Taking a reprieve from my America and European adventures, lets bring it closer to home for a while. A couple of weeks ago I took a trip over the border to Johor Bahru for a little short trip right before the start of school. I stayed in the Doubletree Hilton, as per the usual and I also need to clock some stays right before december. I am just so close into retaining Gold status for next year. Why not ya? This time around I will also like to share about my staycation at the doubletree. You will also see how worthwhile the Gold Status is! I have actually already shared extensively on this hotel previously, you can check it out here, rather, this time around I will just point out the differences in the executive rooms, lounges as well as the breakfast.
The rate was 259 RM after tax which comes around to about 85 SGD. The Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru is rather an seasonal property, it is busy and packed during weekends as well as the school holidays and empty on the weekdays. This also means that upgrades are rather easy on the weekdays. It is a rather large group of us and we got 2 rooms in total. It is rather busy when we arrive at around 1pm. The staff was polite and welcomed us as a gold members. Check in took a little time since the staff was rather new and unpolished. It is nice that both of our bookings got upgraded to an executive king room. I also got a late check out at 3pm by the MOD which was generous. Sadly there was a little wait for the room and we spend some time at the lounge while the rooms were gotten ready. As per the norm, warm cookies were provided at the counter, we were also given a welcome letter which inform us of all the perks I will enjoy as a Gold member as well as the timing of breakfast and evening receptions. We are able to have breakfast both in the lounge as well as in the restaurant.
First up the room, it is technically exactly the same as a normal king room. I do not see any difference at all, perhaps for the better view since we are at the 29th floor now. It is also near the executive lounge. The bed was still that comfy and there is also still that 2 bottles of water placed in the room as well as the kettle and some tea that a normal rooms has. A nice touch would be a nespresso machine.
Executive Rooms does have turn down service where they placed more water and they also use this larger size amenities in the toilets. I do have to say the housekeeping service was good and fast!
Let me share about the lounge since this is rather different. The Lounge is located on the 29th floor as well. The staff were good and polite but rather too rigid in my opinion. I understand the rules and all but this is in fact the most rigid ones that I have encounter in my whole life. And I have been to alot of lounge. It is open all day and pretty quiet on a Mon afternoon. It’s a nice space, spacious and new. The lounge have sweeping views of the surrounding area although it look rather depressing with the haze looming over in the region.
In the afternoon there is some snacks and drinks on offer. You can find soft drinks, coffee, juices. There is also some cakes and pie on offer. You can also ask for some of that tasty cookies from them. Upon knowing that my room was ready, I went off with my opened half drank coke in hand and the staff stop me at the door? Come on!
I feel that the lounge is a super nice space to work although it does seems to be lacking of outlets. In the evening speaks another story, it is far more crowded but still alright. Although keeping in mind that this is a weekday! The evening reception was actually pretty good, it can easily be a dinner substitute! I love Asia! There are 3 hot dishes on offer, one main and two sides, some fried samosa and teriyaki chicken.
There is also a mini salad bar and soup. You can also find some cold cuts and sandwiches in addition to mini cakes and fruits. Service was also one of the best I have seen, lounge staff was very proactive and even go around asking for drinks order. Impressed to have such service in an executive lounge!
Drinks wise there is a red and white wine on offer, soft drinks and two types of beer in the fridge! I do not see any liquor on offer though!
The lounge also served up a healthy spread of many dishes for breakfast! There were in little servings and I believe it is a concise selection from the restaurant spread. I shall let the pictures do the rest of the talking. There is a mixture of both Asian and Western offerings. Pastries were fresh. I went there with my slippers just to grab a coffee and was almost chased out. I feel that their service is good, but way too inflexible on their rules no slippers and everything. The staff clearly need to be better train there is another way to be exclusive and executive.
I went down to the restaurant for breakfast instead and it’s pretty busy despite being early at 8am. I was welcomed in after giving room number and shown to a table although weirdly there is no asking if what drinks I would like. Breakfast is served from 6 to 1030 on weekdays. I’m missing that awesome restaurant staff from Hilton Zurich and Hamburg. They are generous to provide the whole buffet for premium members which cost 60 RM. For two that is already 120 RM. Generous! Welcome to Asia! Remember that 10 USD credit in a NYC hotel which can’t get me crap?
I love that they have this little teh tarik cart in the restaurant which is cute and a much better choice. Loving the local flair. The restaurant is huge and there is a ton of food offerings here. From Western Kitchen, to Indian, Chinese and Malay. Drinks wise you can also find some tea and juices on offer. They have some fresh customizable to order juice at the fruit corner which is awesome. I had some of it. This hotel though need to get better coffee as they are really like sewage water I have never seen such a watery espresso before.
There’s a lot of selections and different station in the restaurant. Cakes, Pastries, Waffles, Pancakes, Cereals, Salad Bar, Soba, Nasi Lemak. You name it! They even have ice cream for breakfast. Finally you also have the Chinese area with some wok fried dishes, dimsum, noodle station. In contrast I find it to be really lacking of western choices!
There are also a could of ala carte station serving up laksa, Roti Bakar as well as an egg station. Honestly I feel that the selection is so impressive but each and every dishes are lacking a little here and there. Food are not well executed, quality can certainly be improved but kudos for the selection
Overall I had such an amazing stay. Upgrades easily attainable, late check out at 3pm. Free breakfast for premium members. Dinner in the lounge. A perfect place for a staycation. Get the executive rooms if you want to stay in. For a rate of 259 RM, breakfast for two is already 120 RM in the restaurant and then we still have lounge and evening cocktails! Worth it!