Exactly Where To Stay In Kota Kinabalu [2024]

Published Categorized as Kota Kinabalu
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Sunset in Kota Kinabalu
Sunset in Kota Kinabalu

Travelling to Kota Kinabalu? Fantastic! It’s a great part of the world.

Now you know you’re going, the next step is to book the best hotel in Kota Kinabalu city for you. That’s what we will help you with here.

Kota Kinabalu is a great place to visit. It’s known for its lively markets, gorgeous nearby islands and, of course, for being the gateway to the world-renowned Kinabalu National Park where Mt. Kinabalu, one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia, is found.

When it comes to looking for Kota Kinabalu accommodation, its awesome as well. There is such a great range here and your money goes a long way. Even 5-star luxury hotels are relatively affordable or stay in your own private pool villa!

Best Hotel in Kota Kinabalu

Don’t have time to read the whole article? The best choice is the awesome Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa.

Click here to book it now >>

In this article, I will help you find the best resort in Kota Kinabalu no matter what your budget or what exactly you are looking for.

So whether you are looking for Kota Kinabalu resorts 5 stars, a hotel near Kota Kinabalu airport or the best budget hotel in Kota Kinabalu town area, we have you covered with the best place to stay in Kota Kinabalu for you.

Here is our list of the best Kota Kinabalu accommodation as well as some information about where to stay in Kota Kinabalu.

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Our Top 3 Picks: Best Places To Stay In Kota Kinabalu

Simply want to book the best option? Save time with our top 3 picks below.


Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa

✔️ Stunning location with magical views of sunset

✔️ Great outdoor pool, bar and beachside lounge


Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu

✔️ Great rooftop pool and bar for sunset drinks

✔️ Spacious rooms with sea views


Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

✔️ Luxury rooms with mountain or ocean views

✔️ Water activities, golf course and in-house spa

Comparison Of The Best Hotels In Kota Kinabalu Sabah

In the following Kota Kinabalu hotel list, find all our top options for the best Borneo hotel Kota Kinabalu offers.

Hotel NamePriceRatingBook
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa$$$$8.9Click here
Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu$$$8.9Click here
Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa$$$$8.8Click here
Hotel Sixty3$$8.7Click here
Hotel Traveller Kota Kinabalu$7.6Click here
Hotel Capital Kota Kinabalu$8.5Click here
Casuarina Hotel$7.1Click here
Mandarin Hotel Kota Kinabalu$$8.6Click here
Gaya Hotel Kota Kinabalu (Gaya Centre Hotel)$8.1Click here
The Pacific Sutera Hotel$$$8.5Click here
Borneo Beach Villas$$8.1Click here
Hotel Grandis$$$8.7Click here
Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu$$8.3Click here
The $,$$, etc are meant for comparison purposes only

Here’s a quick overview if you are looking for a specific type of hotel…

⭐Best Luxury HotelShangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa
🏨Best Midrange HotelHotel Sixty3
🚪Best Budget HotelHotel Capital Kota Kinabalu
👪 Best Hotel For FamiliesShangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa

Where To Stay In Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia : Beautiful Infinity pool

Kota Kinabalu is a tourist hub with many people keen to check-out everything Sabah has to offer. This means there are many backpacker hostels, five-star hotels and everything in-between.

For main backpacker haunts, head to Gaya Street. There are also several hostels and budget hotels along the Banderran Berjaya area. You’d also find that there are lots of hotels in Kota Kinabalu city centre. Since the main city centre is small, almost everything is within walking distance.

Now, if you’re wondering where to stay in Kota Kinabalu beach, there are fancier, more luxurious resorts with beach access but most of these are found further out of town, as well as in the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

Top 13 Best Hotels In Kota Kinabalu Malaysia

Below, you will find full reviews of each of our choices for the best hotel around Kota Kinabalu.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa Review

Nestled in a nature reserve that overlooks the South China Sea, this luxury resort and spa offers guests a relaxing stay in elegantly designed rooms. Each room is tastefully furnished with a flat-screen TV, coffee/tea making facilities and a mini-bar.

Guests can also enjoy the views in the garden or sea from their private balcony and can choose from the resort’s deluxe rooms, superior rooms and suite rooms. There are rooms great for families.

It also features an outdoor swimming pool, a golf course, an in-house spa, a restaurant that offers a wide array of international cuisines and a beachside lounge and music lounge perfect for a relaxing drink after a long day of activities. There is a kids club.

Other facilities include shuttle service, airport transfers and a 24-hour front desk where you can arrange tours and other outdoor activities.

This is our pick for the best beach resort in Kota Kinabalu.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

A lovely hotel complex set in a stunning location that offers magical views of the sunset. There is impeccable service from the staff as well. It is perfect for families.

Worst Parts?

It’s a little far from town, although there are plenty of food options, activities and shops in the resort.


