I just came from a day tour in Dinawan Island when I checked in at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu on my birthday, May 4. It was my third night in Kota Kinabalu, and after an entire day of snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking, staying in a world-class hotel with a view of the sea is the best way to relax and recharge.
As I entered the hotel, I was warmly welcomed by its Assistant Manager for Public Relations, Ervina Masduki, who I have been corresponding with since January. She assisted me during check in, gave me my keycards, and told me to meet her in Nagisa Japanese Restaurant after I drop my bags in my room.
As the first international chain hotel in the state of Sabah, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu has been around since 1979. It is strategically located in KK’s entertainment and business district, making it accessible to shopping centers, government offices, tourist spots, and the airport. It has undergone a few major renovations through the years, but its topnotch level of service and hospitality has remained the same. Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is also a consistent recipient of excellence awards from booking sites and Malaysia and Sabah Tourism Boards.
For the best daily rate guarantee, book through their official website.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE PROPERTY
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu’s strategic location on the waterfront area provides guests with sea view rooms a breathtaking view of the South China Sea and neighboring islands. The hotel is also the perfect place for taking those amazing sunset photos.
Aside from the view, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is also an ideal spot for tourists who wish to see the rest of the city. With its proximity to Suria Sabah, Local Handicraft Market, Gaya Street Sunday Market, Jesselton Port, and other tourist attractions, it makes driving around efficient and seamless. Currency exchange is also not a problem as numerous money changers are found in Wisma Merdeka, which is right next to the hotel.
As mentioned, the hotel just had some renovations. One of their newest offerings is The Residence, described as “Kota Kinabalu’s only residential-style, multi-functional premium event facility.” During my stay, I was lucky to be invited to a meeting and events showcase party where Hyatt Regency Kinabalu re-introduced their meeting and event spaces and also launched The Residence.
Back when I sent my proposal to Ervina about writing a review on Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, I knew that I am in good hands when I arrive in their hotel. She immediately accepted my request, and was kind enough to adjust my preferred dates so I will be there on my birthday.
I felt like family during my entire stay, especially when Ervina invited me to the showcase party and even gave me a 10:00 p.m. checkout so I could still use the room until the end of the event. During the party, I was able to meet Arifin Darmawan, the General Manager, and Bennett Peter, the Executive Assistant Manager. They were very welcoming, asking me about my stay and what I think of their hotel.
As for the rest of the staff, I was very impressed with how attentive they are of their guests’ needs. There was a problem with my bathtub on the first night, and they immediately sent housekeeping to solve it when I called. Everyone was very friendly, greeting me with smiles on their faces whenever they would see me in the hotel.
I had an entire sea view room all to myself, one of the 288 contemporary styled rooms of Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. I was quite surprised of its size, as it was really spacious even for two people. There was even a workstation, where some welcome treats and a note were waiting for me.
The bathroom was split into two, with the toilet on one side and the bathtub on the other and the sink on the middle. There was an ample supply of bathrobes, towels, and Portico bath products.
Ah, the food. Everything I tasted here is still fresh in my mind up to this day. I was able to dine in Tanjung Ria Kitchen for breakfast and lunch, and in Nagisa Japanese Restaurant for my birthday dinner.
Click here for a complete review of Nagisa Japanese Restaurant.
Let’s talk about Tanjung Ria Kitchen first. As one of Kota Kinabalu’s best restaurants, it has a halal certified kitchen that offers both local and Western cuisine. Buffet spreads from breakfast to dinner is available here, as well as a la carte servings.
As you can see, it didn’t fail to impress me. I was overwhelmed with the various choices in front of me, and they all tasted delicious. I wanted to try everything, but it was just not possible. But whatever I was able to taste made me believe why people rave about this restaurant.
For lunch, I wasn’t able to make it to their lunch buffet. So I decided to order their signature dish, Oxtail Assam Padas, and it did not disappoint. Just look at that beautiful masterpiece!
Ervina told me that other restaurants also serve this dish, but Tanjung Ria Kitchen’s version is still different and quite difficult to mimic. This is so popular that even the Prime Minister of Malaysia would have this delivered to his place whenever he is in Kota Kinabalu. The meat is so tender, the sauce is so rich, and the serving is so huge for one person. This is definitely a must try when you are in Kota Kinabalu.
As for Nagisa, it is the only Japanese restaurant in a five-star hotel in the city. I was so happy to have my birthday dinner here, especially since I was tired from all the activities I did during the day. This is what we had:
Everything was really good, and I will not run out of positive things to say about this restaurant. It was also so thoughtful of them to give me a birthday cake to wrap up our hearty dinner.
Outdoor swimming pool with private cabanas, fitness center, Mosaic Cafe, Shenanigan’s Fun Pub, The Lounge
1. Ask for a sea view room if you wish to have a view of the South China Sea and the beautiful sunset. Otherwise, city view rooms are also available.
2. For currency exchange, visit Wisma Merdeka which is a right next to Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. One of its entrances is just a few steps away from the hotel’s entrance.
3. Order the oxtail assam padas. I swear, you will not regret it.
4. If you happen to visit Mosaic Cafe, don’t miss the rainbow latte. It’s the first of its kind in Kota Kinabalu. Homemade ice cream in various flavors are also available.
WHAT TO DO AROUND/WITHIN THE AREA
1. Shop or watch a movie at Suria Sabah, one of the nearer shopping centers to Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. Movies are relatively cheap here compared to the Philippines, so I took the chance to watch Captain America: Civil War here.
2. For souvenirs, visit the Local Handicraft Market. Don’t forget to haggle. If you can speak Malay or know someone who can, your chances of getting a discount are higher. If you speak Filipino/Tagalog, even better.
3. If you are in KK on a Sunday, go to Gaya Street for Sunday Market. I was there during weekdays so I missed this.
4. For those who want to visit the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, go to Jesselton Port. It is a short walk from the hotel. You may also arrange trips to Dinawan Island and Tagal Tinopikon Park with AJ Best Travel Sdn Bhd.
5. There is also the Mari Mari Cultural Village if you want to know more about the culture and lifestyle of the different tribes in Sabah. You may visit the nearby Wisma Sabah and inquire in any of the tour companies inside.
Note: The hotel stay is sponsored by Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, but the opinions in this review are my own.
Special thanks to Mr. Bennett Peter, Mr. Arifin Darmawan, and Ms. Ervina Masduki for the beautiful accommodation, and to everyone in Tanjung Ria Kitchen and Nagisa Japanese Restaurant for the delicious meals.