Written by Nadia Crowe
Is there anything better than a weekend shopping escapade with your besties? Sometimes all you need after a long week of hard work is a weekend trip to JB to just shop, eat and do your nails!
Equipped with over 10 incredible shopping malls, as well as the famed Johor Premium Outlets, together with unique and Instagrammable themed cafes, delicious local food and durian hotspots, there’s always so much to do and so little time!
One thing that I personally love when travelling with my girlfriends is being able to stay in the same room so that we can stay up talking all night long – boys, don’t pretend that you don’t love it too! It’s reminiscent of the days you used to have sleepovers, and the party doesn’t stop when the shops close; it can continue in your room!
Finding a room that’s big enough to accommodate everyone – AND that’s cheap enough so that you can have more money for shopping, cafe-hopping and mani pedis – can be a challenge. But we’ve done all the work for you here – these hotels and stays are closest to your favourite shopping and dining areas and their family rooms (accommodating up to four people) are under RM180 a night (SGD $60)!
And if you’re unfamiliar with JB, here’s introducing some of the main areas!
KSL Mall: The go-to place for those looking for affordable hair styling/cuts. This mall is also near foodie hangouts, including an outdoor night market on Mondays (a.k.a KSL Monday Night Market)!
City Square Mall: Located directly beside Woodlands checkpoint, this shopping mall boasts plenty of stores and restaurants, with many more cool dining spots in its vicinity.
Mount Austin / Austin Heights: This has to be every foodie’s (and bubble tea addict’s) favourite hotspot, with entire streets lined with bubble tea shops, cafes and restaurants!
Bukit Indah: Be it shopping at the Aeon mall or enjoying local vibes along the smaller streets and restaurants in the area, this place is definitely a local favourite during weekends.
Paradigm Mall: The largest mall in JB, Paradigm Mall is great for travellers who wants to shop endlessly or try out more special activities like indoor skating and climbing. If you want to explore the food scene after all that, the nearby Sutera Mall would make for a great next stop!
Permas Jaya Old Street 2: Largest hipster night market in Johor Bahru with Taiwanese snacks, bubble tea and more!
Cafe hopping in JB: 13 Unique themed cafes near shopping and dining hotspots (City Square, KSL, Mount Austin, Bukit Indah)
Note: The prices reflected below are the low season rates, and they exclude tax and service charges. Accommodation rates often change with room availability, and low or high seasons. We recommend double checking for the final prices before confirming your booking.
1. Sunsets by the pool – Suasana Suites Johor Bahru
Sometimes when you go overseas, you need the functionality of a home rather than the service of a hotel. This usually takes the form of a kitchen, or laundry area, that’s what makes getting a home so much more of a comfortable experience depending on the type of traveller you are.
If you enjoy shopping at local supermarkets, preparing your own meals, having the ability to cook up a snack at any time of the day or wash all the new clothes you bought so that you can wear them the next day, Agoda Homes is for you. With access to an amazing rooftop pool that overlooks the Johor Bahru skyline and a gym you can pretend to visit, Suasana Suites is the perfect place to chill with your friends.
Can you picture all those poolside #OOTDs yet? Not to mention it’s a killer place to watch the sun rise and set, with the best vibes for a bonding session. After that, just walk 8 minutes to City Square Mall where you can continue your shopping, eating and chilling!2. Spacious enough for all your shopping bags – New Boutique Hotel
If you don’t want to venture out further than past the causeway, you need not look further than New Boutique Hotel. You can get to this hotel within 10 minutes’ drive after clearing immigration, and get started on your shopping as soon as possible – time is money after all!
With clean and spacious rooms, you’ll have all the space you need to put down multiple shopping bags, and being a 5-minute walk away from City Square means that if your arms get tired, you can come back, drop off your bags, and continue where you left off!
If by some miracle you don’t find any food that tickles your fancy in City Square mall, there are a few cute cafes as well as a 24-hour eatery near the hotel! Choose the Deluxe Room with two double beds for slightly more space, and you’ll be able to bury the floor under even more shopping bags – doesn’t that sound inviting?!
3. Conveniently located right by the causeway! – Hotel CIQ
If you’re really looking for somewhere functional, convenient and cheap, Hotel CIQ may be your best option. A 10-minute walk from JB Sentral means that you’ll have access to almost any area in Johor Bahru, whilst a 5-minute walk brings you to City Square Mall!
Because it’s so close to JB Sentral, you can leave your car at home, take the bus and sleep through the tiresome drive through traffic, so that you’ll be fully energised by the time you get to your hotel. Save money, time, and energy by choosing a hotel that’s so close to public transport! Not only that, you can probably hit more than one mall during your stay too!
The Junior Suite Room is just the right size for you and three of your friends, equipped with two queen beds, a flat screen TV, and a house plant to brighten it up, so you’ll find yourself sleeping like a baby and waking up to fresh air!
