Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah state located in the north of Borneo. With pristine beaches and lush tropical rain forests it is a nature lovers paradise. Climb Mt Kinabalu, visit the Orang-Utans or spend your days relaxing in a resort.
People often ask me where is the best place to stay in Kota Kinabalu. With over 10 years of experience in the travel industry negotiating hotel rates and producing travel brochures I have seen many of the resorts. Below is the resorts I can highly recommend.
Langkah Syabas Beach Resort – 3 star
A perfect beach front property if you are on a budget, located 25 minutes from the city centre. It is a small property run by an Australian, they are very warm and welcoming. It feels more like a home stay with sheep plus they make their own cheese which is delicious! It is a small resort and the rooms are clean and comfortable with your own verandah.
The resort also runs their own tours with sunset cruises or you can go over to a nearby island for a BBQ dinner. Relax by the pool in the peaceful natural surrounds and enjoy the friendly atmosphere at the open aired restaurant and bar.
The Magellan Sutera – 5 star
The Magellan Sutera Resort is a large property located close to the city centre. Guests can use the facilities at both the Magellan Sutera Resort and The Pacific Hotel which is located next door.
There is a long list of facilities at this property that will keep everyone entertained. Have a hit of golf, play ten pin bowling, tennis, squash, watch a movie at the cinema or relax in the day spa. There are several pools plus you can also swim laps in the olympic sized swimming pool.
The rooms are modern, take in views of the garden or looking out over the South China sea. It is a great property for families with so many attractions.
With 15 restaurants and 2 bars you are spoiled for choice. The sunsets over the water are magical. Get a prime position to watch the changing colour of the sky as the sun sets. It is the perfect way to end the day.
Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru – 5 star
Located just 10 minutes from the city centre but you will feel like you are miles away. The resort has a waterfront location spread out over 25 acres with gorgeous tropical gardens. There is an array of restaurants and a drink at the sunset bar is a must. I have never felt so relaxed after a session at the CHI Spa. The spa village is located on an island connected to the hotel via a private causeway. Once you are in the spa village you will feel like you are a million miles away.
A large selection of rooms to suit your needs with a mountain or sea view. A popular hotel for families with lots of activities for the whole family. Kids can play on the water slides or enjoy all the activities at the kids club.
This resort has everything you need and there is no need to leave!
Shangri-la’s Rasa Ria & Spa – 5 star
Located about 30 minutes from the city centre with Mount Kinabalu in the distance. The resort is surrounded by 400 acres of tropical forest and has a beachfront location.
There is a Garden and Ocean wing with a large variety of room types. The rooms are modern but have a Malaysian feel to them. If you are looking for an extra special stay then I recommend the Ocean wing with a private outdoor bathtub to relax in while you soak up the ocean view.
A nature reserve is located on the property where you can meet the Borneo wildlife and see native plants. Animals that have been rescued from the Wildlife Department and relocated to the reserve. Until just recently there were Orang-Utans however they have been moved to another location. It is a beautiful tropical location with a little sky bridge that offers stunning views over the ocean.
It is a great resort for families or couples with large swimming pools and lots of activities for everyone including tours plus you can play a round of golf.
** Some of the links in this post are affiliated links. If you click to book the accommodation, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra. **