I didn't have much time and cash to plan for a birthday vacation far away from Singapore but i did manage to squeeze out some time for a night stay across the causeway at Holiday Villa JB hotel!
As i only took leave on my actual birthday, i had to travel to Malaysia after work. By the time i got to the hotel reception, it was already 9.30 pm and obviously due to the lack of late check-in customers, it didn't take long for me to have the key card in my hands.
Room assigned - 1806; always good to have a high floor as the view on top would likely be much more spectacular compared to lower levels.
Note the non-allowables to the hotel. I can understand no durians and mangosteens but i was scratching my head when i read that even dragonfruit is banned; personally, i don't think it has a foul smell and if you get the normal white-flesh dragonfruit, i doubt it will stain too.
Room (WiFi ready)
Remember the ten taboos when staying in a hotel; one of which is to knock before you enter the allocated superior room!
To be totally honest, the decor of the superior room was nothing to scream about and the size also didn't stand out from any of common, same-starred hotel in the market. To put it simply, it's plain.
View was definitely an eye-popper and given my poor grasp for night photography, i shall share the pictures of the daytime scenery, shortly.
Ta dah! Isn't this a gorgeous view?! And only upon drawing the ugly curtains apart did i realise there's a long cushion for those who prefer to sit next to the window and read a romantic novel for the rest of the day.
Holiday Plaza just in front of us! I remember a long, long time ago, Holiday Plaza was one of our favourite haunts whenever we visited Johor Bahru (JB) and i guess we should revisit the place for good old memory sake.
Another sign in the room stating what's not allowed in the room even though this provided a lot more details like the levied fine of RM 500 should you choose to violate the rules!
Flat screen television and i am including the available channels for your reference too. Miss Singapore television channels? They are generally available in JB since it's so close to Singapore.
Now the bathroom which had your usual freebies (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, sanitary pad, shower cap, vanity set, shower gel, shampoo). In case you miss it, there's an attached hair dryer!
Rainfall shower! The only thing lacking would be a stool where i can sit and relax while the water drops down from the "key". Have i ever mentioned that it's darn shiok to sit in the rain?! So long there's no lightning and thunder.
The mysterious button outside the shower with faded wordings.
Touch the button and brighten up the bathroom with lights coming in from the see through glass looking out into the bedroom! Having the blinds would be so much better than the frosted glass at Ipoh's French Hotel; it's a nice thing to have with your girlfriend / boyfriend but i was with my parents then!
My package included buffet breakfast for two at the Fern Pine Cafe on level nine of the hotel. In JB, it's really unnecessary to have breakfast in the hotel as there are often ample food options nearby!
Not to also mention that it's also literally filled with tourists who needed the energy boost for their likely hectic itinerary! p.s. we took some time to finally find seats for two persons.
There were just too many people on the day i was there and i didn't manage to take any decent photographs showing what was available; some trays were already almost cleaned out. Judging from the labels, i guess the offering was rather decent and my sister, who stayed at the same hotel during the off-peak period, was happy with the variety.
My breakfast which was honestly not too bad although my heart was skewed towards the exploration of food outside the hotel! If you have been following my blog, you would have read about the pork porridge i had near the hotel. Click here for the details.
Let me start with the key attraction for holiday villa hotel which was completed very recently in 2016 with 345 guestrooms; the swimming pool which doesn't look like much from the above photo.
It's an infinity pool on level 25 of the hotel! View, as expected, was stunning and i would have gladly taken a dip if i haven't forgotten to throw my swimming trunks into the bag!
Those who are scared that they might just fall over the edge could still dip in the shallow pool by the side. Prefer to gym instead? There's the gymnasium just further down.
I was supposed to use the gym for a short workout but i figured i should just give my muscles a rest on my birthday. Birthdays should be spent filling up the tummy with good food!
On the top floor of the hotel are the Pantheon Lounge Bar and a karaoke lounge. We actually wanted to go in to play some darts although we eventually gave up the idea when we saw that the machines were located just next to the live band; figured it would not be too nice if competitive us made too much noise during our game.
Business centre on the ground floor - aside from checking your business email (if you still haven't invested in a good tablet / laptop), you may also print out documents at a cost of RM 4 per page for A4 colour or RM 2 per page for A4 black and white.
Massage lovers; get ready to rejoice as there's a Thai Odyssey within the hotel and for hotel guests, there's a discount of 10%! It's a fact that pricing is steep at Thai Odyssey although for the quality (it's ranked number 1 in traditional Thai massage in Malaysia) is definitely worth the price.
Okay, not exactly an amenity since this was taken at the lift lobby on the 18th floor where my room was; two sofa chairs with a nice view at the back. If mom was with me, she would definitely ask me to take a picture for her.
Mentioned in the subject of this post was the closeness of Holiday Villa to KSL Mall and Resort and i guess you can roughly gauge from the above post the distance between the two hotels.
A power shutdown was scheduled on the day i was going to check out and power would be down from 10am till 2pm. The problem is; i didn't know until the day i checked in and of course i requested for late checkout so that i can at least take a bath before i check out.
The lady on the line argued that there's nothing they can do with the power shutdown as it's mandated by the authority which i could empathise as the same thing happens at my workplace too. However, i would have stayed at another hotel if i am aware of this shutdown at the point of booking. To cut the story short, she relented and allow me to check out at 2 pm.
Power was still down at 1.15 pm and i am thankful that one of the lifts was still operational (can't imagine having to climb 18 floors)! The emergency lights in the room were switched on and they illuminated the bathroom sufficiently. Within the bedroom was fine as there's always the daylight from mother nature and there's still remnant air conditioning to cool down my body.
Last look of the view outside the room before we left the hotel for a massage session at City Square. p.s. Thai Odyssey Holiday Villa was closed due to the power shutdown.
260, Jalan Dato Sulaiman,
Taman Abad, Johor Bahru,
Johor, 80250, Malaysia,
Superior Room - S$87.92 from hotels.com
Close to KSL Mall and 11 Century Hotel.