Review: DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru (1-Bedroom Deluxe Suite)

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Nightly rate: MYR 201 nett (S$69)
Nightly rate after Citi Prestige 4NF rebate: MYR 152 nett (S$54)
Length of stay: 4 nights
Membership level: Diamond

I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve booked a stay in this hotel and eventually cancelled because of travel changes. The most recent one was cancelled because of Malaysia’s border closure in March. So glad to finally stay here on my recent business trip and I finally get why Hilton Honors members in Singapore love it!

Arrival

I was pre-upgraded to a 1-Bedroom Suite as a Diamond member but asked if they could put me into the 1-Bedroom Deluxe Suite instead. And they did!

Drop-off area
Lobby
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The room

I was assigned room 2812, just 2 below the highest floor. The first thing that I noticed was the panoramic unblocked view. Pretty spectacular, considering how much I actually paid for this stay.

I also realised that this Deluxe suite is more of an apartment than the normal 1-bedroom suite and was surprised to see a sink, a full-sized fridge and even a 2-in-1 washer and dryer! While there is a microwave and basic kitchen utensils, there isn’t a kitchenette in this Deluxe suite.

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Living room
TV and kitchen area
View from living room
Utensils and meal preparation area
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Welcome amenity
Bedroom
View of the sunset (and Singapore) from the bedroom

View of the sunset (and Singapore) from the bedroom

Doors to the bathroom and wardrobe (connected inside)

Doors to the bathroom and wardrobe (connected inside)

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Bathroom and wardrobe area

Bathroom and wardrobe area

Toilet area

Toilet area

Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries

Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries

Washer and dryer

Washer and dryer

I always make it a point to study the floor plans of the hotels that I stay in to understand suite allocations and rooms with the best views. Because of the shape of the rooms, I can now confirm that 2812 and 2814 (both Deluxe suites) have the best views in this hotel. From my understanding, the normal suites are only located at both corners of the building. Those on the west corner (xx21 range) seem to offer better views while those on the east corner (xx05 range) are currently blocked by an ugly building under construction. The xx05 suites have a view of Singapore, if that’s what you’re into.

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Floor plan of level 28

xx05 suites

xx05 suites

Breakfast

Breakfast is complimentary for Gold and Diamond members and is served at Makan Kitchen from 6am – 1030am. Because of the pandemic, breakfast is served as an a la carte buffet instead of self-service open buffet. The restaurant is split into 4 areas, Malay food, Indian food, Chinese food and pastries/juices/desserts. Food quality is good and I recommend anyone getting a roti prata to request for one to be freshly made (huge difference!).

Chinese food area

Chinese food area

Seating near the Chinese food area

Seating near the Chinese food area

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Malay and Indian food area

Malay and Indian food area

Egg station

Egg station

Noodle station

Noodle station

Pastries/juices/desserts area

Pastries/juices/desserts area

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Additional seating area

Additional seating area

Executive lounge

DoubleTrees are not required to have an Executive lounge and it is always awesome when hotels overdeliver with member benefits. I even hear that Gold members are sometimes given access to this lounge. Unfortunately, it was closed when I was there because of the pandemic. However, unlike other hotels, the hotel offers cocktail service at Axis Lounge (at the lobby) from 6pm – 8pm. Food here was also served as an a la carte buffet.

Axis lounge
Cocktail bites

Gym and pool

The pool is huge but is mostly surrounded by buildings. While I was there, reservation was not required to use the pool or gym.

Swimming pool
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Pool chairs
Gym
Weights area
View from the gym
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Italian restaurant near the gym

Ratings

Breakfast: Scaled down because of the pandemic
Service: 9/10
Location: 7/10
Room: 9/10
Facilities: 8/10
Executive lounge: Closed because of the pandemic
Elite member recognition: 10/10
Value: 10/10

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Bottom line

I get the obsession. This hotel offers fantastic value for Gold and Diamond members. Unlike The Ritz-Carlton KL, this hotel should be rebranded up to a Hilton. Even so, I’ve been to plenty of Hiltons in Europe and USA that are worse than this hotel! Would definitely return if I am spending a night in Johor Bahru.

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