8 Resorts & Hotels In Kota Kinabalu That Make For A Romantic Getaway Straight Out Of Maldives Or NZ

Romantic resorts and hotels in Kota Kinabalu

Feature image adapted from: Pom Pom Island Resort, Kokol Haven Resort, Bungaraya Island Resort, Gayana Marine Resort.

Kota Kinabalu has long been a hotspot for adventure enthusiasts, particularly for those looking to challenge themselves on one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia – Mount Kinabalu. But if you look beyond this 4,095m beauty, Kota Kinabalu makes for a pretty idyllic place for a quick romantic getaway.

Around a 2 hour flight from our sunny shores are KK’s white sandy beaches, clear waters, and even firefly cruises – much like the sights you see in Maldives or New Zealand. 

To kickstart your dreamy vacation, here’s a list of resorts, hotels and activities in Kota Kinabalu that’ll have you and your partner on cloud nine: 

1. Lankayan Island Dive Resort (from $383/night) – beachfront and water chalets

Image credit: Lankayan Island Dive Resort

With floating chalets trailing along the shores of this private island, Lankayan Island Dive Resort will remind you of Maldives from $383/night. Here, you can take in the magnificent and unending turquoise ocean from your very own sundeck too. On luckier days, you might even be visited by friendly black tip sharks or sea turtles.

Water chalet room that opens to private balcony
Image credit: Lankayan Island Dive Resort

The beach chalet rooms here are also decked with their own private balconies giving direct access to the beach. 

Image credit: @lankayanislandresort

You can try diving with your partner at this resort with both guided and unguided options, or even snorkel, kayak and swim in the vast ocean. Else, teleport yourself into a National Geographic channel and watch baby turtles being released into the sea each night – this island also happens to be a conservation area for the green and hawksbill turtles.

Lankayan Island Dive Resort
Address: Lankayan Island, Sulu Sea, 90000 Pulau Lankayan, Malaysia
Telephone: + 60 88-316011

2. Borneo Beach Villas (from $98.91/night) – in-room spa bath or jacuzzi

Image credit: Borneo Beach Villas

Located along a stretch of white sandy beach is Borneo Beach Villas. You’ll have a whole apartment for just you and your love, with a balcony overlooking the sea from just $98.91/night. The highlight of the suite is definitely the in-room spa bath and jacuzzi for you to completely rejuvenate within the comforts of your own room.

Image credit: Borneo Beach Villas

Just 2.1km away is Lagoon Park which provides half day sea sports activities like parasailing, paddle boating and viper rides from an affordable RM20 (S$6.58).

Lagoon Park Karambunai
Image credit: befreetour

An unforgettable experience just a 2-hour distance from the hotel is the sighting of fireflies at sunset through Klias River. 

From RM190/pax (S$62.49) for a group of 2-3pax, the Klias Wildlife River Cruise will first begin with the spotting of Proboscis Monkeys before diving into a sumptuous village style dinner. The night then ends with the flickering lights of fireflies as the cruise sails through the mangrove swamp.

Firefly cruise
Image credit: Klook

A 2 hour drive plus a RM15 (S$4.93) entrance fee and you’ll get to enjoy the natural hot spring waters at Poring Hot Spring, trek through a Canopy Walk, visit the Kipungit Waterfall and explore a Bat Cave.

Borneo Beach Villas
Address: PV 163, Precinct Dillenia, Jalan Sepanggar Bay, Karambunai, 88993 Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 16 832 9302 / +60 16 832 9340

3. Gayana Marine Resort (from $372/night) – breakfast delivered by boat

Image credit: packist

At Gayana Marine Resort, you’ll be treated to an endless view of the ocean and a direct access to the sea from your luxurious villas from $372/night

Enjoy some couple time lounging on the sunbeds on the private deck or take a quick dip into your own plunge pool if you’re staying at their Palm Villa. Plus embrace that extra tai tai life when you get your breakfast delivered to you by boat.

Private deck
Image credit: Gayana Marine Resort

This resort also offers nature-themed spa packages. They’ve got treatments like a Mountain Spa Package where you’ll enjoy a moor mud wrap and a traditional massage, and a Wind Spa Package where you’ll be spoilt with a caviar facial.

Image credit: Sabah Tourism

On the same island, you can hop on the 250m Coral Flyer Zipline that connects Gaya Island to Sapi Island at RM86/person (S$28.29). Try spotting the marine life in the pristine waters from an aerial point of view before snorkeling around the island once you land.

Gayana Marine Resort
Address: Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island, Sabah, 88000, Malaysia
Telephone: +6 088 380390

4. Bungaraya Island Resort (from $434/night) – treehouse villas

Image credit: Bungaraya Island Resort

Bungaraya Island Resort offers a private getaway tucked in the lush forests with views overlooking the island and the sea. From $434/night, the treehouse villas are not only spacious, they also have open concept tub areas that seamlessly connects your room to the natural outdoors.

Image credit: Bungaraya Island Resort

Just a short boat ride away is Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, a tourist favourite for water sports. You can scuba dive and meet sea turtles, clownfishes, coral reefs and even whale sharks from RM350 (S$115.15). Even the newbies can have a go at this too because there will be lessons included.

Image credit: Viator

If you’d like to stay out of the waters, you can choose to kayak or hobie wave with your partner from just RM25 (S$8.22).

Bungaraya Island Resort
Address: Polish Bay, Gaya Island, Gaya Island, 88300
Telephone: +60 88-380 390

5. Manukan Island Resort (from $180/night) – private island resort

Image credit: Manukan Island Resort

Built on stilts, the hillside villas at Manukan Island Resort have a kampong meets modern day beach house charm to it. You can choose to stay at a Beach Suite, Hillside Villa or a Manukan Villa but all three will have you perched at the window enjoying the full view of the ocean.

