If Kuala Lumpur is the hub of Malaysia’s central region, then Johor Bahru is the star city of the south. It is known as a weekend retreat for many Singaporeans – with cheaper food, cheaper clothing, and cheaper everything (blame it on our weak currency!). The place is also home to attractions like Legoland, Angry Birds Theme Park and the Hello Kitty theme park.
I’ve never been to JB, having only gone to Kluang and Muar. So when H & I were invited for a stay at the newly opened Amerin Hotel JB, we jumped at the chance. We booked a bus ticket and set off from the Bandar Tasik Selatan terminal. Ride took four hours, give or take. Arriving at Larkin Bus Terminal, we took a taxi to Taman Perling, where the hotel is. It’s hard to miss, since it’s a housing/suburban area and the building is the tallest one around.
The place opened its doors in May this year, so everything, from the carpets and furniture, looked brand spanking new. We were greeted by the smell of freshly roasted coffee – courtesy of the Gloria Jeans cafe next to the lobby.
Our room had two single beds and was simple but clean. The hotel has four themes, so different floors have different colors. Ours was blue: blue carpet, deep blue curtains, matched with pink frosted glass at the shower area. They also provided tea making facilities, a safe, toiletries and a big flat screen TV with lots of channels.
It was high noon and we were starving, so we walked across the road to Perling Mall. It’s an old, neighbourhood-style mall with a few shops, a hypermarket, a very small cinema that only played three movies (two of which were Tamil films) and some eateries. We got some hot mushroom soup from Secret Recipe…
Then stopped by at Marrybrown’s for some fried chicken.
I think I mentioned before that I love Marrybrown, a Malaysian fast food chain. There aren’t many outlets in KL, so I was really happy to find a branch here. The skin was crispy, crunchy and salty, while the insides were cooked to tender perfection. You know how fast food commercials usually have smoke rising from the meat? That’s how it is with the chicken at Marrybrown, haha! I also like how they have mushroom gravy with it. The fries are thin cut and way crispier than the McD variety.
Headed back to the hotel and checked out the pool on the top floor, which offers a birds’ eye view of the city. There are a couple of lounge chairs for visitors to relax on, as well as a mini bar which opens at night. A couple of steps away is the spa where you can get a manicure/pedicure.
Dinner time! The restaurant’s outdoor patio is lined with soft, pouffe-y sofas that are really cosy.
Sunset. Great for a romantic meal with your significant other.
We were greatly honored as the hotel’s head chef, an affable young man by the name of Chef Brandon, prepared our meals personally. Talk about VIP treatment! Appetiser was a deep-fried croquette egg with tangy mayo dip, topped with salmon roe and baby bean sprouts. The egg had a perfectly crisp, golden outer shell, whilst still maintaining a lovely, gooey centre.
Poached butter fish. Fish is quite hard to pull off in my opinion, since it’s all about perfect timing to get that soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture. What can I say, this dish nails it. The brown sauce and the bed of mashed potato complemented the fish really well, and the diced tomatoes gave it a refreshing tang. 10/10.
Dessert was a soft chocolate mousse cake with fresh fruits. Pastries are not prepared in-house, but the quality was decent. A little on the sweet side, so if you like that then this’ll be your cup of tea (or cake).
It was quite late by the time we were done with dinner, so we couldn’t go very far from the hotel. Went to get a massage at Perling Mall again, and then back for a good night’s sleep.
I enjoyed my stay at the hotel. It’s clean, comfy and has facilities like a gym, swimming pool and restaurant. Although it’s not located in the city centre itself, getting anywhere by taxi should be a breeze. It’s also just across the road from this bus stop where you can catch a bus directly into Singapore.
More info (room rates, facilities, etc) here: http://amerinhotel.com.my/
The next day, we caught a bus from Larkin back to KL. The terminal is pretty old, but there are lots of shops selling clothing and souvenirs, a McDs, and a wet market area.
Ride back to KL was uneventful, but it was a nice two-day retreat from work. 🙂