October 4, 2015
30 minutes from the Senai International Airport, Renaissance Johor Bahru is a 5-star hotel in the area standing tall amongst the old shophouses and many coffeeshops. Located in Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, the hotel definitely catches your attention with it’s distinctive building that can be spotted afar.
Renaissance Johor Bahru is a lifestyle brand within the Marriott International flagship and is the seventh Marriott International hotel to open in Malaysia.
Renaissance Hotels also launched it’s first global advertising campaign, Live Life to Discover, inspiring guests to discover new things while they are on the go.
Step into the lobby as superb service-oriented staffs welcome you with a warm smile. Plentiful comfortable seats are available all over for you to relax in as your check-in is being processed. One applaudable gesture I noticed from the staff is that they are constantly on the lookout for any suspicious characters that might compromise the safety of other guests.
Another reassuring gesture is that the staff will always smile and actually ask if they could be of any assistance to you once eye contact is made. To me, this is just great hospitality.
Renaissance hotel Johor Bahru has 345 rooms in total, non-smoking floors/rooms are also available upon request. Each room comes complete with high-speed internet, which we all probably deem as most important in this age of tech.
The Junior Suite is an ideal one if you are planning to do a vacation/staycation with a group of friends or even family. The living room is able to accommodate about 8 guests seated and a couple of them standing. They can keep themselves entertained on the 42-inch television both in the living area and in the bedroom.
With two separate washrooms, you wouldn’t face the problem of your guests having to wait for one. In the bedroom, there is a spacious bathroom area featuring a bathtub overseeing the surroundings of the hotel, a shower room, basins as well as a walk-in wardrobe.
Renaissance Johor Bahru’s Deluxe Room is definitely the one room to book if it’s a romantic getaway with your partner or just a solo stay. It’s comfortably snug with natural-lighting filling the room for a warm ambience. It also comes armed with a work desk if the need to work arises while on vacation.
The toilet and shower area is clean and soothing enough to go about your daily routines at ease.
In Renaissance Johor Bahru, there are also 12 function rooms and ballrooms to fulfill all your hosting or celebration needs.
As for meeting venue, Renaissance Johor Bahru boast more than 2,400 square metres of on-site meeting space to cater to all your business’s needs. Be it a formal meeting, or a casual discussion, this is it.
Sauna is readily available, located in the respective gender restrooms.
The outdoor swimming pool is where you can come take a dip, chase those stress away, and then do a good suntan session after the swim. Also comes equipped with a jacuzzi and cabanas scattered all around.
Been wanting to keep fit or always have to keep fit even during your hotel stay? Fret not, Renaissance Fitness Corner is here to save the day. As they say, “Sweat Is the New Sexy”, you are bound to not only keep fit, but also get lean and healthy.
Constituting the latest range of equipment, the gym can facilitate: walking, lifting, cycling and jogging. Best part of all? 24/7 open.
All that’s missing is from this great hotel experience so far, is food right? But before all that, let’s get up close and personal with the new head honcho chef behind the scene.
Meet Renaissance Johor Bahru’s Executive Chef Mahady Abdullah.
Born Malaysian, being a chef was never in his aspiration. Chef Mahady studied law back in the day, but he paused his studies to work part-time while earning some cash in order to continue the expensive demands of law. Having worked in the F&B scene as a kitchen assistant, that was where the spark started.
He further developed his interest in this area and decided to grow on it, getting an incredible offer on a cruise ship’s kitchen thereafter and thus beginning his F&B journey to where he is today.
Chef Mahady made changes to the continental menu in Renaissance JB, as well as the room service menu. He emphasizes on cooking smart, which also lies along Renaissance’s philosophy. Unlike many other establishments who place too much emphasis on the presentation of the food and ended up overdoing and destroying it with redundant ingredients, chef applies just the right amount of effort to retain the origins of his dishes but while adding a little local twist.
Wan Li Restaurant, with a primary focus on contemporary Cantonese cuisine, places a great emphasis on preserving the natural flavour of the food that is served to you. It is undoubtedly an ideal dining venue for fresh and succulent seafood dishes.
