Review: Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel, Malaysia

With more shopping malls emerging in Johor Bahru, such as Toppen, Paradigm Mall, Mid Valley Southkey and R&F Mall, JB is becoming increasingly attractive as a destination for a weekend retreat for its southern neighbour. The Renaissance JB is the only property under the Marriott family in JB, and one of two properties in wider Johor, the other being the seaside Westin Desaru Coast Resort in Bandar Penawar.

The hotel itself is located about 20 minutes from the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex by car. A great transport option to the hotel as well as to the surrounding malls is Grab, which is easy, convenient and economical. There are a total of 325 rooms and 20 suites across 17 floors at this 5-star property, which, built in 2013, became fully non-smoking effective January 2018. A number of room types are available, including Deluxe, Bayview, Pool Terrace, Club Room, Executive Suite and the 5,000 Ringgit per night Presidential Suite.

Lobby of the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite guests and higher may opt for either 1,000 points or a Food & Beverage amenity upon check-in; the latter option included a choice of drinks (pair of beer, wine, etc.) and snacks delivered to the room. I stayed at a Club Room, which was 34sqm and equivalent to a Deluxe Room but was located at Club level and featured Club Lounge access.

Club Room

View of the bathroom

The views from the room may vary because the hotel building is V-shaped, with rooms on both sides of the corridor. I was able to see the immediate precinct and river from where I stayed.

A gloomy afternoon

A cocktail hour was available at the club lounge, during which alcoholic drinks and finger food were served. Towards the closing of the cocktail hour was a great time to observe the sunset, and perhaps a good plan would be to head out for some street food thereafter, which is within walking distance from the hotel.

Red wine at the Club Lounge

Room service is available throughout the day and night, although the menu selection was more limited during the late night, but is typical of most hotels. I decided to order a steak, which was delivered in about 45 minutes. It was definitely sufficient to fulfill a late night craving, but it probably excelled more from a visual standpoint than from a taste perspective.

Steak with potatoes, asparagus and gravy

On the topic of dining, breakfast was at Cafe BLD (stands for breakfast, lunch, dinner) adjacent to the lobby, where a large buffet selection was available. It is available for 60 Ringgit, if not already included in the room rate or as part of elite benefits. Wan Li Chinese Restaurant is also available for lunch and dinner, and a Cantonese dim sum (bite sized dishes often served in steamer baskets) buffet is offered daily from 11.30pm to 3pm.

A great breakfast spread at Cafe BLD

While not within walking distance of any shopping mall, the hotel is still among the top options for a weekend retreat in JB, given how convenient it is to commute via Grab. The cocktail hour at the lounge and the breakfast spread at Cafe BLD are the major plus points for me at this property.

Renaissance Johor Bahru is located at No. 2, Jalan Permas 11, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, 81750 Johor Bahru, Malaysia.


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