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.
Here’s a quick fact sheet, if you are curious to know more *ahem* mundane details about Holiday Villa JBCC.
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.
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!
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.
We booked a Superior Room which was, on the whole, pretty spacious at about 30 sqm.
The bed was a King size bed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The view from our room on the 17th floor allowed us to look across the city.
And we could see KSL city right outside our window – it was literally a stone’s throw away!
They have connecting rooms available at Holiday Villa JBCC if you need more space.
Breakfast at Fern Pine Cafe
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!
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.
There was quite a wide variety of food available for breakfast.
There was a good mix of both continental and Asian food.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre vs. KSL Resort
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.
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:
- D’Shanghai inside KSL City (near the cinema) for dim sum
- Yit Foh Wanton Mee at one of the coffee shops nearby (click here for Google Map location)
- The Roast Duck from a coffee shop called Kedai Kopi Ah Yong (click here for Google Map location)
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
Tel: +60 7-290 3388
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