The Doubletree by Hilton at Johor Bahru is a 10 minute walk from JB City Square, a popular place for many Singaporeans. I always wanted to visit the property again as I enjoyed the hospitality at Doubletree by Hilton JB, and also to check out the executive lounge and its offerings.
Before making the short commute over to JB, I was informed that I had been given a room upgrade to a Double Double Executive Room with Lounge Access as I was a Hilton Honours Gold member, and I could check-in as early as 1130am. I was largely impressed as check-in was normally at 3pm.
We arrived slightly before 1pm and check-in was smooth. We were given our warm cookies at the counter and we were given a room on the 30th floor, the highest of the building. I was excited to check out the layout of the room, as with my recent trip to Doubletree by Hilton Malacca, the room was huge (you can check out that review here).
However, I was rather disappointed to find out that the room was the same size as the one I had before on the 18th floor, which was different from the experience I had in the Malacca property. It has to be said though that Hilton does not ensure that room upgrades meant bigger rooms even for its elite members, so I guess it’s just one of those things.
The room was cosy and comfortable. A complimentary bowl of fruits was provided; a nice touch. Toiletry bottles by Crabtree and Evelyn and amenities were provided. A pillow menu was provided and I opted for the Contour foam pillow, which was firmer and suitable for better neck support.
We dropped our stuff down and headed for the executive lounge. It was on the 29th floor and it was open daily. To enter, you would have to qualify for one of the following:
— Be a Hilton Honours Diamond member
— Be a Hilton Honours Gold member and get a complimentary upgrade to a room with lounge access
— Book a room with lounge access
It is important to note that not all Hilton properties have an executive lounge. For example, my Doubletree by Hilton Melaka did not have an executive lounge (not to be confused with Axis Lounge). My guess is that lounges are present in financial cities, with larger crowds, though Hilton has no official policy on this. Also, there is a minimum dress code to enter the lounge. Attire would be no singlets and footwear must be covered shoes (no slippers). Shorts were allowed.
The lounge was rather huge and could house about 70 people. Snacks were served at the lounge, in the form of cookies, walnut tarts and marble cakes, with juices and fresh coffee/tea available for beverages.
I preferred the walnut tart as the tart itself was firm and held the pastry together well, while the marble cake was dry. I opted for the guava juice, which gave a refreshing aftertaste.
There is also a meeting room that executive lounge users could use for free. It was an ideal place to hold business meetings there as there was a projector and a television there. An iMac and printer was also available for complimentary usage should you need to print documents.
We retreated back to our room after the light tea break and following a short rest, we went back to the lounge for dinner. The place was bustling as dinner and cocktails were served. Dinner is from 6pm-8pm, and there was a wide spread of food, check them out below!
The lounge was rather crowded during dinner hours so I was glad that we reached earlier for a seat. I personally thought the options available were decent, and the staff present tended well to the needs of guests, replenishing food quickly. My favourites were the ham and cheese croissant and the pastries, the main dishes of noodles and chicken were fine which I found it a little dry.
I also learnt that the menu changed every day, which meant that on some days you would get a Western option in the form of burgers, or a Japanese option in the form of ramen/sushi.
After dinner, we decided to check out the buffet dinner on the 1st floor that one of Hilton JB’s restaurants, Makan Kitchen. It was having a meat buffet, called ‘It’s All About Meat’, starting at RM88++ per person. The meat choices were aplenty, with Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Western options available, and ALL the meat looked really succulent. I was full from the dinner from the lounge so I gave this a miss, but you see from the photos on why many people came!
We decided to hit the gym after our heavy dinner. The gym was on the 13th floor, open for 24 hours. The gym was spacious and had rather new equipment. The treadmill was also fitted with new technology where one could watch television while running, or even play games. Located on the same floor was a swimming pool (though not as impressive as the Doubletree by Hilton in Melaka) and a jacuzzi, you can check out photos of them I took during my previous visit.
It was a good idea coming to the gym, burning those calories we gained during dinner, so we could go again for our buffet breakfast tomorrow..
The next morning, we could have breakfast either at the Makan Kitchen which served a breakfast buffet, or at the executive lounge. We started at the Makan Kitchen, transformed to delicious breakfast options compared to the meat bonanza the night before. Prices for the buffet breakfast started at RM58++, or it would be inclusive with your room rate.
As you could tell, there was a sea of options, some not even included in the photos. For kids, there was cereal, pancakes, waffles and even ice cream (which I indulged in too). Personally, my favourites were the freshly made eggs section, the beef rendang (tender and fresh) and the Chinese dim sum. One must not miss out on the fantastic Teh Tarik too!
Reserving a little stomach room, we then went up to the lounge to check out the options. The variety was not as wide, but the environment was definitely more serene and one could enjoy a nice, peaceful breakfast.
It was soon time to checkout, and guests with access to the Executive lounge could also check out from there, allowing them to skip the queue at the hotel lobby.
I absolutely recommend visiting this beautiful property just across the Causeway. On off peak days, a double room would be around 100 SGD, or around 15,000 Hilton Points. The additional perks made the stay even sweeter, considering that we did not even have to pay for our meals. Looking forward to return!