Fried Rice with Dried Scallop, Crabmeat & Egg White
The rice dish’s portion was small but just right for me, considering that you want to have space in your tummy for other food and not just be filled with carbs. Good combination of the saltiness from dried scallop and the blandness of crabmeat and smooth silky egg white bits.
Wan Li Signature Prawns in Three Varieties; Signature Durian, Mango Wasabi, Salt & Pepper (From left to right and with respective to the picture)
The salt & pepper flavour was the one for me because usually I don’t fancy weird combination with prawns. Biting into the mango and wasabi one caught me pleasantly off guard with the sweetness of the mango cutting through the choking wasabi. However I didn’t feel the durian prawn was as impressive with a flavour combination that’s hard to reconcile with.
Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic & Onion Crisps
Good ratio of skin-fat-meat. I like how the crispiness and roasted flavour of the skin cuts through the layers of fat and meat so perfectly. Take a mouthful of water and you are ready for another portion of this mouthwatering dish.
Wan Li Classic Three Combination Platter; Crispy Scallops
This is my favourite dish in the combination platter. Always a lover of scallop, but this is one special dish as the garlic shreds on top of the scallop neutralises the oceanic-smell of scallop.
Wan Li Classic Three Combination Platter; Marinated Jelly Fish
Really chewy and to some, crunchy, this really does prep your appetite for more food. A tad too sour due to it’s sauce, but yet I was addicted to it piece after piece.
Wan Li Classic Three Combination Platter; Roasted Duck Rolls
This tasted very much like the popiah or rice rolls you will find in hawker centres or Vietnamese Restaurant respectively. Covered with sweet sauce, the dish was a light enjoyment. The freshness of the vegetable also compliments the meat taste, with the crunchiness as well.
Chef’s selection of Mid Autumn Mooncakes; Baked and Durian Snowskin
Nowadays people prefer snowskin mooncakes, but traditional mooncakes still stands strong with many. The cold, melt-in-your mouth snowskin mooncakes are so delicate and exquisite that you won’t stop at one bit, nor piece. The traditional ones have skin moist enough to prevent those stuck-in-your mouth moments as you sink your teeth into them.
Chilled Mango Puree & Pomelo
This is one of the thickest, mango purees I ever had for a Mango dessert. It’s not the kind that drips off your spoon easily, you can tell that there is a lot that goes into the making. Feels like having cream in your mouth- so light and smooth.
Renaissance JB’s Cafe BLD offers all day dining and a international spread for hotel guests. Be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you are bound to satisfy your hunger pangs or satisfaction here. They have a wide, I mean really wide variety and selection of dishes.
Local food fare, or international style food cuisines are done here with live cooking stations open visibly to guests, providing them with a unique and memorable dining experience.
Fun fact: The name BLD is derived from Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
On the 16th floor, Renaissance JB has the Club Lounge and for those with access, this is a must visit. Alternatively to having breakfast at Cafe BLD, you might also opt to have it here instead, or enjoy some light refreshments like fruits and juices. But do note that the menu is not as extensive as Cafe BLD. during breakfast of course.
As the sun sets later in the day, you can too head up for alcohol, as they have free-flow servings of beer, wine from 6pm to 10pm.
There is a separate wifi connection here at the lounge. If you can’t concentrate on your serious business/work in the hotel room, do what I did; bring your laptop, earphones and room card and head up here, I promise you the environment is more than conducive for focusing.
The club lounge also serves 3-tier high tea sets too. Indulge in it as you see the busy city pass by. Smoked salmon sandwich, ham and cheese croissant, chocolate cakes and scones are all part of the little selection here.
Looking for a decent place to chill over drinks? RBar here at Renaissance JB’s lobby offers affordable drinks and really great ambiance. There’s a pool table also if you want to pit your skills against your friends. Latest hits are played track after track to keep the atmosphere up.
All in all, Singaporeans love heading into Johor Bahru for a day trip for food hunting. But why not extend your stay by another 1 or 2 days and do a stay-over? Renaissance Johor Bahru, although on the other side at Permas Jaya, is about 15 minutes drive from City Square and cost about RM 20 on red taxis meter.
Renaissance Johor Bahru is of course, the top luxury accommodation on our list when visiting Malayia, Johor Bahru.
Expected Damage: Rooms start from RM 400 per night