It's been the most fattening weekend for myself, just back from a 3D2N stay at JB!
I know, I know. 3D2N IN JB?!
When I told my colleague, she was like - what're you gonna do there? Got so many things to do there meh?
Well, there really is! From stocking up on your necessities at their local Watsons / Guardian to exploring pretty cafes, the list is endless! But the real reason we're there - we wanted to stock up on our camping gears before heading to Sydney next month, and KSL has a super huge sports store called Sports Direct that has super affordable sports wear and camping gears!!!
We chose Holiday Villa Hotel (or Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre) which has just opened not long ago this year, and the location is perfect - just right next to KSL Shopping mall, with Holiday Plaza and yummy food nearby the hotel as well.
Btw if you happen to come on a Monday, there's a Pasar Malam going on along the entire stretch from KSL all the way to Grand Paragon Hotel.
How to go
We arrived on a Thursday night, took the CW2 bus from Bugis (Queen Street Bus Terminal - $3.30) right to Johor's customs and that only took around an hour. From there, we took a bus from JB Sentral (take the escalator down when you exit the customs) to the a bus stop nearby Holiday Villa.
About Holiday Villa
Checking in was a breeze. Considerably fast, staffs were friendly and nice. Since we were (kinda) hungry, we had some desserts at a Vietnamese coffee cafe - Doi Chaang just right next to the lobby. By the way, there's a few other restaurants including Chicken Up at Holiday Villa too!
Verdict: Skip the desserts, go straight for their signature coffee!
Here's a couple of photos I took of our room in the day, and during the night.
I thought it'd be perfect if they had a bathtub, but the bathroom was quite decent with basic toiletries and a built in rain shower head.
And I loved the fact that they have a window balcony seat.. And we can look out to the city.
Okay, I am extremely particular about breakfasts. It's complimentary (I booked it on Booking.com and it comes with free breakfast - yay!) and from what I read on Tripadvisor, it seems like the breakfast spread is pretty promising.
The dining space is huge, and I've to say that the staffs are really attentive and efficient!
I remembered the staffs at Hatten Hotel @ Malacca were so rude, slow and super not accommodating, but the staffs here at Holiday Villa were so nice and friendly! They ran out of pineapples during their breakfast buffet, and when requested for more, they didn't say no and went to the kitchen to cut fresh pineapples for us!
Prawn mee, nasi lemak, fried bee hoon with curry chicken, hash brown, eggs of your choice, salad, fruits and many more!
And we chose a seat just right at the window. Love the view!
Happy girl gets her pancakes! (But erm, don't take the pancakes coz it tastes like cardboard hahaha)
The main reason being why we booked this hotel was their infinity pool! I guess it's the one feature that sets them apart from all other hotels in JB - coz their infinity pool overlooks the entire city! Their gym is also the same level, which we didn't get to use because his priority - BREAKFAST. *rolls eyes* hahahaha.
The water was really cold.. Especially in the morning!
Anyway the 1.2m pool was really picturesque, we spend more time taking photos than swimming actually. Hahahaha.
We had the whole place to ourselves on a Friday morning, there was only 1 or 2 guests around the pool and it was just perfect! I can't imagine if it's super crowded. :(
The toilets have lockers for you to place your belongings and a hot pool to dip in as well, perfect after swimming!
WHAT TO DO
1. Cats Cafe (Cats At Their Sanctuary)My colleague recommended this place to me, she says their cats are really cute and it's super affordable! There's no entry fee and all they require is for you to order a drink / anything from the menu to play with the cats.
We used Uber, booked a car from our hotel to here, and it only costed us about RM10!
This was one trip that we learned, to save money since the taxi drivers on the road are always over-charging people.
It's like a heaven for kitties, and I'd be a happy cat if I get to stay here too! So many things for these cats to do. Some of the cats were wearing Halloween costumes too.. Awww~
You get to feed these kitties at just RM 1 for a packet of their dry food.
Sitting like a boss!
Some of them are really playful, hiding in cabinets and hogging the cashier counter and refusing to move! Hahaha.
We were playing with this baby kitty, she was so concentrated on the toy!!
Anyway, we were quite hungry by then and decided to order their main dishes to try. I've always been skeptical of ordering food in themed cafes like such, since food is not much of a priority in such places. We were wrong! The food was really good at the Cats Cafe :)
Tokyo Chicken Chop - drizzled with teriyaki sauce
This is the bomb. Super good, though a tad expensive (RM23.90) but their portion was quite generous :)
My darling ordered Chicken Curry with rice, and it was so nice as well!!
And of course, we couldn't resist desserts! Nutella Cheesecake and IT'S SUPER YUMMY!
And it's happy Pusheen and Bear together... :3
2. Lavender Bakery
Try their Hajuku Cheese Tarts. (RM6 for one)
Of course, it can't beat the cheese tarts back in Japan but this is really unique too. Filled with generous amount of egg cheese custard, I promise you - it's worth the calories!
3. Century Claypot Chicken Rice
We were walking along Jalan Serigala just right outside KSL, famished and tired when we stumbled upon this Claypot rice restaurant. Seems pretty legit, since they've been featured on newspapers so we decided to give it a try!
We ordered this minced pork tofu and a veggie to go along with.....
And their famous Claypot rice!
Omg. It was so good.
I'm not sure if we were just hungry but we finished within 10 mins coz it's really good. Especially the tofu!!!
The next thing I'm going back again - It'll be straight for this claypot rice.
4. Get your massage and hair cut at Holiday PlazaSo many hair and beauty salons at KSL mall and Holiday Plaza, but honestly I find the prices at Holiday Plaza a lot more affordable!
We did our 90 mins thai massage at Thong Thai only RM90 per pax, and their skills are imo, better than Thai Odyssey's. So many spots they pressed - super shiok . After the massage, we felt so much better and a lot more energetic as well! So good that we heard other customers screaming. In a good way, hahaha. Their masseurs are mostly Thais too!
After that, we went to a hair salon located at the corner of the same level as Thong Thai. Bear had his hair cut at only RM30, I got my hair treatment at only RM150. Their service is really good too and we were super satisfied :)
5. Eat their local delicacies (also at Holiday Plaza!)
I used to hate assam laksa so much when i was younger, but all that has changed now. Super love it so much I don't mind having several bowls per day and the best Assam Laksa is at the basement of KSL City Mall - D'Laksa.
We also had our lunch at the basement of Holiday Plaza, a quiet little eatery that serves local cuisines at super affordable price. Forgot the name, but they've got Sarawak Kolo Mee, Wanton Mee, Assam Laksa and many more as well and it's really good! Their Avocado Milkshake with Gula Melaka is literally the bomb. Hahaha.
6. Visit a pretty cafeAmong all the cafes in JB, our favourite cafe has got to be Flowers In The Window Café!
There's free WIFI in the cafe as well. We spend the evening watching Westwood while enjoying the cakes :)
We explored JB mostly via Uber and Grab, and that really saved us ALOT of money. It'd have easily cost us RM30-RM40 from Bukit Indah to KSL (as quoted by taxi drivers since they don't turn on their meter after 6pm) but with Uber/Grab, it only costed us less than RM20! So long as you have Wifi, just request for one! :)
I can't wait to explore more of JB - heard they've got farm stays and nice places to trek as well.