While most travellers to Malaysia will flock to Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Malacca, get away from the crowds and head to Kota Kinabalu!
Known affectionately as ‘KK’ by locals, which makes this city so special is that it lies within Malaysian Borneo. You’ll get a mix of traditional Malaysian culture and the big city feels, and it’s the perfect place to relax beachside or embark on a trip into the jungle to meet the critically endangered orangutans!
With unique designs, personal guest service, great locations; maybe one of the boutique hotels in Kota Kinabalu will be the perfect place to set the mood for your next holiday.
Set the mood for your getaway when you book a stay at one of Kota Kinabalu’s coolest boutique hotels!
Read on to discover Kota Kinabalu’s best boutique hotels:
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
While the Shangri-La is one of the more affordable boutique hotels in Malaysian Borneo, it also offers the next level of service. With a private jetty, a healing spa, and a number of trendy restaurants and bars within the property, you could easily spend your whole trip indulging in the luxury.
One of the most appealing features is that you are about 10 minutes from the city centre, close enough to be in the action but far enough away to enjoy a peaceful escape from life’s hustle and bustle.
Address: No. 20, Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, 88100 Kota Kinabalu
Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu
I chose to spend most of my stay in Kota Kinabalu at Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu for one reason: location, location, location!
Located on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephan, this hotel is located close to the night food market, the handicraft market and the waterfront. Many of the plush rooms come with views of the waterfront, so even if you choose to order room service one night, be sure to sit by your window and enjoy a picturesque sunset while you enjoy your room.
With comfy rooms, a great swimming pool, and pool-side restaurant on-site, your trip to Kota Kinabalu will be made easy when you stay in this centrally located hotel.
Address: Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Sinsuran Kompleks, 88000 Kota Kinabalu
Sky Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Featuring a fitness centre and open deck with outdoor infinity pool on the rooftop, Sky Hotel offers comfortable air-conditioned studios and apartments with free WiFi.
Each studio and apartment features a kitchen or kitchenette with self-catering facilities, a refrigerator and an electric kettle. Seating and dining areas, a flat-screen cable TV and safe are included.
Kota Kinabalu Waterfront and KK Time Square are a 5-minute drive away. Sky Hotel is 800 m from Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and around a 10-minute walk from Gaya Street where a weekly arts & craft market is held each Sunday.
The hotel also offers guests a free shuttle bus to town and a shuttle to the airport (for a small fee).
Address: Lorong Kemajuan, Karamunsing, 88000 Kota Kinabalu
Little Gaya Hotel
Truthfully, you might not spot this hotel when you first pass by. Overshadowed by the neighbouring Mercure, this small locally-run hotel is set amidst a row of shops and bars.
If you choose to give this Malaysian boutique hotel a chance, you’ll find a clean contemporary hotel and a great place to rest your head where staff really do care if you have a good stay!
The beautifully designed rooms are simple in nature (some come without windows, so be sure to ask for one!), and there’s free WiFi available.
The location is also excellent. A 4-minute walk to Suria Sabah – one of the largest malls in the city – and within walking distance to the Atkison Clock Tower and Jesselton Point. Highly recommended!
Address: 1st floor, Lot 52, Jalan Gaya, Kota Kinabalu
Zara’s Boutique Hotel
If you are looking for cute, cheery, – and most importantly – a very good price, look no further than Zara’s Boutique Hotel.
Located opposite the Sutera Harbour & Golf Club golf course – with some rooms overlooking the course and water beyond, you can hit the green for a few rounds in the morning, before walking to the city centre or exploring some of the best things to do in Kota Kinabalu!
Hotel facilities are basic (no gym!), but the location and price certainly make up for it. Also, the hotel is located less than 10-minutes from Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
Address: Harbour City, Jalan Pantai Baru, Sembulan, 88100 Kota Kinabalu
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