Borneo's Sabah is one of the most beautiful corners of the world, endowed with far more than its fair share of natural wonders and a spectacular backdrop for a bit of an adventure. There's beauty from top to bottom, from the peak of breathtaking, but achievable, Mt Kinabalu, to the beautiful reefs under the water level - suitable for beginners as well as experienced divers.

As well as being ripe for adventure, this is also a spectacular place to relax, and some of the best places to stay in Sabah are the ones which take best advantage of their idyllic surrounds. And these are found at all points along the price scale from guesthouses in the mountains to luxurious resorts right on the water.

Consult our Guru's list of the best places to stay in Sabah

Sabah's natural beauty doesn't stop with the landscape, Sabah is home to one of the world's best orang-utan rehabilitation centres, where you can see these ginger fellas having a whale of a time in their natural habitat. Sabah is also home to the charming doe-eyed loris and some of the world's most colourful butterflies. And just off the coast are a number of islands known as nesting grounds for hawksbill and green turtles.

Sabah also has a number of rare plant species - and pretty spectacular ones at that! On the slopes of Mt. Kinabalu you'll also find an impressive orchid garden and Sabah is also home to the raffelisa flower - the world's largest bloom, capable of producing flowers up to a metre in diameter!

Then there's the beaches and islands, off which you'll find some of the world's best diving and snorkelling - the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park boasts sea turltes, reef sharks and manta rays. But the beaches themselves are beautiful too. Even the ones populated by cheeky monkeys trying to steal your lunch.

Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu is colourful, with plenty of great places to eat and some fun markets. But there are plenty of fun smaller centres to consider as well, if you're looking for a quieter retreat.

The Best Places to Stay in Sabah

The Best Places to Stay in Sabah for a Relaxing Beach Break

  • The Gaya Island Resort is a collection of fantastically canopied rooms and suites set in amongst the mangroves and rainforest, right beside its own private beach. This is a great place to bring your family to experience some of the wonders of Sabah's rainforests - there's great birdwatching within the grounds of the hotel. There's also a luxurious spa, a good seafood restaurant and a kid's club.

The Best Places to Stay in Sabah for a Special Occasion

  • The Gayana Eco Resort is an eco-resort associated with a marine research centre, so as well as enjoying wooden villas on stilts which hover over the aqua sea below, you're also helping to fund local marine research. There's also a dive school and a fabulous spa and a very good Malayan restaurant.
  • Bunga Raya is another collection of wooden villas on stilts, sitting out over beautiful waters and surrounded by jungle and white, sandy beach. This is the perfect honeymoon spot, with luxurious suites and villas, a 25 metre infinity pool and an excellent malayan restaurant.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Sabah for you?

  1. Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Sabah,
  2. refine your list to focus on the best places to stay in Kota Kinabalu,
  3. expand your search to the best places to stay in Malaysia,
  4. or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
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The best hotels in Sabah

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  • Gaya Island Resort

    Kota Kinabalu (Pulau Gaya)

    Fantastic canopied rooms and suites set amongst mangroves and rainforest with its own private beach and pontoon. Luxurious Village Spa, fresh seafood restaurant, and chic suites with all the mod cons. Kids club too. Perfect for a beach paradise, romantic, and family friendly.

    120 rooms from $193
    Beach Life
    Birdwatching  -  Rainforest surround the hotel, and plays home to many birds and wildlife.
  • Gayana Eco Resort

    Kota Kinabalu (Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman)

    An eco resort with wooden stilted villas that hover over the aqua sea below. Luxury sophisticated interiors with all the mod cons, including DVD players. Some interconnecting rooms. Marine research centre, diving school, fabulous spa, and excellent Malay restaurant. Families and nature lovers.

    52 rooms from $213
    Eco  -  Ecology is at the heart of this resort.
    Eco break
    Spa breaks
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Kiwi Collection
  • Bunga Raya

    Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu,)

    A laid back tropical paradise. Wooden villas on stilts, white sand beaches, promenades, luscious jungle, marine life, and a Borneo-style spa. Superbly luxurious suites, two to three in each villa, all the mod cons, a 25 metre infinity pool, and an excellent Malay restaurant. Honeymoon perfect!

    48 rooms from $280
    Honeymoons  -  An ultimate beach, jungle, spa location for honeymooners.
    Spa breaks
    Beach Life
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
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