It took quite a bit of time and effort to get this family trip organized, both in terms of dates and flights. Fighting with Silk Air was such an experience gosh.
Anyways, I picked this Kota Kinabalu as the flight tickets were reasonable and I could redeem miles for my own ticket and shaving some costs. Then it all went in the hotel. Haha.
Marriot KK is the newest hotel jem in the small town, only recently opened in July 2018.
Set on the famed Waterfront – a popular center for dining and entertainment – and 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu International Airport, this hotel indulges guests in panoramic views of South China Sea, authentic local culinary delights and thoughtful service. From the dramatic lobby to the sleek, modern rooms and suites, light wood tones and a calming palette glow under soft ambient lighting
Sounds like alot to live up to!
Address – Lot G-23A, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 88000 Malaysia. Tel: +60 88-286 888. Website.
Price – We made 2 bookings with 2 different Marriot Rewards account – 1x Deluxe Room @ MYR467++ per night with a Platinum Elite account and was upgraded to an Executive Suite (which would otherwise be around MYR830++ per night). Then another 1x Executive Club room with 2 double beds @ MYR670++ per night.
Location – this newest hotel in town is located in the city centre by the waterfront, connected to the Oceanus Waterfront Mall. Which has nothing going on for it as a lot of shops have not opened yet (or closed down?). But KK is a smallish town so getting around in a Grab cost us no more than MYR4 per trip for 4pax. Super worth!
Prior to arrival – Because having a connecting room was important for this family trip, I emailed pior to making non refundable reservations to secure the Platinum upgrade with connecting to the second room and to their credits, the room reservation team responded fairly quickly to confirm the necessary.
Getting there – We arranged for a hotel pickup which came in a form of a taxi @ MYR85 per trip (we also scheduled for a return transfer). As far as research shows, grabbing a cab from the airport would have been MYR70. For MRY15 difference I decided to just settle for the safest arrangements. The journey from airport took 15mins with normal traffic.
Check In – We approached the desk with the signage “Members’ Zone” and was requested for passports etc. And waited. And waited somemore. Then was politely asked to proceed to 15th floor where M Club was located for a private check in. Not the most seamless experience but it was fine. Yusuf at the Club reception was professional, friendly, and effiicent in getting our paperwork sorted out. The room was not ready yet but it was ready by the time we finished lunch so that was fine by us.
Executive Club Room – Room 1179 felt a lot than 40SqM and completely spacious with even with 2 double beds, a day sofa, a coffee table, and stil had enough space for a open concept wardrobe in the bathroom area itself along with the rest of the usual bathroom layout. Thann amenities completed the luxury experience.
Exective Suite – Suite 1177 was huge standing at 72SqM with a large living area (TV!), a smaller dining / working desk, a guest toilet, and a big-ass bedroom with a luxurious king bed (TV again!). And then an equally big bathroom complete with a bathtub. And more Thann amenities (yays!). Sliding panels also make it easier to separate the bedroom with the living area if privacy is required.
M Club – our favorite spot for the 4days in KK! Located on the top floor of the hotel with extensive views of the waterfront, it is the perfect spot for chilling out. The mixture of proper dining tables and lounge / sofa seatings allow options for different times of the day. Breakfast is served from 7am – 10:30am and cocktail hours are 5:30pm – 9:30pm but it is staggered between serving bites from 5:30pm – 7:30pm and alcoholic drinks from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. Most times, the Club is really quiet (it’s a good thing!). During cocktails hours, we saw 3 different kinds of hot food along withh breads, cheeses, cold cuts, appetisers and desserts. Alcohol include your usual wines (no champagne), beers, and a good variety of liquors. Otherwise, throughout the day, you’ll get cookies / cakes with coffee / tea / canned drinks, and sparkling water.
Dining – we experienced Kitchen@8 for a lunch and a breakfast. While breakfast was your usual affair, lunch wasn’t. We had to endure a 45min – 1 hour wait for lunch on our arrival day. And the restaurant was not busy. At all. We painstakingly watched the food for other 2 tables making their way long after we ordered. Then waited some more for ours. By the time they came, we were absolutely starving. But disappointingly, they are either bland or merely average. They were not expensive by SG standards but not cheap by KK standards either.
Facilities – We woke up so early I had time go to the gym twice and also swam twice. The gym was quite nicely fitted out and completely empty. The pool was outdoors and at a spot of the building where you dont get much sun – which is the perfect thing for me! But the pool gets busier towards the 9am – 10am mark so come early.
Service – Service at the M Club was excellent most times except for the fact that plates during cocktail hours can be cleared faster. Otherwise, even outside of the Club, we encountered mostly friendly smiles.
Check Out – the team kindly gave us a 5pm late checkout for the Suite due to our flight timings so we had to check out the other room @ 2pm first. This arrangement worked out to be just nice for our schedule.
In conclusion, this is the best hotel in KK and if budget permits, get a room with M Club access. But if not, an entry-level room with breakfast should work too. I wouldn’t attempt any more any ala carte meals at Kitchen@8 – hop over to Oceanus Mall where there’ll be cheaper options. Or grab a MYR4 ride to the town’s spanking new mall, Imago, which is 10mins away. But all in, a terrific trip with lots of massages and surprisingly, shopping!