The Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu is one of the most established hotels in the state capital of Sabah. Located right smack in the city center, just across the seafood and handicraft markets and just a few steps away from the nightlife district; the property is one of a handful of SPG properties in East Malaysia. During a return trip to Kota Kinabalu, I managed to check out the Le Meridien for a couple of nights.
Kota Kinabalu is not a particularly large city but the hotel lobby is more in keeping with large city hotels. It’s hip and happening, with an illuminated ceiling, furnishings decked in gold and plenty of mirrors.
Vista Sea View Room
My room for this particular stay is the Vista Sea View Room. At 42 square meters, it’s of the same size as their entry level room. When compared to the nearest competitors, the Hyatt Regency and Hilton Kota Kinabalu a few blocks down; Le Meridien’s entry-level room size is somewhere at the top end. Only the Hyatt Regency’s room has a bigger size among the city hotels.
Tip: There is much more to do in Kota Kinabalu than climbing the mountain. If you are in need of ideas, ask for Rodney O’Brien, the in-house Experience Specialist who will go all out to personalize your stay.
The property was renovated in 2016 and the rooms are thoroughly modern and look more intricately designed than what its mid-sized city setting suggests. The Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu has a couple of room types but the most sought after ones have a panoramic view of the sea as well as Gaya Island in the distance. The property is not particularly tall with just 11 floors but at the time of my visit, two new floors are being built to cater to the high demand among leisure visitors.
The rooms have these sparkling and dreamy night lights by the walls which is particularly unique and visually appealing. It is also worth noting that the hotel has different furnishings even for the same room type. While you get your standard desk and chair, some rooms come with an armchair while othes come with a proper sofa. I don’t suppose it makes much of a difference but if you are the type who likes to lounge around in the day, the spacious sofa would definitely come nicely.
The bathroom is decked in marble and comes with a separate enclosure for the rain showers. There is also a tub and in true SPG style, the complete set of amenities (even mouthwash!) are laid out by the sink.
Toiletries are from Malin + Goetz. I first encountered this brand when I stayed at the Capri by Fraser Changi six years ago and until this day, it remains to be my favorite hotel toiletries brand. It is worth noting that the type that Le Meridien uses is customized for the hotel so you won’t get the usual varieties here.
At the time of my stay, the hotel was adding two new floors to the building so the club lounge was closed. Evening cocktails were instead served in the lobby bar, Latitude 05. The spread was relatively modest and could qualify as a good pre-dinner snack. I spotted some satay, a cheese platter as well as a number of pastries.
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu has an appealing outdoor pool at the 2nd level. The pool faces the west so it’s an especially stunning place to be during sunset. And indeed, at around 6:30PM, I found myself among many other guests attempting to capture photos of the purplish sky. If you’re feeling thirsty, the pool bar serves snacks and drinks and there are plenty of lounge chairs where guests can relax. However, the pool can also get quite busy during weekends as Kota Kinabalu is a popular holiday destination among locals from West Malaysia.
Beside the pool, the hotel has a modest gym with a nice set of equipments. It could very well stand as a small commercial gym and it’s certainly more than sufficient if you’re looking for a workout in the middle of your holiday.
Dining at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
The hotel has two main restaurants and these are Favola for Italian and the all-day dining concept, Latest Recipe. During my first evening at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu, I had dinner at Favola.
The venue is relatively intimate and occipies a small rectangular room with around ten tables. The design is also a world away from the ocean-inspired lobby with dark accents permeating the Italian restaurant.
One would be forgiven to think that the chef came straight from Italy but I was told he is actually local. The food is not only delicious but is also appealing to the eye.
Breakfast at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Breakfast is served in buffet format at the all-day dining restaurant, Latest Recipe. It is extensive with separate pastries, noodle soup and western sections. Eggs and pancakes are made on the spot. The latter was especially fluffy and milky, one of the best breakfast pancakes I’ve had by far and second to The Sukhothai Bangkok. Coffee comes from Illy as with many hotels under the Marriott chain.
With booming tourism in Kota Kinabalu, the list of luxury hotels increase with each visit I make to the city. Many of these offer rooms with the latest creature comforts but the Le Meridien is where you want to be if you’d also like to have a wonderful sea view, be able to lounge by a nice pool and take your pick among some compelling dining venues. Beyond these, what I also loved about the Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu was the excellent service. Staff members were amiable and prompt in terms of service (calls made to the service line for room amenities were handled within 5 minutes). It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to see the club lounge during this trip as it is famous for its panoramic views but I’ll definitely consider heading back once the construction of the upper floors is finished.
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen
88000 Kota Kinabalu
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