Here’s why Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru may appeal to food lovers! (Part 2 of Review)

This is a continuation of my earlier review on Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru, and I will share about the hotel’s recreational facilities, food options, as well as overall recommendation. If you’ve missed Part 1 of the review, check it out here before you continue.

Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru Standard King

For info, Part 1 of the review talked more about the hotel room’s design, layout and comfort. Today’s post (Part 2 review) would touch more on things you can do in and around Grand Paragon Hotel JB.

Without any further ado, let’s dive straight into food first because we got hungry at night! :) 

 


Great Food Options: Grand Paragon Hotel JB 

Even though Grand Paragon Hotel didn’t fare well in part 1 of the review (on room experience & customer service), it scored high in the department of food. Check out how easy it was for us to grab a late night supper.

Street Food so near Grand Paragon Hotel

On Day 1, we got hungry at night and was happy to see an open-air food court – Cedar Point Food Centre – located next to the hotel (see location). In fact, I could actually see it from my hotel unit.

Nah, show you! :)

The food centre was so near I didn’t even bother putting on makeup when I went down for my supper. 

Cedar Point Food Centre Johor Bahru
See the tables and blue chairs?

Cedar Point Food Centre next to Grand Paragon

At the food centre, you’ll see a wide range of local food options such as Lok Lok, BBQ chicken wings and Satay. Cedar Point also seemed like a popular spot for locals to enjoy a mug of beer. 

Street food near Grand Paragon Hotel
Cedar Point Food Centre

Come, take a look at the sinful stuff we ordered at 9pm. That’s Char Kway Teow (rm7), Oyster Omelette (rm9) and 300g of Stingray (rm24).

The best dish for today’s order turned out to be the cheapest – the Char Kway Teow had a taste of Wok Hei. Delicious!

Cedar Point Food Centre Johor Bahru

And the least outstanding was the most pricey. The portion of stingray was small – a flat slab with very little meat.

That’s all for the indulgence. Next, I’ll share with you the breakfast we had at the hotel.

Hotel Breakfast at Grand Paragon Hotel (Johor Bahru)

Many online reviews said that Grand Paragon’s breakfast was good. Was it really so? 

I think the variety offered was quite good for a hotel in Johor Bahru. But I wouldn’t say the spread is of top-notch quality. You’ll get a few average (low-cost) dishes to choose from each category, e.g. bakery, Asian food, Western food, porridge, local kweh, cereal and fruits.

Take a look at some of the things I had over the 3-day period. It was satisfying for a non-foodie like me. 

Grand Paragon Hotel Breakfast

We went in with the mindset to eat just enough. With 3 nights of stay, I even contemplated eating just one type of cuisine a day. But ended up eating croissants and sunny side ups every day. I’m still someone who prefers Western-style breakfast! :)

Grand Paragon Hotel Breakfast

I also need to compliment the hotel for its modern-looking restaurant. I think just sitting there by the window and enjoying a cup of tea was worth the S$4.50 breakfast price tag. :)

Grand Paragon Hotel JB Breakfast
My view from breakfast table – lovely, isn’t it?
Grand Paragon Hotel JB Breakfast
Modern-looking breakfast restaurant at Grand Paragon Hotel JB

Great for Families

I would imagine an affordable buffet breakfast at the hotel would make things very convenient for families, such as those who have kids or elderly in tow. Being able to settle the first meal of the day just by taking a lift down can save a lot of efforts for families. 

After a heavy breakfast, it’s time to hit the gym and pool. Join me as we explore the hotel’s recreational facilities.  

Electricity down: When we returned to the room after our breakfast, the electricity suddenly cut off on its own. We contemplated calling the hotel but thought this appeared to be more of a hotel-wide short circuit issue. Indeed, electricity was back on after about 15 minutes. 

 


Recreational Facilities at Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru

Both the gym and pool were located on Level 11 of the hotel. You’ll also see a hair salon and massage spa on the same floor, that seemed under-patronized.

Spacious Gym at Grand Paragon JB

The gym at Grand Paragon Hotel was very big by hotel’s standard, and it boosted a great view. Unfortunately, the window was dirty and equipment old and not well-maintained. A few of them were spoilt.

Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru Gym
Grand Paragon Hotel Gym view

Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Gym

I could still use the old cardio machines, but my partner who was mainly into strength training mentioned about rubberized bits coming off the weights/machines. 

