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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
MB knows what’s important: a comfortable night’s sleep...
Sepilok Jungle Resort
Everyone seems to stay here but it's hard to see why. Well, no, it's not – this is a big stop on the package-tour path. Some rooms are a bit drab: cheap carpeting and bedspreads and musty windows...
Borneo Global Backpackers
Feels a bit like a warehouse, but nonetheless popular with the budget crowd. Located at the southern end of town. Ask about tours to Semporna and Sungai Kinabatangan.
This long-running backpackers is a bit cramped, but it's very popular, especially with younger travellers.
Akinabalu Youth Hostel
Friendly staff, fuchsia accent walls and trickling Zen fountains make this a solid option among KK's hostels, particularly if you find a quiet time to take advantage of the gratis internet and DVDs...
Step In Lodge
This popular spot wins the award for KK’s smartest hostel with larger-than-normal bunk beds, comfy mattresses, real coffee at breakfast, and an excellent (not to mention knowledgeable) staff...
This place is one of the most popular budget deals in town and a firm fixture on the Borneo backpacker trail besides. Clean, well-lit, affordable and a decent place to meet other citizens of Backpackistan.
Borneo Global Sipadan Backpackers
Near the Seafest (on the seafront – say that three times fast), this dullish spot is cheap and cheerful. There are posters of fish, to remind you of why you came to Semporna, we guess.
Borneo Gaya Lodge
A typical high-volume hostel. Staff are a peach, and will help organise nearly anything, and you're as centrally located in KK as can be.
Sea View Sandakan Budget & Backpackers Hotel
The name of this place is a little deceptive; you won't be getting many sea views per se (especially because it seems a new building is going up right on the waterfront)...
Sepilok Forest Edge Resort
This fine resort grew out of the excellent Labuk B&B, which is still technically part of the Forest Edge property...
Gayana Eco Resort
Five stunning villas stuffed with modern amenities and island chic touches make up posh Gayana...
The Jesselton Hotel
The oldest hotel in KK doesn't need to manufacture character – it fairly drips it, in a dignified if dated way. Mock-colonial wood and marble make you want to don black-tie formal clothes, and the single suite even has its own fishpond...
Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
The Shangri-La is a good choice for those who want to combine the attractions of Kota Kinabalu with the features of a tropical resort...
Gaya Island Resort
Six immaculate villas that blend modernity with open air accents, earth tones with cool whites and a subtle integration of the ocean with green jungle perch over a half-moon bay. Attentive service makes for a property that drips with refined indugence.
The Klagan Hotel
Funky molded recliners and bright yellows and reds in the superior rooms make this midrange option a cut above the competition.
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
'If you can't undercut 'em, outclass 'em' seems to be the motto at KK's most central five-star venture, which just reeks of luxury, from the incredible views from the pool deck to the flat-screen TVs and DVD players...
This smart hotel offers business-class standard accommodation, with chilly air-con, flat-screen TVs and big soft beds, all in the heart of KK...
The Nak is a solid midrange hotel that's a fair steal if you're travelling as a couple or with friends, and nice value even if you're by yourself...
The ‘D-apostrophe’ gives this downtown option a certain je ne sais quoi, but there’s nothing particularly boutique about it...
A three-star establishment offering comfortable but characterless Western-style rooms. Back in Agnes Keith’s time, staying here would have cost you just $8…
Bilit Adventure Lodge
This lodge allows you to adventure in (overpriced) style, or at least sleep as such, in a collection of 24 chalets, some fan-cooled and some with air-con, all decorated in safari style with wooden accents and big fluffy beds.