Hotels & Resorts

Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu: KK’s Latest Stylish Mix of Nature, Culture, and Modernity

Have you ever lived somewhere close to nature? At the Kengo Kuma-designed Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu, I intriguingly feel very close to nature even as I am in the lap of modernity.

Infinity pool at Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu.

Have you ever lived somewhere close to nature? At the Kengo Kuma-designed Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu, I intriguingly feel very close to nature even as I am in the lap of modernity.

Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is a newly opened hotel located right in the heart of Kota Kinabalu city. But to me, this hotel actually lies between the sea and the lush rainforest because it offers mesmerising and opposing views of both the South China Sea and Signal Hill. Even its architecture is inspired by nature, whereby the entire building – from the lobby to the rooftop – is likened to a big tree. 

Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu has 222 rooms and suites with stunning views that can be categorised into 11 categories namely Sea View Deluxe Suite, King Sea View Suite, King Suite, Two Twin Beds Hill View, Two Twin Beds Sea View, Two Twin Beds, King Bed Sea View, King Bed Hill View, King Bed Hill View Deluxe, King Bed Deluxe and King Bed.   

Welcoming interiors and rooms

As I set foot in the lobby for the first time, I am quickly in awe of its décor, which reminds me of sitting under the shade of a tree surrounded by towering trees and stone-covered ground. Apparently, the lobby is the place where guests can sit and relax while enjoying snacks and beverages, including admiring the two large wooden sculptures by internationally renowned Malaysian artist Anniketyni Madian. The hotel adoringly incorporates elements that are indigenous to Sabah, thus possesses a strong sense of place.


I can’t contain my excitement when I enter the hotel’s elevator because I feel like I’m walking into a moving ‘tree trunk’. The walls inside the elevator are delicately carved like pangolin skin along with large mirrors and dim golden lighting that really lifts my mood. This hotel takes security features seriously because guests are required to have access cards to go up to their respective room floors. Otherwise, without the access card, you could only go up directly to the 22nd and 23rd floors.

Once you exit the elevator, you will see a pair of red carved lounge seats and a large sign indicating the floor number you made from seashells by local artist Agnes Lau. The hallway of the 20th floor where I stay is embellished with the colours found on the Kadazan Dusun traditional clothes and beaded accessories. 

My room category is King Bed with Sea View; the entire set-up, especially the romantic view of the ocean stretching into infinity and dotted by fishing boats that I can see from my room, leaves me speechless and get me asking myself, “Is this real?”.

My room comes with a king-sized bed, 55″ smart high-definition television set, individual climate control, luxurious bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer, BeeKind socially conscious toiletries, Nespresso coffee maker, minibar, electric kettle, iron and ironing board, in-room safe and free high-speed Wi-Fi. 

There are many things I love about this room such as the spacious bathroom that segregates the showering area equipped with a heater-installed rain shower, and the squeaky-clean dry toilet.


The part of the bathroom’s sliding door that faces the bed and balcony sports a contemporary sketch-like illustration representing Mount Kinabalu, which I only realise as I lie on my ultra-comfortable bed and look towards the bathroom. Interestingly, the bathroom door has another slide that faces and moves in a perpendicular direction so that guests can enjoy more space when the door is entirely pushed open or more privacy when the moving slides meet at a 90-degree angle and locked.

Next is the private balcony that allows me to sit outside while taking in the scenery discreetly. As part of the hotel’s way to conserve energy, the air conditioner in the room switches off automatically when you open the balcony door.

Setting the right mood for the day with in-room dining breakfast

Apart from that, Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu follows current trends by using up-to-the-minute, advanced technology. For example, when requesting housekeeping service, guests can simply scan the barcode on the television screen, which will go directly to a chatbox connected to the housekeeping department instead of having to talk on the phone. This is truly convenient, especially in cases where guests have problems communicating due to language barriers or disabilities.

Guests don’t have to worry about losing their access cards or having to pay a penalty for losing them. This is because guests can install the World of Hyatt application on their smartphones, and simply use their smartphones as their electronic access cards.

For those seeking a quiet romantic honeymoon vacation while facing splendid greenery, they should opt for the Hill View Deluxe room that is bedecked with a king-sized bed and a modern bathroom with a separate toilet and shower. Most importantly, there is a deep bathtub for guests to soak in to relax while taking in the view of Signal Hill. If you were lucky, you could even witness monkeys foraging for food while clinging to the branches during the day, including a variety of birds when staying in this room category. 

Those who travel with family are advised to take the King Sea View Suite, which is outfitted with a 13-metre squared balcony, a dedicated living area, a dining table for six persons, a walk-in wardrobe and a bathroom that includes a bathtub. The suite can be combined with a Two Twin Beds Sea View room to become a Two-Bedroom Sea View Suite. The suite’s most eye-catching feature is the painting of a Murut man wearing a traditional top made from the bark of a tree called puputul.

Dining and other facilities

Dining at the hotel is an experience of its own.  ON22 Restaurant receives its name from its location, which is on the 22nd floor. It is divided into three themes: Sea-Forest Dining, Wood Garden, and Dry Garden. Guests are bound to salivate as they go through the outlet’s long list of menus. While dining at the Sea-Forest Dining section, you can feast your eyes on the beckoning view of the sea and hillside. If you prefer eating in a garden surrounded by wild trees, choose the Wood Garden section. 

For something more intimate, try dining at the Dry Garden section, which I find intriguing due to the butterfly artworks. If you were to look at them from a distance, the artworks appear to be butterflies, but as you come closer, you can see that the artworks are actually created from paper cuts and prints on fine art paper that have been framed. What makes it even more unique is the texture of these paper cuts is similar to leaves and live flowers!

The top-most floor of Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is the 23rd and it is home to ON23 Sky Bar. Climbing up here makes you feel like being on top of Mount Kinabalu, but far more easier and abound with perks like craft cocktails and gourmet bites. To burn off the calories, you can then sweat it out at the fitness centre or dip into the rectangular infinity pool with the outstanding view of the sea at one end and the bucolic vista of the hill at the other.

Business travellers will be pleased to know that they can hold effective meetings at Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu as well. Located on the 3rd floor, the hotel offers 3,154 feet squared of space that can be divided up into seven meeting rooms for various kinds of functions. The meeting rooms come with balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and high-spec audiovisuals. The maximum number of persons that the space can accommodate is 170 persons at a time.


If I were to return to Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu, I will stay longer so that I could absorb more of the hotel and use more of its facilities like dipping in the infinity outdoor pool in the morning for reenergisation and in the evening to catch the sunset. Without a doubt, Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu is a much-welcomed addition to the collection of lodgings offered in Kota Kinabalu, helping to make the destination more visible on international travellers’ maps due to its proximity to many attractions and hidden gems, on top of its sense of style and delectable food and beverages. A definite must-stay for all travellers who make their way to Kota Kinabalu!

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