Remember when Johor Bahru used to be the place to go just for short day trips, filled with cheap food and shopping? Well, in recent years, the city has shed its sleepy image and revamped itself as a place where Singaporeans actually spend more than a few hours.
Instrumental to this change has been Legoland Malaysia, a fantasy world of Taj Mahals and Great Walls built with tiny bricks. Four new malls are also set to open in the city, including one with an Angry Birds Activity Park.
With so much to see and do, it makes sense to spend a weekend in the city, when Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok are just too far away. Here are our picks of the city’s most affordable and value-for-money hotels (they’re all situated near Legoland Malaysia; you don’t want to spend half your trip actually getting to the park, so pick one that is accessible and affordable):
1. Hotel Granda Johor Bahru
S$217 SGD83/night with breakfast (13km from Legoland)
- Centrally located and decently priced, Hotel Granda Johor Bahru is a favourite among tourists. Located 13km away from Legoland Malaysia, it is praised for its cleanliness and comfort.
- Foodies also love that it is near the famous Marina Seafood Restaurant, a must-try for any seafood lover.
- All rooms (suites, executive deluxe and deluxe) come with complimentary wi-fi.
- Verdict: The best choice for people looking to spend most of their weekend at Legoland Malaysia and the adjacent Hello Kitty World.
2. KSL Resort JB
S$236 SGD102/night (27km from Legoland)
- Slightly pricier than Hotel Granda, KSL Hotel & Resort is closer to Singapore than it is to Legoland.
- The hotel offers its own tours to Legoland and is surrounded by many shopping centres, including KSL City Mall, Pelangi Mall and City Square.
- The rooms here are comfortable and equipped with complimentary wi-fi and many offer triple-sharing.
- Verdict: If you have more on your agenda than just Legoland Malaysia, go with this.
3. Mutiara Hotel Johor Bahru
S$260 SGD78/night (27km from Legoland)
- Most people who visit JB will pass through the Larkin Bus Terminal, which is just 2km away from the Mutiara Hotel.
- Mutiara Hotel is a great choice because of its wide range of amenities; it comes with everything from a spa, bar and at least four different restaurants, each with a special cuisine and theme.
- Rooms are comfortable and spacious, almost twice as big as regular rooms. However, techies beware, rooms are not equipped with free wi-fi.
- Verdict: If you have more on your agenda than just Legoland Malaysia but you’d rather spend less, go with this.
4. Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru
S$255 SGD97/night with breakfast (30km from Legoland)
- Many malls including Holiday Plaza and City Square surround Grand Paragon, another hotel with large, spacious rooms.
- The hotel offers a family suite (accommodates 4), great for families with young children. Visitors also compliment the hotel’s family-friendly atmosphere; one claims to have been provided with a complimentary baby cot.
- Verdict: Families with young children, this is the hotel of your dreams.
5. Hotel Sentral Johor Bahru
S$133 SGD48/night with breakfast (30km from Legoland)
- Simple and no-frills would be the best way to describe Hotel Sentral. Located near the Causeway, it’s great for those looking for a roof over their heads while exploring Johor Bahru. However, some visitors complain of inconvenient travel, so people unfamiliar with Malaysia should avoid staying here.
- Verdict: Value-for-money; what you see is what you get.
Read more hotel deals in Johor…