The state capital of Sabah on the island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a gateway city to the magnificent wilderness and wildlife that call the island home. Among the main drawcards, just outside the city, are the orangutan-rehabilitation centres and hiking trails to Mt Kinabalu, which draw visitors year after year.
Just a short flight from Malaysia, the city itself features an intriguing mix of great local food, multiculturalism thanks to the locals as well as large numbers of international expats, and modern shopping centres. It’s a great base from which to enjoy the urban surrounds and explore the wilderness beyond the city limits.
In Kota Kinabalu you’ll find family-friendly resorts, luxurious five-star hotels and secluded eco-conscious island retreats, ensuring the ideal accommodation for all age groups and budgets.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort
Perched on the hillside among 400 hectares of tropical rainforest overlooking Pantai Dalit Beach, the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort is pure bliss. Home to a championship golf course, the Nature Interpretation Centre and a long list of other eco-, family- and adventure-friendly activities, you’ll find plenty to see and do here.
Go horseriding along the beach, spend some time deep-sea fishing or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment in the Spa at Dalit Bay.
Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort
Just a short distance from the city centre, this Shangri-La resort is nothing short of paradise. Set among calming tropical gardens, the resort’s Sunset Beach offers a spectacular vantage point from which to take in the famous Borneo sunset
Complete your luxurious experience by winding down with a treatment at Chi, The Spa, where ancient Asian healing philosophies are the order of the day.
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
The city’s best shopping, restaurant and entertainment precincts surround Le Meridien, a luxury hotel right in the heart of Kota Kinabalu.
An ideal base for discovering this city’s unique vibe, Le Meridien offers all of the amenities of a resort hotel, including a variety of restaurants and bars; a large lagoon pool; and friendly, make-you-feel-at-home service.
Magellan Sutera Hotel
Right on the shores of the South China Sea, the Magellan Sutera Hotel sits within the 155-hectare Sutera Harbour Resort. This 5-star hotel features an impressively grand lobby, traditional timber furnishings, carved artworks and 456 luxurious rooms and suites.
Hotel guests can take advantage of the myriad resort amenities, including a 27-hole golf course, 12-lane bowling alley, swimming pools, sporting facilities, spas and 15 on-site restaurants and bars.
Four Points By Sheraton
Located on the shores of the harbour in the centre of Sandakan, Sabah’s second largest city, this resort makes for a great base from which to take full advantage of Borneo’s famous flora and fauna.
Don’t miss the nearby and renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, from which orangutans are reintroduced to wild rainforest. Back at the hotel, make yourself at home in the comfortable rooms, and enjoy use of the 24-hour fitness centre, also-24-hour business centre, infinity pool and on-site dining options.
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Pacific Sutera Hotel
This contemporary hotel, the other five-star accommodation within the Sutera Harbour Resort, boasts 500 rooms that offer sweeping views of either the resort’s adjacent golf course or the azure waters and tropical islands in the distance.
Food and drink on your mind? Enjoy lunch at the hotel’s Silk Garden, alongside lushly landscaped gardens and ponds, or sip a cocktail from Waves swim-up bar. For the ultimate in relaxation, book in for a facial or other pampering treatment at the hotel’s Chavana Spa.
Gaya Island Resort
Really get away from it all at Gaya Island Resort. This secluded sanctuary just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu is accessible only by boat and is surrounded by the magnificent dense rainforest and blue seas of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
Stay in one of the resort’s idyllic hillside villas, choose from restaurant or private dining and enjoy a dip in the lap pool. (There’s a wading pool for the kids, too.)
Browse the Chimes shop, where you’ll find gifts designed to satisfy the five senses, or drop in to the resort library for some on-island beach reads.
Gayana Island Eco Resort
Imagine waking up to the sound of the ocean right below your bed. Staying in one of the 52 overwater villas at Gayana Island Eco Resort turns that daydream into a reality.
Relax in your villa with breathtaking views of Mt Kinabalu in the distance, or take to the water for some canoeing, kayaking or snorkelling. This is the only eco-resort in the vicinity with an on-site Marine Ecology Research Centre.
The Klagan Regency Kota Kinabalu
The Klagan Regency Kota Kinabalu sits within the 1Borneo Hypermall – the largest shopping centre in Borneo. Enjoy fusion cuisine at the on-site restaurant or take advantage of 24-hour room service. Other amenities include a pool, fitness centre, kids’ club and sauna.
Langkah Syabas Beach Resort
Located outside Kota Kinabalu in the quaint seaside village of Kampung Kinarut, the Langkah Syabas Beach Resort is a peaceful beachside retreat to suit singles, couples and families. Stay in one of 25-chalet-style units, each with its own private verandah.
Wine and dine at the open-air restaurant, which overlooks the resort’s gardens and the sea. Laze by the pool, or hire snorkels and masks for some under-the-sea sightings.