As an avid staycation-goer myself, I am always in search for the next staycation destination for me to getaway from the stressful city life in Singapore. There are so many cities at our doorstep (some more literally than others) that are ready for us to explore. Johor Bahru for instance, is a popular haunt for Singaporeans who crave for relatively cheaper and better food options (especially supper). Some on the other hand, are motivated by cheaper petrol prices in Johor Bahru.
As one of two Thistle properties that are located in the Asia-Pacific region, the Thistle Johor Bahru is just located a short drive away from the causeway. Due to its proximity to Singapore, the Thistle Johor Bahru presents an enticing opportunity for Singaporean couples and families to getaway from the hectic city life without burning a huge hole in one's pocket.
Depending on your family or party size, you may choose to stay in a room, apartment or a luxurious suite. There are multiple room types to choose from and therefore, I am certain that a room type will definitely fit your desired requirements. I personally stayed in the Premium Suite which offers spectacular views of the straits. The Premium Suite offers an expansive living area, a separate bedroom and a bathroom with a separate shower and bath. Complimentary internet access, basic coffee-making facilities and access to the exclusive Lounge were all included as part of the Premium Suite benefits.
A large working table can be found in the room should you need to get some work done. You do not have to worry about expensive internet charges here since it is included in the room rate.
You will also find a CBTL Single Serve Beverage System on this table alongside some free coffee pods. Feel free to ring up guest services for replenishment should you require more caffeine.
The bedroom features an alleged Hollywood King-size Bed (which is technically the size of two Queen-size beds put together) and I assure you, it is huge. You also get an incredible view of the straits from the bedroom. I believe that the drinks in the minibar are complimentary in the Premium Suite but of course, it doesn't hurt to ask one of the friendly staff (or simply at check-in).
The view from the Premium Suite bedroom is amazing. I was lucky enough to be placed on the highest floor and therefore I was rewarded with this expansive view. It is difficult to get such an unobstructed view of the straits and the surroundings in Singapore since it is pretty much a concrete jungle. Having the luxury of such a view on a weekend truly makes you feel like you're far away from home (despite being only 20 minutes away).
Nothing spells vacation like a long soak in a bathtub. You will find a comfortable-sized bathtub in the bathroom of the Premium Suite. Amenities that are provided by an in-house brand can be found around the bathroom. In fact, I believe that there were three whole sets of amenities so don't be shy - dump it in your tub before your soak.
I like to think of myself a little bit of a bath snob. As such, I brought my favourite Bubble Bar (The Comforter) from Lush over to maximise the soaking pleasure.
After a long and relaxing soak, I have decided to go check out the exclusive Thistle Lounge which is only accessible to guests in the Executive Rooms, Apartments and Suites. The design is contemporary with a striking contrast of dark earthly tones and royal purple.
If you are here for a business meeting, meeting spaces are available on the mezzanine level with fantastic views of the straits and ample natural lighting.
Meeting spaces like that facilitate meeting progress and discussions as it creates a sense of openness. There's also a powder room that you can utilise if you choose to hold a meeting here so you will not be missing much should you need to run to one.
For those of you who prefers fresh air over air-conditioning (although I cannot fathom why), there's an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy the same view of the straits while enjoying some gentle breeze.
Even for someone who enjoys air-conditioning thoroughly, the view in the evening is rather charming from this outdoor terrace. If you are lucky enough, you may even witness a partial sunset from here. I was personally quite happy with the tranquility of the straits and its surrounding area though.
Those of you traveling with kids or family will be happy to know that there's a free-form swimming pool that is not too deep. Enjoy a cold drink or delicious food from Oasis restaurant located next to the pool which features an open show kitchen and outdoor seating.
As a hotel guest with the exclusive club access, I could choose between having breakfast at the club lounge or at Fresh restaurant which is located on lobby level. With a seating capacity of 140, Fresh can get pretty busy in the morning so be sure to wake up earlier if you want a table with a scenic view of the straits. Besides, breakfast runs from 630am to 1030am.
There is a pastry and outdoor cooking section in Fresh restaurant so be sure to explore the place fully. They are quite hidden especially if you sit near the entrance of the restaurant so just remember to go all the way back.
There's no shame in indulging in carbohydrates and spicy food in the morning especially when you are in Asia! The food quality is pretty decent and I would generally stick to the local dishes as they are done better as compared to the Western ones.
If you are looking for a place for coffee (which was decent, surprisingly!), consider going to Steps, which is the lobby lounge located near the check-in counters. All day snacks, afternoon tea, fine wines from the gallery and cocktails are also available here.
I really like how the hotel property looks with a lot of natural lighting coming in. Walking pass Steps and down the stairs will bring you to Glass which is another restaurant which offers lavish lunches and dinner buffets. There is a wide range of dining options within in the hotel itself should you wish to stay in-house. I personally feel that the Thistle Johor Bahru provides a convenient and relatively affordable getaway from Singapore which caters for young couples as well as families with children. In fact, there are some Legoland Packages that are running (as well as shuttle buses that will take you there from the hotel at certain times) so be sure to give those a look if you are traveling with kids.
I spent my weekend armed with my favourite magazines and the one of the new Bose FreeStyle™ earbuds in Indigo colour. They are built heavy-duty to weather active lifestyles and the sound profile is natural with crisp vocal clarity. Of course, you will find your signature deep bass which comes with most Bose earphones. I really like it that Bose has decided to add more playful colours to their earphones (instead of their usual black and silver). While it does not appeal personally to me, it is interesting to see companies trying to attract a larger base of consumers through different product offerings. The earphones also work well with your iPhone so you're able to switch between a call or your favourite playlist easily. The Bose FreeStyle™ earbuds also come with a unique carrying case that allows you to carry these conveniently. You can also throw in a couple of credit cards or some cash in them so they are great if you're out running without your wallet (and you pass by an ice-cream store for instance). These earphones go for S$219 in Singapore and you can get there from Atlas in Ice Blue or Indigo by clicking HERE.
Hotel stay has been sponsored by Thistle Johor Bahru, though all views expressed are my own.