You can also see water dripping from a part of the ceiling. I think as far as maintenance of equipment is concerned, Grand Paragon isn’t really putting its focus and money there. 

Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Gym
Left: Some gym equipment were spoilt    |   Right: Floor wet as water was dripping at one area.

Well, but at least they provided drinking water and sanitizer, unlike Trove Hotel. But why they only had one bottle of sanitizer outside the gym leh? I had to go in and out to sanitize my hands in between stations. It would also be ideal if gym towels were provided. 

Done with gym. Let’s go for a swim!

>> RELATED: What I think of Trove Hotel after staying for 2 nights

Small Pool for dipping

The design of the pool at Grand Paragon Hotel looked too similar to that of Trove Hotel. Both were semi-circular in shape even though the buildings were built in different eras. Think it’s the result of limited space within a dense city.

Grand Paragon Swimming Pool
Grand Paragon Hotel Swimming Pool

When we first arrived at the pool, the sun was scotching hot and there was no place to take shelter. As you can see, the sun lounger didn’t come with any umbrellas. So, it’s not exactly an ideal set-up especially for ladies who do not like to be under the sun the entire session.

Grand Paragon Hotel Swimming Pool
Only 3 sun loungers (without umbrella shelter)

Another thing to highlight was the limited sun loungers available. I had to share a sun lounger with my partner. Well, that kind of forced me to get into the pool. 

I attempted a swim and it was fun, but the lap was really too short. Still, we had fun! 

After a swim, the stomach was begging for food. Let’s walk to KSL shopping mall. 

Grand Paragon Hotel Swimming Pool

 


Walk from Grand Paragon Hotel to KSL City Mall 

Was it easy and safe to walk to KSL Shopping mall (see location)? 

The distance was short, about 8 minutes, but it wasn’t as comfortable as walking along pedestrian walkways because there weren’t any.

Walk from Grand Paragon to KSL
Walking from Grand Paragon Hotel to KSL Mall

You’ll be walking on roads – part of which may have pot-holes or uneven surface. A good pair of walking shoes will make the walk easier. Do also watch out for cars that would come from multi directions. 

As to whether it’s safe, I think it’s ok if you are not alone. I would not walk the path as a solo female traveler, especially at night as it was dark and deserted.

TIP: When walking along the road, try to have your bag swing to the side away from the road. It’s better to carry a sling bag instead of shoulder bag. This is to prevent snatch thief on motorbikes. 

If you carry a backpack, hug it in front of your body.

Food we had at KSL Shopping Mall

As a mall, you’ll get a decent offering of food and cafes at KSL. The man was craving for Matang Seafood, and so we braved the hot dish even though it was a hot and humid day. The fact that the outlet was located in the non-airconditioned (outer) segment of the mall didn’t help.

For the first time in an extremely long while, I was dripping perspiration while eating (I normally don’t perspire easily). 

Matang Seafood KSL Mall
Seafood Bee Hoon (1 pax)

Actually, our favorite branch was located elsewhere and had closed down due to the pandemic. This outlet at KSL served ok food, but I found the ingredients a lot less generous than before. See my order of Seafood Bee Hoon (rm32) above. 

The soup base was good, but we are not sure if we would crave for it again.

Matang Seafood KSL Mall
Side dishes from Matang Seafood

Lots of Nail and Hair Salons at KSL Mall

We walked around KSL mall a bit and found that it didn’t appeal to our interest. But if you are looking for hair service, manicure or massage, you will love KSL mall as there were so many of such outlets around – more than 30?

KSL City Mall
Salons everywhere in KSL Mall

Other than a strong specialization in nail and hair services, you can also find the usual pharmacies, apparel shops and a supermarket. KSL mall also has many small booth stalls, selling tech/phone accessories. 

>> MUST-READ: 25 Things to buy in Malaysia

KSL City Mall
KSL shopping mall

Open-concept Coffeeshop at KSL Shopping Mall

Soon, we got thirsty and found ourselves at an unenclosed coffeeshop within the mall. I ordered a Coconut iced-blended drink (rm7).

So, is it as good as Mr Coconut? 

KSL City Mall Food

I never got to know as I spilled the drink. 

