Home > Travel > Check in: Here’s why Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is the place to be on your next vacation
Check in: Here’s why Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is the place to be on your next vacation

If you grew up in the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, sometimes booking a plane ticket away from our daily routine is exactly what our souls need. If you’ve had Kota Kinabalu on your travel wishlist for a while now, go ahead and secure a three-hour flight to the city, and check in to the brand-new Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu.

Recently, we travelled to the charming capital city of Sabah in East Malaysia. Formerly known as Jesselton in 1899, the charming town was renamed to Kota Kinabalu as a homage to the glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu, in 1967. Today, the ever-growing tourist destination has attracted locals and international travellers for its enchanting mountains, cityscapes and tropical islands. Kota Kinabalu is also home to the freshest seafood and best diving spots.

How to get to Kota Kinabalu:

The best way to get to the city is by booking a flight, which lands at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

There are direct international flights from Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Taipei, Japan and Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu.

Book here

Here’s what went down during our stay in Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu:

As a first-timer to the idyllic city, it was fascinating to witness the beauty of the breathtaking islands and take in the scenic views of the hills and mountains. Luckily, our recent stay at the Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu allowed us to experience both landscapes daily. The next time you decide to visit Kota Kinabalu, keep the hotel in mind. Here you can unwind and enjoy the best of urban life and mother nature.

Nestled in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, the Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is the first hotel of its kind in Malaysia and Southeast Asia under the Hyatt Centric group. Offering easy access to attractions and shopping, the hotel is also conveniently situated 20 minutes away from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and a brisk five-minute walk from the Jesselton Point Pier.

Designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, the 222-room hotel incorporates the beauty of the Borneo forest and rocky mountains with elements such as bamboo, water features and seashells in its architecture. From the lobby and lounge to the guestrooms and all-day dining area, you will notice that every concept brings the heart and essence of Sabah to your stay.

Influenced by local traditions and surrounded by Sabah’s pristine nature, each guestroom lobby and corridor are adorned with rich patterns and tones inspired by the ethnic group Kadazan Dusun culture and its traditional clothing. Once you’ve reached your floor, look out for the signage made of seashells and look down to examine the yellow and black patterns on the carpet flooring – doesn’t it remind you of the alluring Kadazan weaving patterns?

Maintaining its connections with Sabah’s culture, the establishment showcases an array of art pieces by local artists with intricate wood carvings, ceramics, mosaics and collage work. During your stay, take the time to explore the hotel in your free time and immerse yourself in the finest art collections that beautifully elevate every corner.

Apart from the alluring interior and decor, stepping inside the hotel room offers an essence of zen. What sets this hotel apart is the opportunity to experience your picture-perfect view, where guests can choose between the hill and sea views.

We stayed in the 1 King Bed Sea View, and let’s say our stay was everything and more. Ideal for solo travellers, families and couples, the room evokes a Japanese minimalist interior aesthetic with tranquillity in mind. Splashed in neutral colour tones, our hotel room offers a perfect balance of nature and heritage-infused touches. To up the ante, you can spot mesmerising art pieces that pay homage to Sabah. Our wall design features the majestic Mount Kinabalu by Regev Amrani in our space.

The inviting space offers amenities like a 55″ Smart HDTV, Nespresso coffee maker, minibar, and complimentary snacks. That’s not all. The modern bathroom has a spacious vanity table, plush bathrobes and a walk-in rain shower. The best part? Each hotel room is equipped with a six-sqm private balcony. Luckily for us, we got to wake up to a breathtaking view of the sea, and there’s nothing like enjoying a slow morning while basking in the morning sun on our cosy lounge chair with a morning cuppa.

While the bed may look tempting – like falling into a puffy cloud – we appreciate the separation between work and leisure. If you’re travelling with a partner, you won’t need to fight for space as there’s plenty of room to lounge and get work done when needed.

We suggest booking the King Suite and King Sea View Suite for families. Other rooms available include two twin beds, with a choice of the sea view and hill view.

Explore the rooms here.

What can I do in Kota Kinabalu?

Still trying to figure out where to go? Don’t fret, because the hotel staff will guide you to the best spots and organise an excellent itinerary for you. Depending on your dream adventure, guests can explore the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park from Jesselton Point Pier for watersports and snorkelling or explore the ultimate attraction of all: Mount Kinabalu. If it’s your first time, plan wisely and pack the proper gear.

