Review: Kota Kinabalu Marriott (Ocean Suite)

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Nightly rateMYR 414 (US$91)
Length of stay1 night
Date of stayAugust 2022
Membership levelTitanium Elite
(Marriott Bonvoy)

What benefits to expect when you stay at Kota Kinabalu Marriott as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium or Platinum Elite member?

Kota Kinabalu Marriott opened in 2018 with a total of 332 rooms.

This property usually requires 15,000 to 20,000 points per night for award stays.

Location

The hotel is located in central Kota Kinabalu. There is a mall right next to it, however, there were hardly any shops opened.

  • 1 min walk to Oceanus Waterfront Mall
  • 10 mins walk to Imago Shopping Mall
  • 20 mins drive to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI)
  • 2 hrs 15 mins drive to Kundasang (Mount Kinabalu)
Connecting doors to Oceanus Mall
Outdoor walkway to Oceanus Mall
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Oceanus Mall
Oceanus Mall
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Arrival

I had booked the base room and was pre-upgraded to the Ocean Suite (a.k.a. 1 King Bed, Sea View, M Club Lounge Access, Large Suite) 2 days prior to arrival, as a Titanium member recognition.

I also chose 1,000 points as my welcome gift.

Lobby
Corridor

Ocean Suite

Room 940 is 91sqm / 979sqft in size.

As expected from a fairly-new property, the furnishing was very modern. However, I noticed stains on a number of areas of the sofa seats.

While I appreciated the kind upgrade to this large suite, I did not enjoy having the swimming pool right in front of my window. This contributed to noise and privacy issues.

Also, this happens to be one of those “5-star” hotels without a coffee machine in the room and low quality coffee and tea.

Check out the video tour of this room on our Instagram page.

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Living room
Living room (reversed angle)
Welcome amenities
Power ports near the dining table
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Welcome letter
Beverage area
Complimentary coffee and tea
Toilet near the living room
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View from the suite
View from the suite at sunset
Bedroom
Bedroom (reversed angle)
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Night stand
Bathroom
View from the bathroom
Bath salts and loofah
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Bathroom amenities
Toilet
Shower
Bath products
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Floor plan of level 9

M Club lounge replacement

Platinum members and above have access to the M Club lounge, which was closed for renovation during my stay. To be fair, this was stated very clearly on the hotel’s official booking page.

When asked, I was told that the lounge’s flooring were in bad condition since it was closed at the start of the pandemic.

The M Club is temporarily located in a small section of “The Lounge” for eligible guests to access.

M Club area at The Lounge
M Club area at The Lounge
M Club area at The Lounge (reversed angle)

Afternoon tea

Only 2 types of cakes were available for afternoon tea.

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Afternoon tea

Evening cocktail

There were more food options for evening cocktail but it wasn’t an impressive spread by any means.

Presentation and taste were good. However, to nitpick a little, the lounge did not have decaf coffee available.

Evening cocktail picks
Light bites
Noodles
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Dim sum

Breakfast

Breakfast is complimentary for Platinum members and above. It was held as a buffet at Kitchen@8 restaurant.

It is quite a huge restaurant with a great view of the South China Sea.

There was a wide variety of dishes offered, however, taste was just okay. Most of the dishes, especially the pastries, did not taste fresh, like they were there since the early morning.

Kitchen@8 restaurant
Kitchen@8 restaurant (reversed angle)
View from Kitchen@8 restaurant
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Outdoor dining area
Cold cuts and pastries
Roasted chicken
Dim sum
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Noodles station
Hot food
Indian cuisine
Korean food
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Salad area
Sliced fruits
Booster fruit juice
Beverage area
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Breakfast picks
Roti canai

Other facilities

The hotel has a large infinity swimming pool that is (unfortunately) located just outside my window.

Swimming pool
View from the pool chairs
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Kids pool

For the available space, the gym has a shocking number of equipments! Most of them are positioned uncomfortably close to one another.

There is also no view from the gym.

Gym
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My ratings

This is how I am rating my stay, after considering what I paid:

Breakfast8/10
Service8/10
Location8/10
Room furnishing9/10
View
(from the room)
9/10
Peace & quiet8/10
Club Lounge6/10
Facilities9/10
Elite member recognition10/10
Value7/10

Bottom line

I stayed in this property after spending 2 weeks in Hyatt Regency Kinabalu nearby, and to be honest, because of its higher price point and age, I was expecting my experience at this hotel to be better.

Unfortunately, it is not.

Sure, the room looks a lot more modern, but in my opinion, Kota Kinabalu Marriott loses out to Hyatt Regency Kinabalu in most other areas. This includes the club lounge, service, room amenities, breakfast, view from the room, peace and quiet, privacy and location. And to be honest, the standard wasn’t thaaat high to begin with!

Kota Kinabalu Marriott is not bad but for much better value, the Hyatt property will be my easy pick the next time I’m in town as it requires as little as 3,500 points per night.

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