4. Colourful and funky – Bliss Boutique Hotel
Providing you with all the funky vibes you could ever need, Bliss Boutique Hotel is colourful, eclectic, and comfortable! Decked out with funky wall murals, brightly painted walls, and even a mini zen garden, this is the perfect place for you and your buddies to base yourselves at.
A mere 12 minutes’ walk away from KSL Mall, arguably one of the most popular malls to traipse around, you’ll save money on transport and be able to get to the mall to catch the early morning sales without a crazy wake-up call! Stay in the Designer Family Room with two queen beds that fit all four of you!
With all the basic necessities provided, you don’t have to worry about a comfortable place to sleep after a tiring day of walking, carrying multiple bags, and eating your weight’s worth in delicious Johorean food. Considering all you need this room for is resting, what more could you want?
5. Affordable without sacrificing Comfort – V-Hotel JB
Another super funky hotel exterior come through! Soft pink walls line the inside of this hotel, while the exterior will remind you of a traffic light. The party definitely doesn’t stop when you step in here. Situated next to multiple different eateries, you’ll find yourself shaking your friends up for a midnight snack!
Although definitely not the most luxurious of places, at 12 minutes’ walk away from KSL Mall, and standing at a mere RM 81 (SGD $27) a night for a room that accommodates all four of you, it’s super worth it. Since you’ll be spending most of your time out shopping (and eating) anyway, there’s not much else you need! Head down to the French Bistro for your morning croissants and coffee before heading off each day on a new shopping adventure.
Grab the Family room, equipped with two double beds, for the sleepover of your dreams and spend your nights laughing, marvelling at what you bought, and chit chatting with your friends for hours on end.
6. Stay right next to KSL Mall! – G3 House
Probably the closest you’ll get to staying in KSL Mall without actually hiding in one of the fitting rooms and waiting for the mall to close (I don’t recommend this!), G3 House is an adorable little home that’s been transformed into a hotel of sorts, and can accommodate you and three of your closest pals in their Twin Double Bed Room.
Being so close to the mall means you can start your day early and pop back to the room for an after-lunch siesta before heading back with renewed energy to shop some more! As it’s so small, you’ll find yourself with almost the whole place to yourself – a much more intimate experience than that of a traditional hotel.
Although there’s no breakfast provided, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants around to satisfy your hunger after a day full of walking!
7. Luxury on a budget! – Hallmark Regency Hotel
If you’re looking to splurge a little and have a slightly more luxurious stay, this is the place for you. Decked out with plush sofas, a spiral staircase and marble finishings, Hallmark Regency Hotel is the definition of luxury on a budget!
As you walk through the lobby, you and your friends will feel as though you’ve stepped onto the set of Beauty and the Beast with all its extravagance. The rooms are equally beautiful. With the Family Suite, you’ll find yourselves falling blissfully into a deep sleep after exhausting yourselves with all the shopping! Located just a stone’s throw away from KSL mall, you can get both convenience and luxury at your fingertips!
Need a midnight snack? Head down the street to one of the many eateries nearby, or if you’re feeling a little bougie, don one of your new outfits, head down to the bar lounge and sip cocktails all night!
8. Go on a non-stop cafe-hopping spree! – 1 Million Hotel
Just like its name may suggest, this hotel is worth a million bucks! Located in Austin Heights, you’ll notice the building from a mile away with its gorgeous white exterior and grandiose look.
Do you like to cafe hop? You’ll pretty much be set for the entire trip if you choose to base yourself here! Because did I mention, it’s surrounded by multiple bars, cafes, and all-night dining options so you’ll never get bored! (Not to mention your Instagram feed will have enough cute cafe content to sustain it for weeks! 😉)
Both Aeon and Ikea are just a quick 10-minute taxi ride away, so you can have the best of both the shopping and dining worlds. Choose the family room with 1 King bed and 1 Queen bed to have the most comfortable night’s sleep, with plenty of space to move around, steal the blanket, and laugh till your stomach hurts.
9. Japanese-inspired comfort – Eight Days Boutique Hotel @ Mount Austin
Fancy a trip to Japan, but don’t want to splurge on a flight? Eight Days Boutique will give you a taste of the Japanese lifestyle with their Japanese Quad Family Room featuring beds that rest on the floor and dividers that emanate a truly traditional feel.
Channel your inner zen and allow yourself to come back home to a peaceful environment after spending the day out cafe-hopping, checking out hipster food trucks and other fabulous eateries! Night life is vibrant too – multiple bars are right at your fingertips.
Located roughly 6 minutes’ drive away from Aeon, and an 8 minutes’ drive away from Ikea, you can easily get to both too!
10. Modern interiors and closer to 2 malls! – JS Hotel
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s a little closer to all the shopping, JS hotel is the perfect alternative. Although not located directly in Austin Heights, it’s extremely close to Aeon (just a 3-minute walk away)!
