Many dismiss Kota Kinabalu as a transit point in exploring the wonders of Sabah. But I find the multifaceted city, set against a backdrop of both the legendary Mount Kinabalu and the expanse of the South China Sea, in more ways than one, intriguing, especially with what similarities we share with its people. In hopes to discover more of Sabah’s capital, I stayed at the centrally-located Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu, which served as my key to unlocking the city. Read more…
Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu has a most enviable address, for it fronts the South China Sea in the center of the city. From the airport, the hotel is accessible by taxi within 10-15 minutes and by a more affordable airport bus, which stops nearby.
Most of the action is right within the hotel’s vicinity or within a few minutes’ walk, making it one of the best hotels to discovering Kota Kinabalu. Pasar Filipina (Philippine market), which sells piles of Sabahan delicacies is just in front, and Jalan Gaya, one of the most popular thoroughfares in the city for its food and Sunday market, is a few minutes away by foot. And for shopaholics, there’s no need to take a cab to get to the Night Market, Centre Point Mall, Imago Mall, and Suria Sabah.
Le Méridien is part of the renowned Starwood Hotels and Resorts portfolio, alongside esteemed brands like the W, St. Regis, Westin, and Sheraton. The style of its luxury and upscale properties worldwide is a blend of contemporary culture and European heritage that “creates a culturally refined, meaningful, and stimulating atmosphere.”
Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu is undertaking a massive rejuvenation program in phases. Its porte-cochere, entrance, and lobby have already been completed, and the result is a harmonious marriage of European flair and Sabahan culture.
The hotel had just completed the reinvention of its Le Meridien Hub, a modern take on the traditional hotel lobby that “offers an array of opportunities for guests to gather, connect, inspire and be inspired.” The hub is a delight to the senses, as it features high-impact art that reflects Kota Kinabalu as a coastal city, the signature Le Méridien scent, candle-lit lamps in the evenings, and a sexy French pop playlist called New Wave by Nouvelle Vague. Further, the section showcases the awe-inspiring Curiosity Table and Shelf of Discovery.
In its commitment to art and discovery, the Le Méridien offers complimentary admission to galleries and institutions in the locale through its Unlock Art program. The partner of Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu is Sabah Art Gallery, which is a short taxi ride away from the hotel.
I was billeted in a spacious Le Méridien Club Room, which is equipped with the conveniences expected of a high-end hotel, starting with its luxurious bed fitted with crisp sheets and a cozy duvet. The room, simple yet classic in terms of design, offers a commanding view of the sea.
Admittedly, rooms at Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu have yet to complete their refurbishment. Despite this, however, the comfort each room provides is still better than most of the options in Kota Kinabalu, and the experience, I must say, still qualifies as five-star.
Being five-star, the hotel offers a number of facilities. Its ballroom and meeting rooms already completed their renovation, and a new swimming pool was likewise recently unveiled.
Staying in a Le Méridien Club Room meant I had access to the hotel’s Le Méridien Club Lounge that serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails and offers business services.
FOOD AND DRINK
Latest Recipe is the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant that was recently debuted as a transformed chic dining space. It serves an extensive breakfast spread consisting of Western, Asian, and Malaysian fare, as well as buffet and a la carte lunch and dinner.
Their staff, especially the ones in the Le Méridien Club Lounge, were efficient and personable. They were striking casual conversations at times, but by no means were they intrusive.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu, despite being one of the only few international name-brand hotels in the area, charges fairly for nightly rates compared to properties of the same class in the area and elsewhere in Malaysia.
LE MERIDIEN KOTA KINABALU
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Sinsuran, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 8832 2222
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