When Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour in Johor Bahru invited us to stay for the weekend, I immediately read up on them. Words like “upscale”, “contemporary” and “minimalist” popped up; it listed “health centre” and “club lounge” as its draws. Pictures of it showed a sleek hotel drawn with clean lines, a hotel that screamed “Business guests! Come here to get away from noisy children!”.
So I was a little skeptical and made sure the folks at Hotel Jen knew that we would be arriving with children. Noisy children. They welcomed us all the same.
The thing about traveling is that it always gets you hot and thirsty, doesn’t it? And possibly a little head-achy if you’re traveling with kids in the group. So Hotel Jen’s welcome drinks of iced tea and chilled infused water were very much appreciated. We had this while our check-in was processed. And from check-in counter to our room, I held my breath, constantly on the look-out for things that active kids could possibly find interest in and um, break. Happy to report that nothing was broken, and running along the carpeted floors were also permitted.
The verdict? A warm welcome, professional and friendly staff, well maintained amenities – we expected no less of a hotel from the Shangri-la group! The earthy colour scheme that ran throughout the hotel gave a wonderful feeling of calm, an entirely different experience from our previous two days at LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Hotel. We enjoyed the space and I’m happy to say that we may now start looking out of the ‘family friendly hotels’ range. Business travelers of the world be warned!
At first glance, our room looked pretty standard. Then we saw the view and all collectively went “Wow!”. The view of the habour was simply gorgeous and so calming. I’m glad the hotel took full advantage of it and added lots of glass around to offer that view as much as possible. Also, it was really nice to have that much sunlight streaming in.
The day bed at the gorgeous window bay cleverly hides a lower pull-out bed, and so our family of 4 managed to sleep exceptionally well without having to squeeze. The view was beautiful – I sat there often with a book, pretending to be rich and the kids enjoyed the sunlight and played their games there.
It was slightly hazy during our stay but we still managed to squeeze in a swim a day at Hotel Jen’s gorgeous pools – there was the infinity pool, the baby pool and the jacuzzi. It was right next to the Sky Bar with businessmen and their beers but nobody ever came up to us to say “Could you please keep your voices down; we’re trying to relax here”.
We didn’t venture much around the area because of the haze but if you’re up for some shopping action, the Johor Premium Outlets are closeby, and Hello Kitty Town and Little Big Town are right at the next building. We gave those a miss because we were quite worn out from 2 days at LEGOLAND. LEGOLAND incidentally, is a mere 15-minute drive away, and the hotel provides complimentary shuttle services.
The remote controlled blinds in the room occupied our kids for a long time. Our room was constantly alternating between darkness and light with the blinds going up and down, up and down. And when they finally grew bored of that, and TV wasn’t enough, we simply went downstairs. There, we sought refuge in Toys R Us Express, and bought 2 games to keep us occupied. Also available are a string of food outlets from Ajisen Japanese Restaurant, Kenny Rogers Roast Chicken, Taiwan Shilin Street Food, DC Cafe, Starbucks and Old Town Coffee.
On the way to breakfast every morning, we walked by the quaint little roof garden and said hi to the fish and took in the zen. It was all very peaceful, very calming, very quiet, and very much like what every holiday should be!
We had our breakfasts as well as a dinner at the Harbour Cafe located within the hotel, and were very impressed with the spread and quality of food. Our seafood dinner gave us the choice of freshly prepared sushi and sashimi, a ton of barbequed seafood (including a whole salmon baked with curry!), a noodle bar (our 7 year old’s favourite), lots more local dishes, fresh vegetables and fruit, and of course, they didn’t go stingy on the dessert. Our 3.5 year old did not need instructions on how to use the chocolate fountain. And charging stations for mobile devices so you can charge while you eat? What a clever idea!
The only thing that bothered me ever so slightly was the personification of “Jen”. Jen Hotels have taken on the identity of a hotel staff by the name of “Jen”, and all communications throughout its various media have adopted this, and everything is delivered on a first person basis. Why that bothers me is first of all because that it does not tie in with the image of a business hotel. And secondly, I think there has to be a line drawn somewhere, for instance in the issue of safety and security. Speaking in a personal tone as opposed to an authoritative one in this aspect kind of downplays the importance of the message. But really, that’s just me being picky.
Our stay at Hotel Jen was not marred in any way because of this, and even I slept easy at night. If you’re looking for a quiet place to recharge and refuel for the evening after or before a whole day of fun and action at LEGOLAND, Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour is a good choice to consider.
Disclaimer: We received 2 nights’ stay at Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour in exchange for our honest review.
About Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour
Hotel Jen is located at Persiaran Puteri Selatan, Puteri Harbour, 79000 Nusajaya, Johor Darul Takzim, 79000, Malaysia. Its check-in time is 2pm, and you check out at 12noon.
Getting there: Directions for drivers as well as options for pick up can be found here.
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