You’re more likely to meet business travellers than tourists in JB and the majority of accommodation choices cater to that crowd. Very few backpacker or budget options are in the downtown area (and some of those are “by the hour”). On weekends, it’s wise to book ahead as rooms fill with shoppers and foodies from Singapore or families visiting Legoland. We’ve concentrated our picks on the area nearest the causeway where, as well as being convenient for onward travel, is where most sights and eateries are found. Free WiFi is included in all options listed although it may not be as speedy as across the strait. Most hotels require a cash key-deposit when you check in, usually around 50 ringgit. Walk-in rates quoted are generally higher than discounts on booking sites, so shop around for deals.
The pick of the crop along Jalan Meldrum, a busy but somewhat seedy street lined with the bulk of JB’s midrange hotels, is Belllo Hotel. Squeezed between its less regal-looking neighbours, the white refurbished 1959 pseudo-Edwardian multi-storey offers 49 bright and comfortable rooms, with a security guard on the front door keeping the riff-raff out. We haven’t made a typo: Belllo is... Read our full review of Belllo Hotel.
For a smart and comfortable business hotel, DoubleTree ticks all the boxes with the bonus of a fabulous resort-style swimming pool to cool down from the tropical heat. And if you visit mid-week, you’ll likely get all to yourself. Well located at the northern end of town overlooking the historic Church of the Immaculate Conception, the plush contemporary-styled rooms in this Hilton branded... Read our full review of DoubleTree by Hilton.
Just over the expressway from central JB, a five-minute walk from the malls, Insta Hotel sits amid the condos and construction of this developing area. Although they assured us that the name is not a reference to Instagram, the stylishly hip hotel wouldn’t be out of place on your feed. Opened in mid-2015, the triple-storey block offers a mix of rooms from smallish and windowless to spacious... Read our full review of Insta Hotel.
Almost hidden under JB expressway, the four-storey cream and white colonial-style Grand Jade Hotel, sits not so grandly amid condos and construction, a five-minute walk from the downtown area. This boutique hotel offers simple but charming individually styled Peranakan-influenced rooms. Smart, compact interiors are more understated and stylish than you would expect from the somewhat glitzy... Read our full review of The Grand Jade Hotel.
In the heart of the heritage old town centre, The Replacement Lodge and Kitchen has served delicious food since 2015, and in 2016 upped the ante, opening the “Lodge” part of the establishment. Two double-storey renovated shophouses are home to the cafe downstairs, and up a steep staircase the six minimalist-styled rooms upstairs. As is the local custom, take off your shoes and store in the... Read our full review of The Replacement Lodge and Kitchen.
Backpacker digs are a little thin on the ground in downtown JB. However, if your budget is tight and a short stroll doesn’t faze you, Memory Guesthouse, two kilometres from the middle of town (JB Sentral) is the only relatively central place on offer. In Kampung Mahmodiah, near the Mahmodiah Muslim Cemetery and Royal Mausoleum, the suburban house provides basic fan-cooled dorm beds and... Read our full review of Memory Guesthouse .
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