If you’re looking for a Kota Kinabalu beach resort, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort And Spa is an excellent place if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

This beach hotel Kota Kinabalu is near the jungle and has an exclusive private beach with beautiful sunset views. This 5-star hotel in Kota Kinabalu also offers guests a lot of great activities to do at the resort for a reasonable price.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu Review

Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu pool area
Amazing pool area

Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu is in an excellent location with waterfront views, the Centre Point shopping centre close by and easy access to the delicious Night Market. This 5-star hotel has it all!

There’s a great range of facilities including a rooftop pool, its neighbouring cafe and bar, a spa, gym and multiple other restaurants and drinking establishments. There’s even the perfect bar for sunset drinks. The staff are super helpful too.

The rooms come in a range of types, all are well presented and comfortable. They have everything you’d expect from a 5 star hotel including air-conditioning, desk, lounge chair, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and great toiletries.

You can pick your room based on being twin or double plus what view you want. I recommend the sea view. There is also a range of suites with one bedroom, two bedroom and the presidential suite on offer.

Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu King room with sea view
King room with sea view

Best Parts?

This 5-star hotel has everything you need in one of the best locations on the list. You can’t go wrong staying here. It’s especially great for sunset drinks with views over the water. The pool is fantastic too.

Worst Parts?

Honestly, nothing!


This is our top choice if your looking for a great hotel in the Kota Kinabalu city centre. Its location, its rooms, its facilities… Everything is top rate!

Click here for more information and the latest prices or click here to read my full review.

Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa Review

Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is located 10 minutes away from the city, offering guests luxury and relaxation at the same time in an idyllic beach setting. This hotel would be at the top of any list of 5 star hotels in Kota Kinabalu.

It features 498 contemporary-styled rooms and suites each fitted with air-conditioning, flat-screen satellite TV, a seating area and ensuite bathroom with toiletries. Guests can stay in their standard rooms, family rooms or suites. Breathtaking mountain or ocean views can also be enjoyed from private balconies.

This luxury resort also features four restaurants where guests can enjoy their meals. You can also enjoy live entertainment and refreshments at the Borneo Lounge and Bar.

Adult guests can try out various water sports activities like surfing, diving and swimming, while kids can enjoy the kids’ pool’s waterslides. Other amenities in the hotel include a golf course and an in-house spa offering relaxing massages. There is also a great kids club.

The hotel has a 24-hour reception with staff happy to assist you with transfers and car rentals at additional charges.

It really has everything you need in gorgeous surroundings.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

The hotel’s location is excellent if you want to be near the beach, and it’s just a 10-minute drive to the city centre. It’s one of the best Kota Kinabalu luxury resorts. There is impeccable customer service as well.

Worst Parts? 

Prices can be expensive in the on-site restaurants and bars.


If you’re searching for resorts near Kota Kinabalu, this Shangri La Hotel is terrific. From the food, facilities, ambiance to the location, it’s our top choice. The staff is also friendly and helpful. Hands down, it is one of the best beach resorts near Kota Kinabalu. It’s also particularly recommended for families.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Hotel Sixty3 Review

If you want to stay in hotel Kota Kinabalu, Hotel Sixty3 is just steps away from Gaya Street Sunday Market as well as other Kota Kinabalu attractions.

Rooms of this midrange hotel are elegantly decorated with modern furnishings and feature a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, wifi, tea and coffee making facilities, ensuite bathroom with shower and toiletries.

Note that some rooms also have separate dining and eating areas. Guests can either choose to stay in their standard, deluxe, superior, executive rooms or suites.

Moreover, several local eateries and popular restaurants are just a couple of minutes’ walk away. Hotel Sixty3 also has friendly staff at the 24-hour reception who are happy to assist guests with their needs.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

The rooms are spacious, and the hotel is in a good location, as it is close to many Kota Kinabalu attractions. The staff is helpful and friendly as well.

Worst Parts? 

The interior of the building looks a bit dated, but everything is well-maintained.


Overall, the rooms are big, clean and comfortable. It’s in a great location as you can walk to many things and it’s a great price.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Hotel Traveller Kota Kinabalu Review

This tourist hotel Kota Kinabalu is found right at the heart of the city centre. It’s just a quick 5-minute walk from Sunday Gaya Street Market, the Filipino Market and a quick 10-minute drive from Likas Bay Beach and Atkinson Clock Tower.

Room types are twin, deluxe and family rooms. All are air-conditioned and fitted with satellite TVs, telephones and ensuite bathrooms.

Tour and car rental services are available at the front desk. They also have an in-house restaurant, Wong Kok, that serves a wide array of local delights.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

This basic hotel Kota Kinabalu has a good location in the main city centre. Many places of interest, shopping malls and convenience stores are within walking distance.

Worst Parts?

Rooms on the first floor can be a bit noisy as it is at street level. But you can ask the staff for a room on one of the upper floors instead.