A contemporary interior with views of the beach. Image credit: Manukan Island Resort

All three types of accommodations are also a short walking distance to the pristine beaches where there are plenty of water activities to hop on. 

You can try banana boat riding for RM40/15min (S$13.16), parasailing for RM90/15min (S$29.60) or jet skiing for RM165/30min (S$54.27) amongst many other water sports.

Image credit: gogosabah

While you’re there, you do not want to miss out on a glass bottom boat cruise on the neighbouring Mamutik Island that’s just 3 minutes away. For a 30min tour around the cluster of islands and a full view of the marine life without getting wet, it’ll cost you just RM100/pax (S$32.89).

Sutera Sanctuary Lodges – Manukan Island Resort
Address: Manukan Island, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Marine Park, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 17 833 5022

6. Gaya Island Resort (from $224/night) – 5 minute boat ride to a private beach

Even the entry-level villa at Gaya Island Resort looks luxurious right off the bat. Furnished with dark wood against white walls, the Bayu Villa appears modern yet cosy for a relaxing stay from $224/night. Wake up to a view of the vast sea when you step out into your private balcony.

Bayu Villa
Image credit: Gaya Island Resort

There are plenty of luxurious dining options here and it includes one that will take you on a 5-min boat ride to a private beach, where you can savour a top-notch BBQ dinner.

Located in a prime area, this island resort is within distance to many attractions including the Signal Hill Observatory Tower which is just a 6-minute drive away. Jungle trek up 250m of stairs and you’ll find yourself marveling at the view of the city and surrounding islands.

Stargazing at Kota Belud
Image credit: UrbanSabah

For more scenic views, consider renting a car for a day trip to Kota Belud to enjoy an evening of stargazing – completely free. It’s just an hour’s drive to chasing the Milky Way.

Or drop by the Desa Cattle Farm which is just a 2 hour drive from the hotel. Watch the cows graze against the mountain views and you’ll feel like you’re in New Zealand instead.

Image credit: @adelixf

Gaya Island Resort
Address: Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 3 2783 1000

7. Kokol Haven Resort (from $113/night) – located on top of Kokol Hill with stunning views of Mount Kinabalu

Image credit: Kokol Haven Resort

For an unobstructed view of Kota Kinabalu, Kokol Haven Resort will provide just that at an affordable $113/night. Every room is spacious and equipped with a private balcony for you to easily take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

View from the balcony
Image credit: Kokol Haven Resort

If you’re up for some exploring, the resort itself has a herbs garden and a trekking route. But just 5 minutes from the resort is an opportunity to try paragliding and take a scenic flight over Kota Kinabalu from RM350 (S$115.05)

Image credit:

For a more relaxing outing, there’s the Le’ One Kokol Elf, a dedicated area for catching sunsets and enjoying the surrounding view. It will cost you RM120 (S$39.44) to enter but it’s pretty worth it with the mega swing over the hill, various sun beds for lounging, a quirky cafe and even an ATV track. 

Mega Swing at Le’ One Kokol Elf
Image credit: @kokolelf_

Kokol Haven Resort
Address: KM 10, Jalan Kokol, Menggatal, 88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Telephone: +60 088-412248 / 088-412284

8. Pom Pom Island Resort (from $527/night) – watch turtle eggs hatch and send them off to sea

Image credit: divingtime

At Pom Pom Island Resort, you can choose to stay at either a beach or water villa from $527/night. It’s located on a private island, so either way, you’ll get to enjoy direct access to the beach and the ocean without the crowds. 

Image credit: Pom Pom Island Resort

You can even take a shower with a full view of the ocean! And you don’t have to worry about running out of things to do either, as this resort comes complete with a restaurant, bar and gym.

Image credit: @pompomislandresort

But if you’d like to travel beyond the shores, you can take a cruise to explore the neighbouring islands or learn to dive. All you need to do is to ask the resort staff and they’ll help you to arrange your trips.

Pom Pom Island Resort
Address: Jalan Causeway, Semporna, 91307 Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia

Staying in Kota Kinabalu

Beyond the adrenaline-spiking activities that we all associate Kota Kinabalu with, this scenic island is also home to a bunch of romantic activities that make for a lovely getaway for you and your beau. 

From stargazing and chasing the Milky Way to having dinner with a view of flickering fireflies, Kota Kinabalu is the dreamy vacation that might soon rival staycations.

Fly with Scoot to Kota Kinabalu that’s only 2 hours away

When you’re looking for a budget flight, you know you can trust Scoot to provide a comfy ride for the long haul. Flying to over 60 destinations, a flight with them lets you “Escape the Ordinary” conveniently. 

It’s also fuss-free when as a traveller, you have the freedom to customise your flight experience based on your needs and pay for only what you want. For example, you can choose to fly light without having a check-in baggage or a meal and save the extra bucks.

An added bonus: Scoot also just removed all Payment Processing Fees globally for all bookings made directly through Scoot. That’s even more savings when booking your next ticket out of your 9-6 routine.

For the first time, Scoot is offering direct flights from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu this December. Its inaugural flight will take off on 3rd December 2019 and from then on, Scoot will be providing daily flights to and fro Kota Kinabalu. One-way fares from Singapore start from just S$67!

So if you’re looking for a quick getaway, Kota Kinabalu can give you the best of both romance and adventure in one trip. Be amongst the first to fly there on Scoot and treat your beau to a romantic trip that’ll be filled with endless fun.

Fly with Scoot to Kota Kinabalu

This post was brought to you by Scoot.

Syuhada Suri

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