So there it was, the moment we stepped right up to the reception counter, catching us totally by surprise – “Mr. Sim, here’s a cookie for you to enjoy” said the receptionist sweetly before she processed our check-in…and the cookie was warm and it tasted good. We’re impressed!
Welcome to the Double-Tree Hilton, Johor Bahru. It’s been awhile since we stepped into a Hilton hotel – the last time was 17 years ago for our wedding banquet in Hilton, Singapore! So imagine our pleasant surprise when we were greeted each by a warm chocolate chip cookie – a trademark promise of the level of hospitality we would receive during our stay and we were not disappointed at all. But first, I have had to deal with some ‘bias-ness’ on my part.
Firstly, I have to admit, I had not expected a hotel of this stature to be located so near the Woodlands Causeway. One would expect to find a international 5-star hotel in big commercial cities like KL and Singapore but JB? And virtually right next to the Johor Bahru Customs?
Next. We were here just for a one-night’s stay to experience the very first Angry Birds Activity Park in Asia. So, I had expected the experience to be quite ‘functional’ but the staff at DoubleTree by Hilton, JB proved me wrong. I must say that this is one of the very few hotels in JB (or for that matter, Malaysia) that could make us feel so warm and welcomed despite our short stay.
So, for this post, I’m not going to start with the rooms and amenities – this is after all an international 5-star hotel. But I’m going to start with the people who made the difference.
Right from the receptionist to the bell-hop to the concierge. Every encounter was met with warm and obliging smiles. They are never rushed (yes, we guests can feel it you know!) and are always patient to stop, listen and offer solutions. Especially since the rooms are spanking new and modern, we had to trouble the staff to come help us tweak the air-con control so that the temperature would not too cold for Buddy. Not only did the same technician come twice – the last was about 10pm, he even presented us with a drink redemption coupon as an apology for not getting the AC issue fixed during his earlier visit – which was not exactly his fault as I didn’t understand his instructions. After the 10pm service call, he left with a kind nod and smile.
The same personable hospitality was extended to us at the Executive Club Lounge where we had access to and the awesome Makan Kitchen – the hotel’s main restaurant.
Click here for a Virtual Tour:
The Makan Kitchen
This is a large restaurant that serves primarily local Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine. This spacious restaurant has dedicated sections for the cuisines of the 3 major races in Malaysia and the servings were generous, the varieties diverse. We’ve never seen anything like this even for Singapore hotels. Right in the large middle section are stations for desserts and an international selection of sashimi, fresh-shucked oysters (wow!) ,a large variety of salads and appetizers. We were seriously spoilt for choice.
Despite its size and the crowd, the staff were very attentive. Never missing a beat in their service even though we were travelling with a young child and a toddler. Amazing.
Click here for a Virtual Tour of the Makan Kitchen:
Our room was the King One Bedroom Suite with connecting Double Double Room. It’s one of the largest suites we’ve ever stayed in. Comprising of a master-bedroom, a big living room and an adjoining children’s room adorned with Angry Birds bed-sheets and pillow covers – enough to excite the kids and make them anticipate the visit to the Angry Bird Activity Park even more. We were sold the minute we stepped into our suite.
The rooms were very comfortable, furnished with modern amenities. Our suite had a commanding view of the city’s skyline even and the pillow menu on the bed ensures that we are pampered down to the last detail. We appreciated that both rooms had their own bathrooms facilities, giving parents the much needed privacy to rest especially when travelling with kids. The bathroom attached to our master-bedroom was huge, complete with a large bathtub and shower area. Water pressure was very good – these are the few small but important details that Hilton took pains to look into to ensure their guests’ needs are well-looked after while on vacation.
The Executive Lounge
Our suite room comes with access to the hotel’s Executive Lounge. The modest lounge is lined with plush and comfortable furnishings and offers that exclusivity for those who need it, perhaps for some time alone or that quiet intimate conversation.
The afternoon tea and the evening cocktail sessions were a draw complete with freshly prepared canapes and alcoholic drinks (evenings only). There is also a small selection of breakfast dishes in the lounge for those who want to start the day far from the throng of breakfast goers in the main restaurant.
The hotel boasts of a world-class gym and a spacious poolside that is complete with 1 big children’s pool and a large adult pool. All these perched high above the skyline, offering that much needed escape from the bustling city below.
However if you wish to take advantage of the strong Singapore dollars to do some shopping, the hotel is just a stone’s throw from City Square Mall and Komtar JBCC Mall, both very popular destinations for shopping and dining. The hotel can arrange for shuttle service to these malls for a fee. But it’s easier (and faster) to walk there if you’re able to.
Within JBCC Mall is Asia’s one and only Angry Birds’ Activity Park. The park offers hours of recreational fun for the kids of all ages (yes, including Moms and Dads too). Read our blog post about Angry Birds’ Activity Park.
Our stay at the Double-Tree by Hilton, JB was a super short but enjoyable one. We knew we were in for a great holiday…starting with that thoughtful gesture of a fresh warm cookie. We’re so looking forward to return!
The Angry Bird Activity Park, Johor Bahru
One of the highlights of staying here was the visit to the Angry Bird Activity Park (which is just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, inside the Komtar JBCC Mall). Read how much fun our kids had there in this post.
DoubleTree by Hilton (Johor Bahru)
No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, Johor Bahru, 80000, Malaysia
Thanks to our sponsor, we are giving away a 2D1N Angry Bird Staycation Package worth SGD350 to 1 loyal reader. This package includes: 2 entry tickets to Angry Birds Activity Park JB, Accommodation in a DoubleTree Guest Room and Buffet Breakfast for 2 Adults & up to 2 Children at Makan Kitchen. To participate, simply do the following:
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