This Kota Kinabalu city hotel is set in a strategic location, it’s accessible to nearby restaurants and shops. It’s affordable too.

Overall, this budget-friendly, cheap hotel in Kota Kinabalu is great value for money.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Hotel Capital Kota Kinabalu Review

This is a hotel near Centre Point Kota Kinabalu (a useful shopping centre) and is a quick 3-minute walk from Gaya Street. This area has plenty of excellent dining options nearby like Little Italy which serves authentic pizza and pasta.

Each room includes a flat-screen cable TV, ensuite bathroom with shower, free wifi and free toiletries. Some rooms have a sitting area as well. Room types include standard rooms, deluxe rooms and suites.

Dry cleaning services are also available upon request. There’s also daily housekeeping and free luggage storage for guests.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

Excellent location. There’s a mall across the hotel and it’s just a short walk to local bars and restaurants.

Worst Parts?

The rooms are a bit small.


If you’re looking for basic, no-frills accommodation with a convenient location in the city centre, then this hotel area Centre Point Kota Kinabalu is one of the best midrange hotels in the area.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Casuarina Hotel Review

Located in Tanjung Aru, this budget-friendly hotel near Kota Kinabalu International Airport is just a minute’s walk to Perdana Park’s musical fountain and a 2-minute walk to Tanjung Aru Beach as well as being very close to Kota Kinabalu airport.

All rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a mini-bar, a satellite TV, tea/coffee making facilities and ensuite bathroom. Guests can also choose between their double rooms, twin rooms, family or suite rooms.

If you’re travelling with family, the hotel’s family rooms consist of adjoining sleeping rooms and a big bathroom. You can also arrange laundry at the 24-hour front desk which lends out hairdryers and irons.

There’s also a shuttle service from the airport and to Kota Kinabalu town (this is subject to availability).

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

This hotel has easy access to the beach. Hands down, this is one of the best budget-friendly Kota Kinabalu hotels near beach.

Worst Parts?

The facilities are a bit dated but still work well.


This Kota Kinabalu hotel near airport offers great access to Tanjong Aru beach. It is good values and offers a solid cheap accommodation in Kota Kinabalu choice.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Mandarin Hotel Kota Kinabalu Review

Located by Gaya Street Sunday Market, this midrange, Kota Kinabalu Sabah hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen TV, free wifi, ensuite bathroom, hairdryer and toiletries.

Daily housekeeping and laundry can also be provided at an additional charge. Room types are standard, deluxe and family rooms.

There’s a 24-hour reception that will be happy to assist as well, and guests can arrange car rentals and airport drop-off service. There’s also plenty of dining options nearby which includes local cafes and restaurants.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

This Sabah Kota Kinabalu hotel is set in a prime location, just next to Gaya Street where you can find a lot of restaurants and shops. The staff is friendly and helpful.

Worst Parts?

They don’t offer breakfast, but you can still find great small food places nearby.


Overall, this is a great place to stay at an affordable price. The location is right at the heart of weekend markets. Unique and delicious restaurants are just a couple of minutes walk away.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Gaya Hotel Kota Kinabalu (Gaya Centre Hotel) Review

Gaya Hotel is a hotel Kota Kinabalu Sabah Malaysia that’s located at the heart of Kota Kinabalu’s commercial district. The hotel features air-conditioned rooms with cable TV, free wifi and a mini-bar. For guests’ comfort, rooms also have an ensuite bathroom and toiletries.

Guests can enjoy either sea or city views from their rooms and room types are standard, deluxe, family and suites.

This midrange hotel has an on-site restaurant that serves a daily breakfast buffet as well as all-day dining. Alternatively, there are also many restaurants and affordable eateries nearby.

There’s also free luggage storage and laundry is provided with an additional charge. Other facilities include a souvenir shop, fitness centre and a business centre. Jesselton Point is also just 10 minutes’ walk away.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

Good location, with excellent views. This 3-star hotel in Kota Kinabalu is also a lovely place to stay because everything’s within walking distance.

Worst Parts? 

There’s currently a major construction site going on in front of the hotel, so expect noise during work hours. You can ask the staff to switch to a quieter room.


Overall, this hotel Sabah Kota Kinabalu is set in a good location at a reasonable price. The rooms are big and clean. The staff are friendly and helpful as well.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

The Pacific Sutera Hotel Review

The Pacific Sutera is one of the best Kota Kinabalu luxury hotels and boasts an Olympic-sized pool as well as easy access to Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club. It’s located in between the airport and the city centre and it’s quick to get to either.

Rooms have contemporary decor and are fitted with a flat-screen satellite TV, a minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. They also have ensuite bathrooms with a shower and toiletries.

Hotel guests can either enjoy the sea or golf-course view and stay in one of their exquisite deluxe, family rooms or suites.

