our staycation at Holiday Villa JBCC was definitely the infinity pool located on Level 25.  The view from the pool was so awesome!!

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The infinity pool was quite deep at 1.2m.  So the kids spent more time in the waddling pool at the side.  I have to say the pools here totally reminded me of Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour. In future, there will be a sky bar beside the pool (again just like Hotel Jen) but it was still under renovation during the pre-opening.  There was also a gym-with-a-view.

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When you are on Level 25, don’t forget to check out the toilet there! Inside both the male and female toilets, you would find a sauna and a hot pool, both of which commanding the same awesome city view.  The hot pool was a bit too hot for my liking though, despite the fact that I love onsen.

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Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre vs. KSL Resort

We paid RM300 for a night in the Superior Room at Holiday Villa JBCC over the March school holidays.  This was about the same price as a Superior King room in the 5-star KSL Resort next door.

In terms of location, although the two hotels were just next to each other, KSL had the advantage of being directly connect to the shopping centre (KSL City).  From Holiday Villa JBCC, we just needed to cross a road, that’s all.  But on rainy days and with kids, you will appreciate the convenience of being directly connected.

I absolutely love the infinity pool at Holiday Vila JBCC.  But it was not as kids-friendly as the pool at KSL Resort which had slides and dinousaurs.

I haven’t stepped foot into KSL Resort (the hotel part) for more than 5 years, so it may not be very fair to speak of their service standards because they may have improved.  But I had a very bad experience during my stay at KSL during our stay back when they had just opened.  In contrast, the service at every corner of Holiday Villa JBCC was impeccable.  We were greeted and smiled at by all the staff as we walked around the hotel.

In conclusion, if I wanted a more kids-friendly environment, I would opt for KSL Resort.   But if I wanted a more pampered experience where staff was more attentive, I would opt for Holiday Villa JBCC.

In Summary…

RM300 for a room wasn’t very cheap by Johor standards, considering it was a pre-opening price.  But if I were to compared it with a very similar 4-star hotel, Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, Hotel Jen would be slightly more expensive. But for RM100 more, Hotel Jen could provide a room with a sofa bed with pull-out which allowed 2 adults and 2 children to sleep comfortably in one room.  So in a way, Hotel Jen seemed better value-for-money.

Location wise, the food and shopping options around Holiday Villa JBCC was great.  There was more than enough food and entertainment to keep us occupied.   At KSL City, there was a cinema and KTV.  Food wise, you could either dine at the numerous restaurants within KSL City, or the even more numerous coffee shops lining the roads around the area.  My favourite food haunts in the area were:

If you love new hotels and good food, then Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre is the place for you. 🙂

PS:  Almost forgot to mention… We left something behind in the room when we checked out.  I only discovered it when we got home and quickly made a call to enquire.  Within like, 2 minutes, they called me back and said they had my item and would hold it for me until I went back to Johor again.  I admit that I am pretty absent-minded and this wasn’t the first time I left something behind in the hotel room. But they are the only hotel who got back to me in record time!  *thumbs up for Holiday Villa JBCC*


Address: No 260 Jalan Dato’ Sulaiman, Taman Abad Johor Bahru

Map: Click here for Google Map location

Tel: +60 7-290 3388

Official Websites: Homepage | Facebook Page

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  • mmlittlee says:

    I’m not familiar with hotels in JB and when you mentioned RM300 I tot that was really cheap!

    I like the full glass seperating the shower room to the bedroom. It gives a spacious feel to it too! And oh that view. Nice!

    Haha I’m glad they found your gadget! Impressive I must say. Not many hotels do that because they don’t usually “check” the room immediately after a guest checks out.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I was super impressed by how fast they found my gadget! Some hotels would just tell me, “We do not keep items left behind by guests” without even bothering to check. #truestory

  • Ruth says:

    So, if I get this right, this new hotel is going to be more expensive than the 5 star hotel in town but the service is better in this hotel. Though choice. You know how I feel about the food. That would be a big turn off for me. I imagine they are going to open restaurants around the hotel. Hope those are better.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yup, that’s the gist of it. If this hotel offers a lower rate for room-only without the breakfast, I would go for that. There is SO MUCH local food surrounding the hotel, there is really no need to eat within the hotel.

  • Michelle says:

    I thought RM300 was really cheap too. I’ve never considered a staycation across the causeway but you had me at good dimsum and shopping!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I thought RM300 wasn’t that cheap because I was comparing to the 5-star KSL Resort next to it. But then again, KSL is not new anymore. If I compared them to the newer 4-star hotels like Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, then yes, you can say RM300 is cheap.