This is what happened with butter fingers. The main essence of the drink – a large scoop of ice cream, presumably coconut-flavoured – was spilled on the table. Whatever was left was quite diluted. What a mess! *Sad*

KSL City Mall Food Court
Spilled before I even had a sip

The man then ordered a mango-black glutinous rice dessert. Luckily, nothing spilled this time around.

The rice was a little undercooked, but otherwise was an ok dessert. 

KSL City Mall Food Court
The man saw I was sad and bought me another dessert.

Done with KSL mall, let’s bring you to another eating place near Grand Paragon – Century Street Food Court.

 


Century Street Food Court near KSL Mall

Century Street Food Court is not exactly a food court as you would imagine. Instead, it’s an open-air street food area similar to Cedar Point Food Centre. 

Century Street Food Court

Located near KSL City Mall (see location), this ‘food court’ was larger and more vibrant than Cedar Point. 

The place was well-ventilated and there was a stage that might have performances during certain day or time. Century Street Food Court sold a large variety of food from Taiwan and Korea cuisines, to Western and local food. 

Century Street Food Court
Well ventilated with a large performance stage

To be honest, I was still very full from the earlier bee hoon, but forced myself to eat again at around 10pm. These were our orders in anti-clockwise:

  • Claypot Chicken (rm10)
  • BBQ Chicken (rm13 for four chicken wings)
  • A large cup of carrot juice (rm8),
  • 10pcs of Satay Chicken (rm11)
  • Rojak (rm8)

Century Street Food Court

Update (Jun 2022): In subsequent visits, I also tried Lok Lok, Laksa La La and Takoyaki. The Lok Lok (about rm30 for 20 sticks) was really tasty. The Laksa La La was not bad too. 

Just a word of caution – please take care of your stomach. I ate so much (coupled with daily buffet breakfast) that I suffered heartburn the next day and was basically down and out for the next few days in JB.

Heartburn means I had to avoid acidic food, which comprises almost everything enjoyable, from tea and coffee to meat and everything else. LOL!

So my holiday was kind of spoilt with frequent bouts of sharp pain every few minutes, that carried on for two to three days. Do eat in moderation, k? =) Friendly reminder!

 


F&B near Grand Paragon Hotel

There are also plenty of F&B places within short driving distance away. Here’s an F&B cluster (see map).

Due to my heartburn, I could only take bland food such as fish soup at RMB Noodle House (长江一品粿条汤).

 RMB Noodle House

 RMB Noodle House JB
My plain and bland lunch – Black soya milk and Fish Porridge

Food was cheaper than Matang Seafood, but the soup base wasn’t as tasty.

 RMB Noodle House JB
The man’s order – Seafood bee hoon

If you have a health appetite, you can consider other highly-reviewed eateries within the cluster, such as:

  • Grill Bar Steakhouse
  • Moonlight Cake House
  • The Secret Cafe
  • Kim Chi & BBQ
  • Raw Brew & Dine
  • Yaoki Japanese

 


In Summary: Pros vs Cons

This sums up our 3 nights stay at Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru. As shared in part 1 of the review, we understood why online reviews were mixed. You really need to fit a certain type of traveler profile in order to enjoy your stay at this hotel. 

Let me help you recap the goods and bads of Grand Paragon Hotel before I share an overall recommendation. 

What’s Good? 

  1. Unblocked view
  2. Workspace was conducive 
  3. Convenient access to popular food centres (even during late nights)
  4. Walking distance to KSL City Mall
  5. Decent breakfast spread at an attractive price

What’s Bad?

  1. Poor and old toilet design
  2. Poor overall maintenance
  3. You may get a very different room without apologies
  4. Small pool with limited sun loungers
  5. Old gym equipment (old “many things”)
  6. No daily room-cleaning service

 


Recommendation: Should you stay at Grand Paragon Hotel Johor Bahru?

If you enjoy good access to food, be it popular food centres or affordable/decent hotel breakfast, you may enjoy your stay at Grand Paragon Hotel. It would also appeal to those who want to be able to walk to shopping mall, especially one where they can get their manicures or hair groomed at a good price. 

On the contrary, those who wish to spend a decent amount of time within the hotel room, or to use the gym or pool may not find Grand Paragon Hotel a good choice. For such profiles, I would recommend either Amari Hotel or Capri by Fraser JB. Rating: Rating: 3.5/5.

 

Hotel Info:

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