SingaporeMotherhood | Family Fun

March 2024

Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre Review: Family Staycation + Ramadan Feast + Weekend Buffet Giveaway

Looking for another hotel for yet another family staycation? How about a quick trip across the Causeway? If you’re one of those who enjoys the dining and shopping in Johor Bahru (JB), then this one’s for you. As we recently discovered, Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre (JBCC) doesn’t just offer a lovely stay option. It’s also got a lot more going for it, not least the favourable exchange rate. Here’s what we found out on our little getaway last week.

P.S. Read on for your chance to win a weekend buffet feast for a family of four in our GIVEAWAY!

Getting to Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre

Firstly, Holiday Inn JBCC is situated in an extremely convenient spot, right next to the JB checkpoint. In fact, there’s a connecting bridge from the CIQ complex directly to the hotel. This explains why almost 90 per cent of its guests come from Singapore — mostly families with kids! For those who drive into JB frequently, you are probably already familiar with the area. Hotel guests enjoy complimentary parking, to boot.

Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre

Otherwise, you can take one of the cross-border bus services (Causeway Link, Grab Bus, SBS Transit, SMRT, etc). Alternatively, catch a cab from Queen Street taxi terminal or hire a car from licensed cross-border taxi services. If the infamous Causeway traffic is not your jam, try a 5-minute train ride instead!


Staying at Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre

The hub of the hotel is on Level 8. There you’ll find the high-ceilinged lobby, as well as a lobby lounge and all-day dining restaurant, Dine@EIGHT. Despite arriving well ahead of the usual 3pm check-in time, the process was such a breeze that we didn’t even have time to explore. We were soon on our way up to our Standard King room on the 24th floor.

Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre King Standard

For a lead-in room category, it is surprisingly well-appointed. There’s plenty of space for a sofa by the floor-to-ceiling window, as well as a round desk and chair that work equally well for dining or work. High-speed WiFi, multiple USB charging ports, and universal power outlets are evidence of the hotel’s youth — it opened in October 2020.

Bathroom at HIJBCC

The bathroom is also larger than expected, with a roomy shower that makes shower time for the little ones easy. It’s equipped with full-sized shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Those with larger families can request for adjoining rooms, which make staycations all the more fun. Although kids 12 years and under can stay for free when they bunk in with you. They dine for free too, but more on that later.

Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre rooftop pool

After settling in, we headed up to Level 32 to check out the rooftop swimming pool. There’s also a Jacuzzi at one end. But it was really the panoramic views of the city that stand out. We definitely recommend lounging on a deck chair or in a cabana at sunset while the kids splash around. On the same floor, the 24-hour fitness centre and yoga studio boast stunning views of the Johor Straits and the city too.


Convenient Connections

After surveying our surrounds from the rooftop, we decided to venture out to explore. Knowing that Komtar JBCC shopping mall shares the same multi-use complex as the hotel, we headed there first. There’s even a shortcut from Level 7 of the hotel — look for this green dude below! The same link bridge connecting to the CIQ complex also takes you over to the newer JB City Square mall next door. Between the two malls, there’s plenty of shopping and dining to be had.

Level 7 at HIJBCC

Also in the vicinity is the popular foodie enclave, Jalan Wong Ah Fook. It’s where those in the know go for heritage delights and hipster haunts alike. The famous old-school banana cake from Hiap Joo Bakery (established 1919) that draws perpetual queues is a must. It’s about a 12-minute walk from the hotel (or a 5-minute drive or Grab ride).

In the evenings, head to Meldrum Walk, barely a 5-minute stroll from the hotel. There, you’ll find authentic back-alley food stalls serving up oyster omelette and mutton soup. Of course, the makan scene in JB is pretty legendary, so these are just the tip of the food tourism iceberg.


Dining at Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre

Prata station at HIJBCC

Alternatively, stay in and settle your meals at Dine@EIGHT. It’s also where we enjoyed the buffet breakfasts during our stay, and the spread is huge. There are plenty of hot dishes, nasi lemak, roti canai (or prata, as we call it), a DIY noodle station, freshly made pancakes and waffles, pastries, and more. The live egg station serves up fluffy omelettes and scrambled eggs too.

Kids corner at HIJBCC

The huge restaurant is bright and cheery every morning, with natural light streaming in the floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s also a kids’ corner within the restaurant to keep the little ones busy while parents relax with a cup of teh tarik. And that’s not all. As we alluded to earlier, kids dine free at Holiday Inn JBCC. This means that any time you order from the main menu, your kids eat for free!

Starbucks at HIJBCC

By the way, Holiday Inn JBCC is also the first hotel in JB to have its very own in-house Starbucks! That’s right. Whether you feel like a cocktail, mocktail, or caffe latte, simply head to The Lobby Lounge for your fix. It’s also available via in-room dining 24 hours a day.


Semarak Rasa Buffet

During our stay, which Holiday Inn JBCC kindly hosted, we also had the chance to preview its upcoming Ramadan special. Among the over 200 dishes on offer, our favourites came from the live stations. Think grilled whole lamb and sambal stingray, tandoori chicken and garlic naan, and Penang-style nasi kandar dishes.

Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre Semarak Rasa Buffet

For dessert, we loved watching the chefs craft lempeng kelapa (coconut pancake, above), as well as roti jala with durian sauce, before savouring them. There’s also a colourful childrens’ section with kid-friendly treats from lasagne to chocolate pops.

The Semarak Rasa Buffet dinner runs from 13 March to 8 April, and costs RM182+ per adult, RM162+ per senior, and RM92+ per child. So if you’re planning a trip to JB soon, why not add this to your itinerary?



We’re giving away a Feastful Weekend Buffet experience for 2 adults and 2 children at Dine@EIGHT Restaurant, Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre! Worth RM264, it’s valid on Saturdays and Sundays (12 noon – 3pm) from 13 April to 13 October 2024. Here’s how to win:

Closing date: 12 noon on Friday, 15 March 2024. Terms and conditions apply.

Featured image: Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre

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Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre Review: Family Staycation + Ramadan Feast + Weekend Buffet Giveaway