      I just love the food at Johor – it is the only motivation for me to keep going. Plus much-cheaper-than-Singapore staycation options. But of course, security is an issue.

  • Phoebe says:

    Was looking forward to reading your post to see the rooms. It’s a pity they don’t have more economic rooms for family. the next option would be the suite which is too expensive. The room looks decent but we probably won’t be able to stay with its size. Guess we are stuck with boutique hotels for now. Thanks for sharing.


    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yeah, the suite was double the price of our room for our date and also only had 1 king-size bed. Still had to top up for rollaway bed. If I had to book 2 rooms, which would come up to RM600, I would definitely think twice too. Boutique hotels in JB are definitely more value-for-money if looking for a place just to sleep for the night. For us, we were looking for a staycation where we could bum at the hotel and swim at the hotel pool (something the kids super love) and boutique hotels don’t have pools. I imagine when the kids are older and we want to have staycation, RM600 is still cheap compared to a family room in any 4-star Singapore hotel in that sense.

  • The first photo of the infinity pool is awesome.
    My kids would go crazy peeping over the edge, or trying their best to splash waster down!
    KSL is convenient, but always packed during holidays.

    cheers, Andy

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It’s a good thing that we have a new hotel to relief the crowd at KSL then! Is KSL still very packed these days? When I stayed there 5+ years ago when they were newly opened, the crowd was O-M-G super turn-off! The hotel staff and facilities totally couldn’t cope with the crowd and it was a horrible experience. So bad that my friend who booked for 2 nights decided to cancel the 2nd night after the first night. I mean.. What kind of hotel builds insufficient lifts to cater to the number of guest rooms they had? We couldn’t get into any lift for half an hour during check-out and there were A LOT of angry people at the lift lobbies of every floor. It was really my worst hotel experience ever. Okay, sorry, I’m ranting.

  • Angie.S says:

    That infinity pool is calling my name! 🙂 How safe is it to drive into JB for this staycation? We’ve never done it before and I’ve been wanting to visit KSL and the night market too.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hmmm… I’m not going to say that it is safe. Driving to JB definitely has its risks. But I guess it is about as safe as KL? I don’t think KL is that safe either. Just got to stay alert at all times.

  • Veraday says:

    Love the floor-to-ceiling windows at the restaurant! My mids love the glass partition for the bathroom because it means they can bathe and watch TV at the same time! Tho usually from a tub. A holiday indulgence 🙂
    Veraday recently posted…A Run On the Wild Side At The Safari Zoo RunMy Profile

  • Jacqualine says:

    Since I stay in Woodlands, which is essentially just a mere 20 minutes drive (without the jam!) to KSL, I have never thought about having a staycay there. RM300 per night is reasonable I suppose? Works out to about S$100/night, which I think is not possible in Singapore hahahah. The breakfast looks good to me too, but like what you’ve mentioned, I think they are a bit lacking in being kids-friendly.
    Jacqualine recently posted…Derm-A-Renew Treatment at Annabelle SkinMy Profile

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Exactly, if you compare to hotel prices in Singapore, staycay in JB is much much cheaper. Their next door hotel, KSL, has a super kids-friendly pool. But I had a bad experience with them (see my rant in reply to Andy’s comment) so I never thought of going back. Going in from Woodlands, KSL and Holiday Villa’s location is fantastic. Just have to be very vigilant if bringing young children because the area is quite notorious in terms of security. If security is a concern, the area where Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour is has a better rep. But it’s further if coming from Woodlands.

  • Jess @ Room Service Required says:

    That infinity pool is breathtaking! And the little splash pool looks perfect for the little ones. I’m a bit jealous that you can convince your two to shower, mine are bath only kids. Still afraid of getting water in their faces!
    Jess @ Room Service Required recently posted…Tips for Flying with a BabyMy Profile

  • Danessa Foo says:

    I agree with you, it’s difficult to get hold of standard rooms in JB with a bathtub. One needs to book a suite to enjoy such a commodity. That being said, the entrance of the superior room is spacious and it’s a nice change from narrow entryways for most hotels. I like that this hotel is near KSL (easy to get meals and amenities). Thanks for sharing!
    Danessa Foo recently posted…KidZania Singapore Opens April 2016My Profile

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Sometimes I’m really tempted to book a suite just for the bathtub. Especially since suites in JB cost the same (or even less) than a standard hotel room in Singapore.

  • Blessedmommy says:

    I really enjoyed your postings and reviews! Thank you!

    You totally got me when you mentioned bathtubs…. that’s my biggest headache! THe kids are always asking for it…. ahhh!

    Would you be happy to share a list of the the hotels in malaysia with bathtubs in the usual superior or deluxe rooms?

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