There’s a crazy amount of facilities here. You can head to the in-house restaurant that serves a daily breakfast buffet and all-day dining. Drinks and snacks can be accessed from the Lobby Lounge, Pool Bar and Breeze Beach Club or you can have room service in your room. There’s a karaoke room and a nightclub for evening fun.

This Kota Kinabalu resort hotel also offers relaxing Malaysian massages from their in-house spa and a 24/7 front desk that’s happy to cater to guests with their needs. Other facilities include a gym, spa, sauna and a children’s playground.

There are plenty of water sports too as well as fishing, snorkelling and diving. You could also play on the resort’s badminton court, mini golf course, table tennis, tennis, squash court or bowling alley. Then head to the shop for some supplies and souvenirs.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

Stunning location and views. The facilities are superb, and the staff is friendly and helpful. This is a top choice.

Worst Parts? 

It’s not super close to attractions.


This is the perfect place to spend your Kota Kinabalu adventure. Everything is wonderful ‒ from the staff and the facilities to the rooms.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Borneo Beach Villas Review

Nestled along a 7-kilometre white sandy beach, Borneo Beach Villas offers guests beachfront accommodation with fantastic sea views. It’s about a 40 minute drive from the centre of Kota Kinabalu.

This midrange resort features an outdoor pool and an in-house restaurant where guests can dine. There’s also free wifi connection provided in all public areas.

Every room is furnished with a large living room, air-conditioning and a kitchen. In the spa suite, guests can enjoy a private steam bath and a hot tub. The pool villas, on the other hand, feature a private lap pool. There’s also a private balcony to enjoy the calming ocean views.

Families will love the two- and three-bedroom pool villas. Space for everyone!

Other facilities include a spa, gym and an on-site cafe and restaurant serving different dining options and freshly brewed coffee. There’s also a souvenir shop and information centre that provides sports rentals and other complimentary activities.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

If you’re looking for beachfront hotels in Kota Kinabalu, then the hotel’s location is set right on the beach. Apart from the superb amenities, one can enjoy beautiful sunsets and a lovely beach to swim at. The private pool villas are awesome and a great price.

Worst Parts?

The resort is a bit far from the city and other tourist attractions.


Borneo Beach Villas is perfect if you’re looking for a peaceful and serene environment set at a beach. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. There’s spacious pool villas perfect for families and the staff is helpful and friendly as well.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Hotel Grandis Review

Hotel Grandis is located within the city centre,  right next to Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and moments from the ferry terminal – perfect if you want to go island hopping.

This boutique hotel Kota Kinabalu features rooms either with sea and city views and every room is fitted with satellite TV, complimentary in-room wifi access, air-conditioning and ensuite bathroom with free toiletries. Hairdryers and irons are also available. Guests can either stay in one of their superior rooms, deluxe rooms, family rooms, studios or suites.

This midrange hotel also boasts an outdoor swimming pool, an in-house cafe that serves a daily breakfast buffet and all-day dining. One can also relax and listen to live music at the piano lounge or grab a refreshing drink at the rooftop Sky Bar.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

Friendly staff, spacious rooms and it’s conveniently located next to a shopping mall. There are superb amenities as well.

Worst Parts? 

The swimming pool is quite small.


This hotel is good value and handily located near a shopping mall and the ferry terminal. It’s comfortable and an easy place to stay.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu Review

Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu offers guests accommodation overlooking the South China Sea. Every room of this 4-star hotel in Kota Kinabalu is furnished with a flat-screen TV, tea/coffee making facilities and an ensuite bathroom with a shower and toiletries.

Wifi is easily accessible throughout. Room types include deluxe and superior rooms as well as suites.

The property boasts an outdoor swimming pool, ballroom and meeting facilities and 24-hour reception where the staff can assist with airport transfers and currency exchange. Guests can also do their fitness routine at the on-site gym or pamper themselves at the hotel’s salon.

Moreover, daily breakfast is usually served in Promenade Café, with a variety of food options, and there’s also live entertainment and cocktails offered at the lobby lounge.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts? 

The rooms offer a great sea view and a superb location. It is right in front of the Anjung Seya if you’re looking for cheap, delicious seafood. There’s also a shopping mall that’s walking distance from the hotel.

Worst Parts? 

The hotel’s food choices are a bit limited, but you can always explore other eateries and restaurants in the area.


This hotel is ideal for a short stay in Kota Kinabalu, and one of the best Kota Kinabalu Sabah Malaysia hotels in the area. It features luxurious rooms and bathrooms. The breakfast is superb as well.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Map Of Best Place To Stay In Kota Kinabalu

Best Hotels In Kota Kinabalu map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

I hope you found this guide to the top hotels in Kota Kinabalu useful. Make sure you also check out all the best Kota Kinabalu tours here and things to do here. You can also find our full guide to Kota Kinabalu here.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.