The hotel is located within the massive 1Borneo development some 7 kilometres to the north of Kota Kinabalu. It is accessible from the city centre via the Sulaman Highway which connects Kota Kinabalu to various points north via Likas Bay, the Sabah Foundation building, various government administrative centres and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). Driving from Kota Kinabalu should take no more than 15 minutes depending on the time of the day (hint: try to avoid afternoon rush hours). Hailing a taxi from Kota Kinabalu should set you back anywhere between RM20 - RM25 per way.
Alternatively, you can opt for the free shuttle service that runs from 4 popular spots in Kota Kinabalu to 1Borneo. The shuttle service runs from Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort, Sutera Harbour Resort, Promenade Hotel and Warisan Square every 30 minutes to the hypermall. The air-conditioned shuttle service is available at Warisan Square from 0945hrs to 2145hrs, Promenade Hotel (0955hrs to 2155hrs), Sutera Harbour Resort (1010hrs to 2210hrs) and Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort (1030hrs to 2230hrs) at 30 minutes interval.
Kota Kinabalu is currently seeing a boom in the tourism industry as judged from the number of new hotels that are being built. Additional hotel rooms are seen to provide a breathing space for Kota Kinabalu's hospitality scene which is often unable to cope with the influx of Japanese, Korean, Australian and European tourists in the summer months of June - August. Upon the full completion of the 1Borneo development by the Ramajuta Group of Companies, a property concern which also has the Warisan Square under its stable, the one-stop lifestyle shopping mall will boast some hundreds of new hotel rooms. Making its comeback into the Malaysian hospitality scene after many years of hiatus is the Accor Group which will manage the hotel under its 4-star Novotel brand. In fact, Novotel 1Borneo is the 2nd establishment under the brand after the successful opening of the Novotel Hydro Majestic in Kuala Lumpur in 2007.
As it will only officially opens in August 2008, this write-up should not be construed as the definitive guide for Novotel 1Borneo, but we aim to be as representative as we could of what it has offer when the official opening beckons. Its entrance opens into the main lobby which is compact yet stylish with high ceiling, timber-strip flooring and exquisite lighting fixtures. At the main lobby, you will find the reception desk on one side and an F&B outlet named Bonjour Café which will be detailed out later as we move along. Overall, the main lobby gives an ample look of modernity and should be a decent preview on overall theme that this particular Novotel outlet intends to put on the table.
In its entirety, Novotel 1Borneo will host 263 guest rooms and suites of various categories. As a quick summary, each room or suite features broadband internet access, 32in Toshiba LCD TV with ASTRO channels, individually-controlled air conditioning, coffee & tea making facilities, electronic safe, mini bar, hair dryer, writing desk and IDD phone. As for the breakdown of room and suite categories, Novotel 1Borneo hosts 123 Standard rooms of varying sizes, 58 Superior rooms with 39 sq-metre of built-up, 66 Premier rooms with similar arrangement of Standard / Superior rooms but come with Novotel's Biz privileges (they are known as Standard Premier and Superior Premier rooms for better differentiation), 15 Executive suites of 59 sq-metre built-up complete with master bedroom and living area, as well as one Presidential suite which boasts two bedrooms and whirlpool long bath. This write-up shall feature a number of variants of the Standard room category which are available for viewing prior to the hotel opening in August 2008.
