During my recent stay in Johor Bahru, I decided to break away from my usual hangout at KSL City Mall and instead stay at New York Hotel which is just slightly off from KSL City Mall.
Booking with New York Hotel
I made my booking on Expedia. While I normally use my DBS Altitude Card for the purposes of earning 6 miles to a dollar, I realised that booking through a DBS affiliated link does not allow me to cash out my existing points in the form of a cash rebate. I have accumulated almost 40 dollars worth of cash rebate and I decided to encash it. After encashing the rebate, the hotel cost me around SGD20+ before tax.
For my Singaporean readers, one awesome travel hack to use especially when you cannot benefit or are not benefitting from DBS’s or [Insert bank]’s affiliate links with Expedia or Agoda is to mix and match your benefits. So good example, in my case, is to match Shopback’s 10% cash rebate for hotel bookings with DBS’s base 3 miles to a dollar rate.
Okay that also came as a shocker for me. The amazingness of this travel hack just came to me as I wrote the above paragraph. For those lost, let me put it in simple layman terms. Using Shopback with DBS’s Altitude Card will get you approximately 8 miles to a dollar or the equivalent in cash instead of the promotional 6 miles to a dollar. The same may be said for DBS’s Woman’s Mastercard for an approximate 9 miles to a dollar.
Okay travel hack aside, please always remember to sign up for the Expedia+ programme (click here for more details) when using Expedia. This allows you to earn loyalty points that can be redeemed as a cash rebate.
Getting to and from New York Hotel
If you are crossing the Singapore border into Johor Bahru, you can either Grab/Uber your way to the hotel or take a cab. If taking a cab, you can consider buying a ticket from a taxi counter (MYR11) instead of risking being quoted a higher price from a flag down. I discussed taking taxis and buying a ticket in my earlier post here.
Getting around from New York Hotel is generally easy especially if you have Uber or Grab. Rides are cheap and cost around MYR3 to MYR8 when I was there.
Checking-in at New York Hotel
Checking in was easy. The hotel staff retrieved my expedia booking and I did not have to make any deposit for my night’s stay other than pay the newly implemented Malaysian tourist tax of MYR10.
The hotel looks a little bit worn out given its age. But all in all, the facilities are still great. The only complaint or negative point I had was with the lifts as they felt slow and/or inefficient.
Room at New York Hotel
My first impressions were that it was really spacious and brightly lit with natural light. Unlike newer hotels where real estate is expensive, I think older hotels have the luxury of having more room space. As can be seen from the photo below, I had not only a double bed to myself but also a writing table, a dressing table and also a sofa together with a coffee table. The room also looked clean and tidy as it should be:
View of room from the corridor leading to the door, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
View of room from the other end facing towards door, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
View from hotel room, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Wardrobe, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
The bathroom is acceptable with basic complementary products. They could however have had a hand towel rack installed by the basin:
Spacious bathroom with bathtub, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Toiletries, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Wifi was sometimes patchy in the room as well. While not the best for watching youtube videos, it was good enough for the purposes of doing some quick research on tripadvisor or downloading mobile apps (yes, I forgotten to fix up both Uber and Grab after resetting my Sony phone recently).
TV channels were also limited. While the hotel had subscribed to Astroview Magazine, it did not translate to the hotel having cable tv (Astro, I think offers cable tv as well). So don’t expect to have a dedicated movie channel while you are there. If you are not fussy, you can always make do with the local tv channels and also Singapore channels that are available with their weekend blockbusters at night (I was grateful for that bit of entertainment).
While the room’s mini-fridge was empty, I didn’t find it to be a problem. There is a mini-mart at the ground floor for non-alcoholic beverages and there is also another mini-mart across the road that sells both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
Sleep at New York Hotel
Overall, the environment was conducive for sleep. Not much disturbance from the neighbouring rooms. The bed although not the softest was acceptable and comfortable.
One great feature of the room is its peculiar design where the air-conditioning switch is located just beside the bed (it took me a minute before I actually found the switch when I just entered the room ><). So just before sleeping, you can tweak the air-conditioning higher or lower depending on your preference and also avoid having to walk to the door in the middle of the night just in case the temperature is not to your liking.
Bedside panel, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Breakfast at New York Hotel
It depends on whether you are actually paying extra for the breakfast.
If breakfast is free, go for it. The spread is decent but nothing spectacular. You have the usual mix of local breakfast food (eg. fried noodles / fried rice / stir fried vegetables) with some american breakfast food (pancakes and sausages). You also have the usual bread counter, egg counter and also a porridge section:
One of the buffet counters, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
The other buffet counter, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Bread section, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Porridge section, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Noodle soup section, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
Fried vegetables, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
If you fancy a really local breakfast, why not toast yourself some bread and apply a generous coating of butter and kaya and also get yourself some soft boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper?
My beautiful soft boiled eggs, New York Hotel, Johor Bahru
All in all, the food is decent but I have tasted better even in hotels with simpler buffet breakfasts (less variety but with awesome food).
If your room doesn’t come with breakfast, I would suggest you head out and go hunt down some true local breakfast. For those wanting some Bak Kut Teh (Pork Rib Soup), why not consider visiting Soon Soon Heng Bak Kut Teh (opposite KSL City Mall)? Although not the cheapest (according to Malaysian standards), it offers decent bak kut teh with a variety of additional ingredients not normally used for bak kut teh (eg. mushrooms / clams). Just be sure to be polite as the staff can be rude at times to overly demanding customers or customers hogging seats (There is a review on google critical of the shop after the staff allocated a family of four to a small table. While not the most ideal reaction, I can understand why the staff did just that – The family ordered a portion for a single person!)
Soon Soon Heng Bak Kut Teh
43, Jalan Serigala, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
If you don’t fancy having Bak Kut Teh for breakfast, why not try these Nasi Lemak stalls. While I have not tried any of them before, I noticed good reviews for them on google:
Pokok Cerry Nasi Lemak
Kampung Mahmoddiah, 80100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Yummy Nasi Lemak House Johor Bahru
104, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Johor Bahru, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
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