Monday, March 2, 2015

Eco Bed & Breakfast - Homestay in Johor Bahru

Sponsored Review: Being frequent travelers, keeping a look out of suitable locations to stay which encompass convenience, safety, comfort and price is important for our family. When Eco Bed & Breakfast invited us for a 1 night stay last month, we were extremely thrilled and looking forward to our first homestay experience in Johor Bahru.

The term "Bed & Breakfast" (B&B) means providing travelers with overnight accommodation and breakfast (only). Generally, guests stayed in the rooms within the private or family homes. It never occur to me to seek out B&B alternatives in Johor Bahru mainly due to safety reasons. However, I will beg to differ after our stay with Eco B&B.


I had a nice chat with Keith Lee, the co-founder of Eco B&B to understand what prompted him, a Singaporean to start a B&B business across the border. Despite being an avid traveler himself, for the past 40 years, Keith has never set his footprints in Johor Bahru due to safety concerns. Opportunity struck when Keith and his wife, Jewel decided to find a bigger unit to house their increasing number of cats. High property prices in Singapore prompted the couple to look into alternatives in JB. Amazingly, their first trip taking the public transport across the border set their minds to purchase a property in Setia Tropika after viewing the unit and surroundings. Within a short period of 1.5 years staying in their new residence with their 14 cats and 2 dogs, Keith and his wife have grown to love the food, culture, and environment in Johor Bahru.

With their new settlement came another opportunity. Keith rented another unit near his home to start his B&B business. Why B&B? After travelling to many countries, the 44 year-old Singaporean believes that residing in a homestay setting allows travelers to learn about the country's culture better. It is an enriching experience which will leave a more long-lasting impression. That is how Eco B&B's journey begin. Let's take a walk-through to see what it has to offer.

It took about 20 minutes drive to arrive at Setia Tropika from KSL Ctiy. To address our concerns on safety, Eco BnB resides in a gated and guarded residential area which puts our minds at ease. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Ah Jie who took us on a mini tour around the house.

Eco B&B as the name suggest, aims to reduce the carbon footprints and also to promote local crafts, food and culture. In contrast to the buzzing city center where many hotels are situated, Eco B&B is tucked away in a quiet estate where you can rest your body and mind.

I am a big fan of swings, hence I fell instantly in love with the white swing at the front porch. Families and friends can gather and sit on the benches and enjoy some chill out moments. Alternatively,  if you like to have a greener view, take a seat in Eco B&B's very own eco garden and have an alfresco dining with their homegrown tomatoes, red chilli and basil.

What's unique at Eco B&B is you feel the warmth of being back home upon entering the house. Beautiful hand-made crafts are also displayed at the front counter where you can make purchase if you like the craft works.

Taking a quick glance around, you will notice the entire house is painted white. From its exterior and interior walls to its furniture, the white furnishing gave the house a very bright, clean and neat look. I commended Keith for his courage and the amount of effort he must have put in to preserve its look and cleanliness. Keith happily revealed to us that it was Jewel's idea on having the "little white house" concept although he also shares the same concern. Jewel adores the colour White which symbolize purity and it's ability to make people feel refreshed and energized. The Little White House turns out to be a popular location for hosting wedding events/parties and a temporary home where the brides could stay while awaiting for their bridegrooms.

Even though only breakfast is served, feel free to help yourself with the drinks like coffee, tea and milo which is available throughout the day. Cups and sachets are placed at the counter and our kiddos are not shy when it comes to making their own cup of hot milo. ^_^

Eco B&B aims to be eco-friendly and conscious effort has been put in to reduce the carbon footprint by using locally sourced raw materials and products in making their furniture. Keith engaged a carpenter from Philippines which took him 6 months to handmade and complete most of the furniture in the house. The lovely swing, dining tables and chairs, front counter, benches and side tables, made from sturdy recycled wood were the evidence of months of hard work put into to saw, sand and piece everything together without the extensive use of machinery.  

Learn more about their handmade furniture here.

Apart from the cozy corners downstairs, what's more important and interesting are the room settings upstairs. There are 4 bedrooms on level 2 which comes with attached bathroom. Guests do not have to worry about sharing toilets and can enjoy the privacy behind the doors. Every room comes with free wifi and is equipped with a hairdryer, shampoo, body wash and fresh towels. However you need to bring your own toothpaste and toothbrush.

Eco B&B emphasizes on the comfort of their guests. Extensive research has been done to design unique bedding that boast both ergonomic and aesthetics. In conjunction to reduce carbon footprint, Eco B&B collaborated with a local manufacturer and got the experts who specialized in making window grills to help materialize their dream beds.

Symphony Room is the largest room in the house which has a king-sized bed and 2 super-single beds. It is perfect for 4 guests but spacious enough to host up to 7 guests. This room is perfect for families especially with young children. The main highlight in this room is the King-size Dreamweaver bed which has a rocking mechanism that helps to induce sleep, allowing you to feel refreshed and recharged.