This is definitely one of those cases where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Though the exterior isn’t the most luxurious, the interior definitely makes up for it – a beautifully designed lobby and a grand staircase, lit up by a dazzling chandelier which leads up to the rooms, will greet you as you enter.
The Deluxe Quadruple Room is the perfect option to accommodate four people, and you’ll be able to shop at two different malls! The only downside to this place though, is that there’s no lift, so just be careful when lugging all those heavy bags of newly-bought goods up to your room!
11. Minimalist modern home with pool – Sky Breeze Apartments
To be able to fully enjoy your shopping experience, you might prefer to stay a little closer to the mall. Located just 5 minutes’ walk away from Aeon, Sky Breeze Apartments is exactly that, and it’s able to fit 4 of you too!
You’ll also get access to all its facilities including the pool and a kitchen! Hello, midnight snacks and staying up all night watching TV on the sofa! The apartment is designed in a modern, minimalistic style, providing you with all the basic necessities in a fashionable and functional way.
If you’re driving, free private parking is also available for your safety and convenience!
PSA: You are able to book two bedrooms with a shared bathroom, however it doesn’t give you the option to reserve the entire apartment, that means you may end up having to share a space with other guests.
12. Two words: Rooftop Pool! – Sky Executives Apartment
You will feel right at home in this apartment, where you’ll have access to various facilities, such as the gym and the rooftop swimming pool!
Who doesn’t love a good dip in cooling water after a long, exhausting day of constantly being on your feet?
Being able to accommodate up to four people and featuring a beautiful view of the JB city skyline, this apartment is the perfect space to base yourself at for a shopping spree in Aeon, especially considering it’s only a 10-minute walk away!
13. In rainbow colours after dark – Leverage Business Hotel
Don’t be fooled by its name, Leverage Business Hotel certainly isn’t just a place to stay when you’re here for a business trip; there’s plenty of leisure to go around! Although a plain grey building during the day, its true colours come out at night as the windows light up in rainbow colours!
As one of the new buildings along Jalan Skudai, the exterior and interior are both nothing to scoff at, as they exude a professional and modern vibe with blue plush chairs dotted around the lobby, and cream accents in the cafe which operates from the early hours of the morning until late, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll surely get your breakfast downstairs.
Only 5 minutes away from Paradigm Mall, and 10 minutes away from Sutera Mall, you get the best of both worlds here, and a little luxury to top it all off. The Double Queen room has enough space for 4 people, and all the shopping bags that you’ll accumulate by the end of your trip!
14. Soak in a bubble bath every night! – Avantgarde Hotel
Located just down the road from Sutera Mall, Avantgarde Hotel might look a little tacky on the outside, but its interiors are comfy and luxurious enough.
The Elegant Suite features a King bed, a Queen bed, and a bathtub – so you and 3 other friends can take turns soaking in warm relaxing waters, particularly good for relieving sore muscles!
The rooms are decorated with a classic, elegant style (just like its name suggests), and is filled with all the amenities for a self-love session! I’m talking about bathrobes, slippers, and so much more, so you can be comfortable after a long day out!
All around here, you’ll be able to find lots of places to eat and cafes to check out, not to mention Sutera Mall and Paradigm Malls are nearby too!
15. Close to all the shopping, fun and action! – The Platino
The Platino is another exquisite apartment that features unparalleled views of the Johor Bahru skyline, a fully equipped kitchen, and a gorgeous swimming pool!
Not only will you get access to the pool, gym, sauna and laundry facility, but there’s also a recreational room where you can play pool and foosball. Talk about a great night in! You’ll also be just a hop away from Paradigm Mall, where there’s so much to do (besides shopping, of course) – indoor rock climbing, ice-skating, hitting up nostalgic arcade games, savouring Instagrammable desserts and even catching a movie at GSC (and yes, at a fraction of the price in Singapore)!
And you don’t even need to get up early to make sure you have time for everything. Take your time to cook yourself a nice home style breakfast, take a leisurely shower, and just take a 5-minute walk to one of the most exciting malls in JB!
Decorated in a simple, semi monochromatic style, this chic apartment will be all you need for the most wonderful shopping trip! Did I mention it can fit up to 6 guests? That means more friends and more fun!
Have pillow fights all night – I-Hotel Johor Bahru
Located near cafes and eateries with plenty of options for you to grab your morning coffee, I-Hotel is a small boutique hotel that’s everything you need for a stay in Bukit Indah.
An eclectic purple interior greets you as you enter, and a sophisticated accent wall rounds off every room so you get the perfect mix of vibrance and class during your stay. And if you can’t resist good shopping deals, Aeon is just a 10-minute drive away, further away than the rest of the hotels in this list, but you can easily get there via a short cab ride.
And if you’re coming with 3 other BFFs, stay at the Family Suite which can comfortably accommodate up to 4 people!
Who says it’s tough to find affordable, clean yet convenient places to stay for your 2D1N JB shopping + foodie + cafe-hopping spree? Tag 3 of your best travel buddies now!