Hallmark Regency Hotel, Johor Bahru


Searching and booking for hotels gives me great pains, as I have said before in my previous blog. And it gave me twice the pain searching for a nice hotel in a city not so desirable by many. There are a lot of hotels to choose from in the city of Johor Bahru Malaysia, but then again it should meet my standards which is comfort and security above value for money. I always consider Tripadvisor as one of the most useful sites when it comes to finding a hotel by reading the reviews contributed by most travellers. 

Among the hotels which has received a lot of feedbacks including the negative ones is Hallmark Regency Hotel. I actually booked the hotel almost a week before our scheduled departure. The positive comments about the hotel complements with my standards, and the negative ones made me think about it a hundred times. But God is always a great provider and adviser. 

I chose the hotel inspite of the disturbing comments and it was timing that when I booked it, the rooms are on sale as advised by Asiatravel (yes, its a legit site and I used to book some of our travels directly at the website). Thanks to my ever reliable travel manager for the assistance! We booked it for P3800 pesos for two nights, not bad!

The facade of the hotel looks tired and ordinary. I was not expecting much about it given the price and I don't even believe in pictures because sometimes it lies especially on websites. So when we checked in at Hallmark Hotel I was pretty surprised espying how nice it was from the lobby until we have our room. I love the drop lights that compliments with the red couches around the lobby, it gives a warm feeling to guests. Again, I was not expecting that for a budget hotel.

Upon checking in we were required to give RM20 as deposit. We arrived around past 10pm and we just headed to our room and came out the following day. The lifts (elevators) are quite small, we are four including two kids plus two luggage and we fit in just right.

Our room which was a Twin Deluxe with two single beds is spacious. One thing that I hate is, it doesn't have any windows. But they got nice fully carpeted floors and the single beds are bigger than the usual, I actually thought it was a double bed. The quality of noise from the neighboring rooms is just average. For me, its tolerable as long as I can sleep.

As usual, we got complimentary coffee and Chinese tea, but NOT the water. The refrigerator is not working. And we got a dysfunctional electric kettle which has been replaced immediately after reporting it to the front desk. They got clean bathrooms and multifunctional showers which entertained my daughter because it has dancing lights when we turned it on. The bathroom fixtures are quite old and leaky. The sink has a slow drainage and a strong smell of moth balls adheres to the whole area especially below the sink. Then I saw the mothballs in a corner. But then for me, its tolerable, as long as I can wash my face, brush my teeth and I can have a warm bath then it's more than okay!

Our accommodation includes breakfast. And every morning we need to approach the front desk for our breakfast coupons. They serve buffet breakfast to guests inside Hallmark Restaurant and Cafe at the second floor overlooking the lobby covered by glass panes. Restaurant staffs are poor in English so please bear with them.

The cafe is just okay and they are strict when it comes to the number of persons who's included in the package. My kids didn't eat breakfast there because they doesn't like the food too. I was expecting some plain rice and eggs, but then for two days we got chicken curry, sausages, fried rice and other local Malaysian and Asian food. Good thing they got Chinese buns and dumplings and choices of fresh fruits, I only like the fruits. They had small glasses for beverages. Food taste is a major let down. I'd rather have chicken and fries at KFC.

There's just one thing nice about this hotel, the water dispenser they had near the lift. Complimentary bottled waters inside the room are not available but they have hot and cold water for free. So we get water from there and refill our bottles every morning and at night. Its quite a savings, because we don't need to buy water from time to time.

The location is highly favorable, just a 5 minutes walk to Pelangi Plaza - a shopping mall with a number of food and beverage choices. Transportation is not a problem too, because upon checking out we just walked straight to the right and there are red taxis passing by. We ride the taxi from there going straight to the airport for RM50, the meter starts at RM3. 

To end it up, it was nice staying in this hotel. There's nothing special or noteworthy but they got efficient staffs, comfortable rooms, good location, and most of all its affordable!

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