By Jeremy Khalil on September 14, 2018
Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru, a lifestyle brand within the Marriott International stable, has been opened since May 2013, marking Marriott International’s seventh property in Malaysia. The hotel, which is located in Peninsular Malaysia’s southern gateway city, has been enjoying rave reviews ever since, especially when it comes to its culinary offerings.
Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru is a 345-room five-star property positioned in the township of Permas Jaya, close to the city centre of Johor Bahru and a short drive from the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) leading directly to the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex towards Singapore, including the North South Highway that leads to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. Businessmen and industrialists also love the hotel for its proximity to the port and industrial area of Pasir Gudang, while vacationing families will find its proximity to popular tourist attractions such as LEGOLAND®, Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and Johor Premium Outlets convenient.
Upon stepping into the hotel, we noticed that Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru’s interiors employ relaxing and soothing earthen colour scheme, with a design that is tasteful, refined and uncluttered. By looking at the hotel’s ground level that contains the lobby leading all the way to the R-Bar, Café BLD and the Chocolate Cake Company, it seems that analysis had been done on the traffic flow, which takes guests’ mobility into account. This is crucial since the mentioned food and beverage outlets are among Johor Bahru’s hotspots when it comes to scrumptious comestibles, hence attracting large crowds during mealtimes.
For meetings and business-related services, the hotel has 11 function rooms on Level 2, including a relaxing place called the Living Room where guests are invited to lounge and take a respite after meetings or seminars. There is also the Business Centre located in a corner, making the experience of conducting meetings and conferences within the confines of the hotel friendlier.
According to former Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru General Manager, Mark Cosyns, the property is developed around the expectations of Gen Y, besides meeting the needs of the more established Gen X and Baby Boomers. As such, Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru appeals to the up-and-coming generation by offering a stay experience that is less formal, more laidback, homely, more personalised and strongly connected online. We love the fact that there is strong Wi-Fi connectivity made available throughout the hotel, including the rooms.
Speaking of rooms, Gaya Travel team adores their smart yet cosy look. All of them are equipped with the latest and expected conveniences such as the 42-inch liquid crystal display satellite television, high-speed internet, safety deposit box, and coffee- and tea-maker. We also noticed that all plug points in the rooms are built-in adaptors, thus travellers do not need to request for international adaptors should they forgot to bring theirs when staying here. Freshening up is a wonderful experience as the spotless en-suite bathrooms come with refreshing Tokyo Milk toiletries, developed by internationally renowned perfumer and designer Margot Elena. All in all, the rooms in this hotel strongly appeal to any guest who travels either on business (due to its high functionality and efficiency) or leisure (due to its welcoming and homely panache). The hotel also offers 24-hour in-room dining with an extensive menu.
Those who prefer more space and want to be treated extra special are recommended to stay at The Club Rooms or Suites, which are all housed on levels 16 and 17. Guests staying on those floors are permitted to access the suavely designed Club Lounge, which comes with intimate nooks and lounge furniture for meetings and small discussions, even relaxation, located on Level 16.
However, for a more unique experience, Gaya Travel strongly recommends that guests stay in any of Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru’s eight Pool Terrace rooms situated on the sixth floor, which come with the expected amenities and receive plenty of natural light. These rooms have the view of and quick access to the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool, courtyard and well-equipped fitness centre, all located on the same level, making them a boon to health and fitness enthusiasts. By the way, the fitness centre is accessible 24 hours (another plus point, no doubt), thus guests who stay in these rooms will be more motivated not to skip their workouts.
Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru’s strength lies in its food and beverage offerings. As a start, guests should make way to the hotel’s very own pastry shop: The Chocolate Cake Company. The outlet features the hotel’s own freshly baked cakes, bread and delightful pastries. A delicacy that guests must try is the outlet’s red velvet cake, including cheesecakes and macaroons. Once tasting the pastries, they can simply head to the sophisticated R-Bar, which offers exclusive RLife LIVE entertainment for them to unwind in a cool atmosphere. RLife LIVE is an industry-leading entertainment platform showcasing music, arts and more by Renaissance Hotels around the world.
One outlet that is popular not just among guests but also with Johor Bahru’s own food loving crowd is Cafe BLD. The outlet serves an enticing array of lip-smacking local and international fare, making it one of the popular dining spots in Johor Bahru. As a matter of fact, Café BLD tends to be full for the most parts of Ramadhan (Muslim fasting month) during iftar or buka puasa (breaking of fast) because the outlet offers remarkable street food, including Japanese and western fare, further made interesting by the fact that patrons can clearly witness the cooks’ actions when preparing the dishes at the open and transparent kitchens located directly behind the counters where the dishes are laid. Cafe BLD is open daily from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.
Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru is also well known for its Muslim-friendly Chinese restaurant called Wan Li. Served by an experienced and well-trained team, Wan Li’s innovative menu is a modern take on the traditional Chinese cuisine to suit varying taste buds, especially the Muslims’, yet retains wonderful flavours such as the delectable wasabi prawns with fresh mango, which is the outlet’s speciality and must-try. Another recommended dish would be the roasted crispy mango Peking duck, which proves to be a hit among Wan Li’s Chinese clientele for its memorably succulent and sweet taste.
Despite the facilities and comforts available within the hotel, Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru still encourages them to explore Johor Bahru through the hotel’s own innovative programme called the ‘Navigator’, comprising individuals who really understand the city and able to provide advice to guests on what to see and do. This is in line with Renaissance Hotels’ first ever global advertising campaign that was launched last year – using the motto ‘Live Life to Discover’ – which inspires guests to discover something distinctly new whenever they travel for business or leisure.
With such wholesome stay experience that encompasses the hotel’s elegant ambience, smart rooms, fabulous dining options, efficient service and expert advice on what to experience in Johor Bahru, it is not hard to see why Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru quickly becomes one of the hotels of choice among discerning travellers when being in Peninsular Malaysia’s southern gateway city, even though it has only been opened for over a year and a half. We suspect that the hotel’s motto, ‘Live Life to Discover’, must have something to do with the hotel’s success since it drives the hotel’s staff to constantly engage and enrich its guests. We suppose that it travellers would never go wrong whenever they decide to stay at the Renaissance Hotel Johor Bahru.