For the thrill-seekers, go ahead and embark on an adventure of white-water rafting on the Kiuli River. If you’re looking for a soul-searching escapade to the wondrous rainforests, book a tour of the Murug Turug Waterfalls.

However, if water sports activities are off your itinerary, take a street art walking tour curated by artist Jared Abdul Rahman. Here you will immerse yourself in the vibrant yet creative artworks scattered around the city centre at the Lorong Ewan, Vanishing Wall, SAG Outdoor Art Space, Wisma Sabah, Hyatt Regency, Lorong Bank and Ang’s Hotel.

Don’t be shy to ask the hotel staff. They’ll be more than happy to sort you out!

After a long day of relaxation and exploration, it’s time to eat. What’s on the menu?

Head up to the 20th floor and enjoy the finest Asian-meets-Western dishes at the ON22 restaurant. Surrounded by the heart-thrilling view of the sea and hills, the spacious modern dining space offers an exuberant yet enjoyable dining experience.

Thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows and energising ambience, the ON22 offers three dining sections for diners to enjoy their mouth-watering meal: Sea-forest dining, wood garden and dry garden. Here you will find influences by Kota Kinabalu’s beauty of the sea, lush greenery from the tropical forest and rocky peaks of Mount Kinabalu – take your pick.

Helmed by Chef Jun and his team, you will find hearty sharing plates and smaller plates, along with delicious treats to indulge in. Our highlights include the lamb shank rendang, grilled salmon served with laksa sauce, grilled chilli lobster pasta, wok-fried sea bass, cheeky masaman (braised beef cheek served with potato and shallots), creamy butter prawns and curry cauliflower. Order a side of their sambal fried rice to accompany these mouth-watering mains.

For sides, we recommend ordering the szechuan brussels sprouts and charred baby romaine lettuce with whole grain honey, mustard dressing and parmesan cheese. End your gastronomic journey with decadent treats. Start by ordering the cacao and coconut dessert (glazed chocolate ganache with coconut ice cream, wafer and creme patisserie) and the mille fuille (matcha green tea and white chocolate).

After a satisfying meal, let’s take our conversations to ON23 Sky Bar.

We have reached our last and final stop: the magnificent ON23 rooftop bar. Conveniently located above the restaurant, you can either take the scenic route through the curved centrepiece staircase or use the elevators.

Personally, we love climbing up the spell-binding staircase because the view from the top is worth the climb. Just like reaching the peak of a rocky mountain, the rooftop bar charms you with its scenic view of the hills and the seas. ON23 incorporates a light-filled ambience thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Make your way there before sundown, and be prepared to be awestruck by Kota Kinabalu’s breathtaking sunsets. Throughout our trip, we were blessed with good weather as the shades of red, orange, blue and purple painted the sky in the evening. As you admire the starry night sky, go ahead and order a cocktail or two.

If you’re still hungry, don’t skip on the curry cauliflower and Korean fried chicken – a heavenly combo with your desired sips. Trust us on this. Adjacent to the ON23 Sky Bar, hotel guests can take a dip in the 25-metre rooftop double-edged infinity swimming pool or sneak a workout at the 24-hour fitness centre.

With a goal to offer guests a homey atmosphere with stillness in mind, we can definitely vouch that our stay checked all of the above. It’s clear that not only does Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu want to provide a relaxing experience, but it also serves as an ideal home base for all travellers while encouraging them to uncover the beauty of Sabah.

Book your ideal getaway at Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu here. 

Address: 18 Jalan Haji Saman, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 88000

Contact: +601548741234 or email hyattcentrickotakinabalu@hyatt.com


All images are credited to Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu

Check in: Here’s why Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is the place to be on your next vacation

Amalina Anuar

Senior Writer

Amalina seeks joy in writing the ins and outs of the fashion, dining and beauty world. When she’s not stalking for her next handbag purchase, you can find her binge-watching the latest tv series, testing out beauty products or singing her heart out at concerts. As a part-time spin instructor, she uses music as a quick escape, which explains why she’s always bopping her head to a good tune, no matter where she is. Amalina is a fashion journalism graduate from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco and has always loved exploring big cities.

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