Lullaby Room fits 2 guests comfortably and what's unique about this room is the circular queen-size lullaby bed. It is said that the swinging motion is hypnotic and addictive which will sweeps you into dreamland. Particularly suitable for those who have problems having a good night sleep. It was a pity that we did not stayed in this room else Hubby can testify as he has been experiencing difficulties having a restful night.

Ballad Room has 2 single beds which fits 2 guests comfortably but is able to host up to 3. This is the room where Hubby and I will be resting for the night! Their forest beds are the main highlight and I love the details put in to design the bed frame. When the night falls, the glow from the lampshade and shadows from the leaves make you feel as if you are within the wilderness! I thought it will be interesting if I hear the owls hooting. Nevertheless, a piece of soft music would be perfect for this room.

The only problem Hubby has with the forest beds is he keeps hitting his head on the bar. I guess the beds isn't quite suitable for our big man who is tall. After sharing with Keith, I learned that the initial intention was to have the bar frame raised higher. Unfortunately due to miscalculation in the construction, it was shorter than expected. Even so, the ballad room remains to be very popular especially with the Koreans.

Duet Room has two super single Dreamweaver beds built with steel and wood panelling which fits 2 guests comfortably. Similar to Symphony room, the rocking mechanism helps to coo you into dreamland. Denver and Gladys reserved this room without hesitation as it definitely looks like a fun place to be in. You can choose to lock the sides to stop the rocking or release it to enjoy a night of gentle swing.

As parents, we are concerned that the children will hurt their feet when the beds are rocking if they are not cautious. On a safe note, I thought it would be best to use the Dreamweaver beds with adult supervision. ^_^

If you notice, there is no television within the house. This was a deliberate direction by Keith as he wishes his guests to move away from gadgets and be fully engaged in quality family time. I couldn't agree more on getting the children away from their handhelds and be more involved in activities. It would be lovely to finally have a game of monopoly or board games on our next visit. ^_^

It was a night to remember but that's not all! We will be sharing more about Eco B&B breakfast on our next post. Stay tune. :)

More photos at BPDGTravels photo album.

Eco Bed & Breakfast
Address: No. 42, Jalan Setia Tropika 9/6, Taman Setia Tropika, Kempas 81200, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Disclosure: Sponsored Review - We were invited for one night stay with Eco B&B.  All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. 

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Marie Beausoleil said...

What a gorgeous place and an inspiration, too! I doubt I'll ever get there - I'm quite a homebody, staying at home in Nova Scotia, Canada - but it would be so nice to recreate some of that at home.

Unknown said...

Wow, this is an interesting one! Gorgeous photos you have, too. The B&B seems like an interesting alternative to hotels in JB if planning a weekend trip to Legoland, do some shopping at Premium outlet and the megamarts :)

Ling Tan

Phoebe said...

Thanks for liking. :) Eco BnB is a nice and relaxing homestay and definitely a great alternative if you are looking to a different experience in JB. :)


May said...

Do you get the whole house to yourself or it's a shared accommodation with other guests? Housekeeping? Reception? Laundry services? I like it but sobs still not bet keen to visit Johor for safety reasons like you mentioned

Unknown said...

Wah you and your hubby are really JB experts - from food, night markets and lodging, you know them all! This looks like a very nice place for a short getaway. Thanks for sharing!

The "Perfect" Father said...

With the ringgit this weak now, it might be cheaper for a visit now! :)

Unknown said...

I personally prefer hotels to B&Bs, but those beds are so cool! Hotels in JB are so cheap though, not sure if I would ever be tempted to try B&Bs in JB... I usually only think of B&Bs in cities where hotels are expensive.. :p

Phoebe said...

We got 2 rooms for our family.. the living , dining and outside garden is accessible for all stay in guests. We can make milo or tea too. There is a room downstairs where the staff stays. Boss's house is just nearby... :) Reception yes.. there will be someone around when we 'check-in'.. the house will be cleaned too. Hmm Laundry service I'm not sure cos we didnt wash any clothing.

Phoebe said...

Cos we have not been taking flight elsewhere and kena 'stuck' in JB. :)

Phoebe said...

It is definitely cheaper but have to be careful with safety..

Phoebe said...

Oh yes.. their beds are an attraction. At least the kids thought it was super fun to sleep on. :) It is pretty refreshing to stay in BnB after staying in hotels. Another alternative for families who wish to try something different. ^_^

Waiwai Leung said...

Didn't know that there are B&Bs in JB! It is an interesting way to explore JB!

Unknown said...

Amazingly beautiful beds at this home stay! Are there other interesting things to do while staying there?

Shirley @ SAys! Happy Mums

Unknown said...

What interesting concepts for their rooms. I've always enjoyed my B&B stays in Australia and in Taiwan (minsus) as I find more more personalized and warm to their guests.

Unknown said...

Looks like a wonderful place for a weekend staycation. Thanks for sharing.

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