Although Johor Bahru is vastly being developed as a family holiday destination, reputable hotels are still few and far between. Hence, on my last trip, I was thrilled to be staying at the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel, one of the few internationally-branded properties and the only five-star property in the area. And the Renaissance experience, as always, was up to my standards.
Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel is situated in the residential estate of Permas Jaya, surrounded by a strip of small stores and restaurants. Thanks to the presence of ride-hailing services Uber and Grab, Johor Bahru City Center, as well as the causeway that connects to Singapore, is only a few minutes (and ringgits) away. Likewise, LEGOLAND Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park—to which the hotel runs free shuttle services—can be reached by car in about 30 minutes.
Renaissance Hotels, a globally-recognized hotel chain under Marriott International, needs not a lot of introduction. What must be highlighted, however, is its mantra, Live Life to Discover, in which the brand seeks to provide “a unique guest experience woven through design, service and unique programming inspired by each destination’s locale.” Guests may expect the hotels’ R Navigators to recommend the best places in the locale—from dining to sightseeing.
I was billeted in a Club Room on a high floor. I liked how it looked—its design and furnishings were trendy, and it was awash in earth tones, creating a homey and relaxing ambiance.
The room boasted of conveniences expected of a five-star hotel, including the cozy Renaissance Bed, which “combines high-performance comfort and resilience with patented edge and weight-absorption technologies” for optimal support. The immaculate bathroom, on the other hand, was supplied with fragrant toiletries from TokyoMilk by Margot Elena.
My room came with a slew of club privileges, foremost being access to the Club Lounge, a gorgeously-decorated space that showcases a splendid view of the Straits of Johor. It serves breakfast, afternoon tea, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts—which were all superior in my opinion.
Breakfast is served at the Café BLD, their all-day dining restaurant. Their extensive and tasty morning spread combines Western, Asian, and Malaysian items.
Since I came during the holy month of Ramadan, I was able to try the hotel’s Iftar (breaking of the fast) buffet. Café BLD was teeming with people—that additional tables needed to be set up—yet the food never seemed to run out. With about 400 dishes of various cuisines and themes on offer, it was a stupendous affair, and I was seriously astonished how affordably they priced it.
On Saturday lunch, I sat down at Wan Li Chinese Restaurant for its affordably-priced dim sum buffet. At first, I was iffy about it because I was told the restaurant doesn’t serve pork at all, but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of what I was served. Must-tries include the xiao long bao, siew mai, hakao, and salted egg custard buns.
We also checked out their facilities, which include a bespoke bar, swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and one of the grandest ballrooms in Johor.
With its impressive rooms, facilities, dining, and service, the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel deserves to be distinguished as one of Johor Bahru’s best. And although the hotel is five-star, the experience thankfully doesn’t come at too steep a price.
RENAISSANCE JOHOR BAHRU HOTEL
Jalan Permas, Bandar Bahru Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 7 381 3333
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