Not to be confused with the other three AmanSari properties in Masai, Kota Tinggi and Pandan City, AmanSari City Centre is the latest of the group of hotels, only opened last year in July 2012. The location is very convenient on Jalan Wong Ah Fook, just five minutes away from the City Square mall and the immigration centre where you can take a bus into Singapore.
This is a 3 star hotel, and they boast of many facilities, including a spa, cafe, lounge, 24-hour reception, rooms for the handicapped, a meeting room and high-speed wireless internet. According to the driver of a cab we took from Singapore to Johor Bahru, the hotel used to be an office building.
My friends and I stayed overnight here over the weekend of Thaipusam so we could visit Singapore for a day. Because we arrived at Johor Bahru way too early to check-in, we paid a deposit and told them that we would be back late in the night, and we were assured that our rooms would be reserved for us. A long day in Singapore later, we arrived at the hotel to find that our rooms had been cancelled, and the receipt for our deposit only said RM62 instead of the RM200 my friend paid in advance.
Despite this, the receptionist was helpful and did her best to fix the situation. She upgraded our rooms and contacted her manager to sort things out. We later discovered that the receptionist who served my friend earlier that morning had made a mistake with the booking, that resulted in them not reserving our rooms.
We had originally booked three of their cheapest rooms, but the room that I ended up staying in was a X Deluxe room with twin beds, which was easily RM30 - RM40 more expensive nightly than what we were paying, so that was good. Located on the eighth floor, the room was spacious and comfortable.
However, it was a little strange that there was no included mini-fridge in the room, though the website said that all rooms would have one. That wasn't the only thing that didn't match up. My friend called reception to ask for a hair-dryer, and they didn't have any available; nor did they have any extra pillows for my friends who were staying three to a room (the room only had two pillows).
The view from the window wasn't that great - my friends staying on another floor got a window overlooking a construction site, which was a bit noisy during the daytime. The included bathroom came with a sink, toilet and shower, but the water heating was a bit wonky during our stay. It also looked like it had been renovated in a hurry, with some paint stains on the tiles that nobody seemed to bother removing.
All rooms come with wireless internet, but you have to go down to reception for the password and only one device can be connected at a time. The first two hours are free, though anything longer than that and you'll have to pay for it.
All the rooms came with a complimentary breakfast buffet, so I went down to check it out. The hotel restaurant is located just opposite the lobby and reception, with glass walls that look out onto the busy main road. The breakfast buffet started at 8 am, though I arrived at 10 am. They roped it off at 10.30 am, signalling the end of their breakfast menu. The selection was reasonable, with options for soup, porridge, cereals, salads, fried noodles, nasi lemak, pancakes, sausages, fries and potato wedges. The nasi lemak was quite nice, though the pancakes and sausages were not very good.
Overall, the service was so-so and the fact that they cancelled our rooms was a big disappointment. It was good that they upgraded us though. The facilities were just alright and nothing to show off. However, the rates are reasonable and it was the convenient location that drew us to it in the first place. But after what we went through, we won't be coming back here again.