Kota Kinabalu


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About Kota Kinabalu

Gateway to all the wonders of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is a balmy, tropical city, ripe for explorers and adventurers, but also for those who just want a beautiful backdrop against which to relax. The best places to stay can generally be found along the coast, overlooking the South China Sea, or else on the islands in the city’s harbour. The five islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park are especially beautiful and are just a short speedboat ride from town. When looking for the best accommodation in Kota Kinabalu our Gurus recommend choosing one of the villa properties, nestled within the jungle, ideal for a relaxing stay.

One of the reasons Kota Kinabalu is such a great place to come to relax is the weather. It’s a balmy 22-32 degrees centigrade every day making this a great choice for a beach holiday. However, other lures are the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Poring Hot Springs, the Orchid Gardens of Mt. Kinabalu (and Mt. Kinabalu itself), Lok Wildlife Park and the local stilt villages.

With such a lot to see and do in the area many of the best places to stay in Kota Kinabalu are quickly snapped up so do plan ahead and book early.

The Best Places to stay in Kota Kinabalu

For a romantic beach break

  • The Bunga Raya Resort is a collection of wooden villas on stilts sitting out over beautiful waters and surrounded by jungle and white, sandy beaches. This is the perfect honeymoon spot, with luxurious suites and villas, a 25 metre infinity pool and an excellent Malaysian restaurant.

For families

  • The Gaya Island Resort is a collection of fantastically canopied rooms and suites set in amongst the mangroves and rainforest - right beside a 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.

For an eco-retreat

  • The Gayana Eco Resort is associated with a marine research centre, so as well as staying in a wooden villa on stilts hovering over the aqua sea below, you're helping to fund local marine research. There's a dive school, fabulous spa and a very good Malaysian restaurant.

For an Apartment or Villa

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Kota Kinabalu airport is Malaysia’s second busiest, but most visitors arrive via Hong Kong, Singapore, Perth or Kuala Lumpur.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
  • Kota Kinabalu is protected from the worst storms of the ‘wet season’, so it’s considered a year round destination. But it’s still probably best to avoid visiting between July and September if you can. Borneo is the kind of place where the rain comes in downpours and clears quickly, so even if you travel during the wet season it’s probably not going to put too much of a dampener on things.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Kota Kinabalu

Best Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

  • Gaya Island Resort Kota Kinabalu (Pulau Gaya) 120 rooms from £150

    Beach Life
    Birdwatching  -  Rainforest surround the hotel, and plays home to many birds and wildlife.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViews

    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. See More

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  • Gayana Eco Resort Kota Kinabalu (Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman) 52 rooms from £166

    Eco  -  Ecology is at the heart of this resort.
    Spa breaks
    Eco break
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGarden
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Kiwi Collection

    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. See More

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  • Bunga Raya Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu,) 48 rooms from £218

    Honeymoons  -  An ultimate beach, jungle, spa location for honeymooners.
    Beach Life
    Spa breaks
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViews
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

    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! See More

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