With a total of 123 units, the Standard category makes up the majority of room offering in Novotel 1Borneo. As a unique attribute, the Standard room sizes vary depending on individual floor placement. Regardless, each room is done opulently, typical of a stylish and brand-new hotel. The entrance of the Standard room opens into an unconventional bathroom area, which features contemporary wash basin, see-through glass window that provides the bedding area view and a long bath combined with built-in shower head that is fixed from the ceiling. Yes, there is no standing shower for the bathroom and as an innovative substitute, a clear glass partition is installed between the long bath and the wash basin. That means room guests will be able to shower inside the long bath without flooding the dry area. The bedding area can best be described as minimal and traditional. The walls are done with soft light brown colour that exudes a homely feel for the guests. The flooring is done fully in timber-strip which adds a touch of luxury. Choices of two twin beds or one king bed are available for the Standard room category. As expected, the bedding is done in high-quality cotton bed linens of simple white colour which goes really well with the natural look of the timber-strip floor. The corner of the room features a fairly large glass window which opens out to the views of either the adjoining shopping mall, Mount Kinabalu on clear days or the neighbouring residential areas. A one-seater fabric sofa is also placed next to the glass window which forms a lounging space for the room. Complimenting the stylish look is a 32" Toshiba LCD TV which is neatly embedded to a wall fixture that is directly fronting the bedding area.
There are two other variants of the Standard room category that are available for viewing and can be featured here. A relatively unknown and rarely advertised Standard room type is located almost in the middle of the floor and the reason behind that is due to the lack of window. Of recent days, some hotels have termed this room type as the "Court Room" (perhaps because a court hall does not have any window, or something else?). On the bright side (and in all honesty), the window-less room does not feel like one. In fact, it is more spacious that most Standard rooms, and get this: it is the only Standard variant that offers a standing shower. So, if you are the guest type who never bothers with what's behind the wall curtains but could not live without a standing shower, the "Court Room" could just be for you. Another Standard room variant is located on a floor section that faces the 1Borneo's ballroom area. Some people could describe the ballroom roof-top view as unsightly but if you are willing to shut the curtains down throughout your stay, you will be presented with an extra-spacious Standard room that seems to be able to fit another two single beds (read: very suitable for a mid-size family). Quite a number of this room variant will feature a connecting door to an adjoining room that is equally spacious (read: very suitable for a big-size family). So there, the variants of Standard room category that you are able to find out from here, first! If the reception staff is wondering how on earth could a guest asking for the elusive "Court Room" or "ballroom roof-top" room, don't forget that you learn about it here.
Now, a brief run-through of the facilities that Novotel 1Borneo offers (or will be offering soon). The top-most floor of the hotel building shall feature the Biz Lounge which is only accessible for guests staying on the top three level of Premier floors. An outdoor swimming pool with jacuzzi is underway and will located on some floors up. Apart from that, a 24-hour Business Centre and 3 function rooms (La Bastille, Tour Eiffel and Le Louvre) will be introduced in due time. As for F&B, there will be 4 outlets upon full opening. As of the writing time, two of them are already in service, namely Bonjour Café which is on the main lobby just opposite the reception desk and Le Millésime Lounge & Bar which is on Level 1. Bonjour Café is a stylish lobby lounge which serves only non-alcoholic beverages in an elevated timber-strip platform. Its open interior is chic and contemporary with careful placement of comfortable sofa in various seating configurations. Meanwhile, Le Millésime Lounge & Bar has a more sedated look with an exclusive ambiance. It features bold-coloured sofa arrangement with pipe-in and live musical numbers. A variety of beverages inclusive of bottled wines and liquor from a dedicated cellar are served at the outlet. The other two outlets under construction are Le Square Restaurant, which is a signature outlet for the Novotel brand, and Le Mo Passan which specialises in French-Asian cuisines. Le Square Restaurant which is located on Level 5 serves all-day dining menus of Asian-Western fusion delicacy in an open-kitchen concept while Le Mo Passan will be featured on the roof-top section of the hotel and is available for lunch and dinner.
Coming to the end of our preview, our team would like to extend our appreciation to the Director of Sales for Novotel 1Borneo, Mrs. Jennifer Tay, for her willingness to arrange for a short tour of the hotel in a short notice. We are in the opinion that the hotel presents an interesting and stylish lodging option for business and leisure travelers alike in the beautiful city of Kota Kinabalu. We would like to wish Novotel 1Borneo the best of luck in its upcoming full opening.
Here are some useful information if you wish to learn more about Novotel 1Borneo:
- Official hotel website
Modern, fresh and chic. Good location in the largest shopping mall in Borneo.