INFINITY POOL AND WEEKEND HIGH-TEA AT ST. GILES SOUTHKEY JOHOR BAHRU
For anyone planning a short getaway, but not keen on flying – St. Giles Southkey, a newly opened hotel in Johor Bahru (opened end August 2022) connected to The Mall, Mid Valley Southkey is a perfect base! Plus, there is a Stay, Dine & Shop “soft opening” promo offer at only RM288+ per room per night inclusive of breakfast for 2 persons.
I confess – A huge draw for me was their saltwater infinity pool, which I have to say, was empty in the morning, so that was a huge plus! And a chance to shop at the Sogo Department Store which is now the nearest to Singapore (since the last one at Raffles City closed its doors in 2000).
Located 7 km from the Singapore-Johor Causeway, we took the KTM Shuttle Tebrau train service across from Woodlands Train Checkpoint. The train ride was just 5 mins, so getting across was a breeze. (Note: Tickets from Friday to Sunday sell out fast as the train only has a maximum seat capacity of 320 seats)
Once we got off the train, we booked a Grab ride (about RM$8 – less than SGD$3), and in less than 15 mins from the JB checkpoint (CIQ Complex), we arrived at the hotel.
St. Giles Southkey is part of The Mall, Mid Valley Southkey which Sogo department store is an anchor tenant, and the hotel shares the same carpark as the megamall. For hotel guests, it is recommended that you park in the North Court vicinity. Parking fees for hotel guests are RM $5 per entry, and guests will have to validate the payment card at the hotel reception.
Stylish Interiors with Thoughtful Amenities
Check-in time is at 3pm, while check-out time is at 12pm. The stylish lobby was cleverly designed to accommodate large crowds during check-in and despite our arrival at peak check-in time, the process was fast as there were a total of three counters open.
The hotel has a total of 575 guest rooms and is managed locally by Cititel Hotel Management Sdn. Bhd. It is a completely non-smoking hotel with designated smoking areas at the lobby driveway and other outdoor areas.
There are 5 room types: Urban (28 sq m, One King or Two Singles), Family (39 sq m, with a King bed and sofa bed), Premier (58 sq m, with a King Bed), One-Bedroom Suite and Two-Bedroom Suite. The Premier Rooms, located on Level 26 & 27 also come with a microwave and complimentary access to the Business Lounge on Level 28.
Guests can visit the rooftop bar – The View Bar & Lounge by the infinity pool on Level 28 to get a refreshing welcome drink. Additionally, a bonus incentive to spend Thursday at the hotel is their weekly Ladies’ Night – a complimentary drink on the house for ladies from 7pm onwards, and 20% off subsequent drinks throughout the night. The bar is closed on Mondays, and open from 5pm to 12 midnight from Tuesdays to Sundays, with a live band playing on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The fully equipped gym on Level 28 was rather quiet when I visited it but I found out that it’s a perfect place to catch the sunset while you’re trying to burn off some calories before dinner.
Causeway Cafe – Foodie Paradise
Of course, what’s a hotel without an impressive buffet breakfast spread? Located on Level 6, Causeway Café has a good variety of local and continental breakfast options (Halal chicken sausage, scrambled eggs, pastries and more). There is a live station for noodles allowing diners to pick their ingredients, and there are extra dishes for breakfast that will ensure you’re never hungry – chicken curry, fried noodles and of course, the ever-loved nasi lemak!
The buffet line is cleverly laid out to ensure that even if the restaurant which seats 250 pax is crowded, there will not be long queues of guests waiting for their turn.
Breakfast is from 6:30 am to 10:30 am, and Causeway Cafe reopens at 12pm to 3pm for lunch. On weekends, from 12pm till 4pm, lunch is a high tea buffet RM88 nett per adult, while children between the ages of six and 12 and senior citizens over the age of 60 are eligible for a 50% discount. Plus, families with children can enjoy one free meal for every two paying adults.
From Sashimi to sushi, chef’s signature dishes such as Laksa, Lamb Tandoori, Briyani and Mango Salad, plus unique sweet desserts like Bubur Durian, there is such a wide spread of dishes ready to satisfy any foodie.
Fair warning: The value-for-money buffet on the weekend means that the restaurant tends to get filled up quickly. So make your reservations ahead of time: WhatsApp +60 12-309-9762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our a-la-carte weekday lunch, we tried some of the dishes and my top recommendation is definitely the Causeway Chicken Chop. It was tender and crispy, and the batter was done just right and it came with amazing fries that were rather addictive. We just kept on eating the fries and finished everything even though there was so much to eat! Their Seafood pasta had a generous serving of fresh prawns and mussels, their house favourite Mamak Mee Goreng came wrapped in an omelet with chicken, seafood and vegetables, and the Nonya Curry Laksa was the first time I had so much ingredients, I needed to ask for a side plate for my ingredients before I could dig in. The price for each dish is about RM $38 or less – which works out to just S$13 – which for a hotel restaurant meal, really is great value!