The Jesselton Hotel

3.5 out of 5 stars3.5 Stars

69 Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88000, Malaysia

6 Reviews

The Jesselton Hotel
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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 54% more than similarly rated 3.5 star hotels

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Good For Solo
  • Families85
  • Couples80
  • Solo86
  • Business57
  • euzkadi's Profile Photo

    Old colonial hotel.


    The Jesselton was the first post WWII modern hotel built at 69 Bond Street (now Gaya street). An elegant hotel with a cosmopolitan flavour, is the best place in Kota if you want to enjoy the old colonial charm.

    Unique Quality: Old traditional style, very well located in the Central Business District. A great experience.

  • Avoid this Hotel


    Avoid this hotel.
    Too sum up, terrible maintenance, lots of bugs, broken and not working items, very slow breakfast, poor and manipulative service (Janet), overpriced for area, chemicals.

    I confirmed a room with 2 beds about a week before arrival. When we arrived, they gave us a room with only 1 bed. After I complained, they soon brought in a portable bed that took up most of the room. The bed looked like a great home for bedbugs – terribly and disgustingly stained mattress. There were mosquitos in the room. There was a huge cockroach next to the toilet. Multiple lamps did not work in the room. We asked for the code to the wifi, and it didn’t work. The next morning we asked for a double room, then went to breakfast. After breakfast, we asked to speak to a manager about the poor quality of the room. Janet came to the room in 30 minutes. I showed her everything wrong, including the huge cockroach. She made excuses about everything, with no apologies. She said she was all natural about killing bugs (which we later found to be totally untrue). She said she would pour bleach down all the drains to kill the cockroaches. We asked for the double room we initially requested and a discount. She ‘generously’ said she wouldn’t charge us for the portable bed and asked for proof that we requested 2 beds. I gave her a copy of the email that they confirmed we had 2 beds. She would not shut up (complained about other customers) and spoke to us for about an hour. I repeatedly told her we were trying to leave. Then we packed our stuff and brought it down to a new room. The new room had swarms of mosquitos in it and we noticed that the window was broken and didn’t shut. It was stuck open so the bugs could come in, and there was a railing outside so anyone would be able to come in. We went to put our stuff in the safe – which was locked open so we couldn’t use it. Not to mention, the safe wasn’t tied down to anything, so it wasn’t that useful. We had to call Janet back. She came up in about 10 minutes. She wasted about 20 minutes of our time talking, and I told her it was already noon and we missed half our day because of the room issues (and the very slow breakfast) and we just couldn’t talk to her anymore.

    I told her I was very frustrated and expected a discount. She offered us a discount in the hotel gift store. I said no, we only had ½ a day left in KK and we weren’t going to spend it shopping in their gift shop. She said OK to a discount. I said that I don’t want to go through any trouble at checkout, so to please make sure the discount is on our room account. We finally left the hotel. When we returned around 6pm, the room smelled so strong of Raid that it literally burned our eyes and throats. They did fix the window and the safe. We had to leave the room due to the stench. We later again tried to WiFi and it didn’t work; the hotel staff just said it was down (for our entire stay).

    That night, around 3am we woke up freezing. We used both the extra blankets and the bed spreads. I repeatedly tried to turn down the A/C. Around 6am, we contacted the staff and someone came up. The batteries in the remote didn’t work. They adjusted the batteries enough to turn off the machine, but of course didn’t change them – just left it for the next poor sap.

    The breakfast was so slow. The food was OK, but you couldn’t just get what you wanted, it was not buffet style. You had to order it and it took at least 30 minutes to arrive. Coffee refills took about 15 minutes. On my second day, I refilled my own coffee although they didn’t like this, but I didn’t want to wait another 15 minutes for a refill.

    To top off our stay, of course at check out, there was no discount. I asked to speak with Janet and the woman at the front desk seemed terribly annoyed. We had to wait about 15 minutes – this was part of the time that we expected to be commuting to the airport. She finally came down and started talking again – I told her we really didn’t have time to listen to her, she gave a 10% discount on the portion we hadn’t prepaid (about $13)!! We spent about $150 for these 2 terrible nights.

    Unique Quality: Good location, nice men at door.

  • jesselton Hotel best value for money


    We just had our first trip to Kota Kinabalu Sabah. We had searched for reviews on this hotel and came up with many conflicting opinions.Most however did say it was good value. We have been traveling in and about Malaysia for this last year and have been very disilusioned with finding value for money hotels in Malaysia. Now we have. The Jesselton is well located,very clean and well maintained.The staff were very friendly and helpful.The breakfast(which was included in the price) was varied in its a la carte choice.We are fussy eaters when it comes to quality and the breakfasts disappointed but we suspect for most people it would be fine.They had good European style coffee(coffeeholics) which is rare in Asia.
    Is it us or is there a strong Italian presence in KK? The Jesselton has an Italian restaurant and it was surprisingly good!There were also many other Italian restaurants. The supermarket near the Jesselton had an amazing array of high end Italian products?? We are going back to the Jesselton and would highly recommend it. The Sunday market is right out the front door as well! It was one of the best markets I have been to(great variety of products and great people watching!).

  • A Disappointment


    If you are set on staying here inspect the room BEFORE you check in. Our room had 9 lights and only 2 worked, and after calling the front desk, a repairman was sent up. He ran out of bulbs after replacing only two and said the hotel had no more. Imagine that. Our room was also supposed to have a had none. The safe was completely inoperative. Wallpaper peeling off the walls and moldy walls. The carpet was badly stained. On our return trip we demanded and received a slightly better room.

  • yipsufen's Profile Photo

    The Jesselton Hotel


    Unique Quality: The Jesselton Hotel is a timeless piece of colonial beauty that is established in 1954, and also the oldest hotel in KK. The hotel is strategcally located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu's business and commercial district and a mere 20-minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Right at your footstep is the Gaya Street Sunday market.

    The hotel provides an exquisite personalised service, in the style of colonial house with welcoming public areas, a cozy lounge, an elegant Italian restaurant, 32 well-appointed guestrooms and an authentic London cab in hope of extending a geniune welcome to the guests.

    In recent years, Jesselton Hotel has been recognised as one of Malaysia's leading boutique hotels. Spot the bell boy wearing a colonial uniform.

    Directions: At the starting point of Gaya Street Sunday Market

  • syetan's Profile Photo

    ah, the old colonies...


    A class establishment that was one of the first in KK - still maintains that old colonial charm, and the staff are dressed accordingly. Well located but you get no views. The famous Wishbone restaurant that was part of the hotel has now been replaced by an italian restaurant.

    Unique Quality: The charm, location is also very good near Wisma Merdeka and the Jalan Gaya weekend markets

    Directions: near Stamford College

More about The Jesselton Hotel

Jesselton Hotel ~ The British style hotel

by andrew_cky about Jesselton Hotel

The Jesselton Hotel, located in the historic heart of Kota Kinabalu, promises a unique experience. Established in 1954, the hotel became the choice of discerning businessmen and travellers. Completely refurbished in the mid-1990's and is now Sabah's premier boutique hotel.

The Jesselton Hotel retains the serenity of bygone days, while offering all the conveniences of a modern hotel. An ideal location in the heart of the banking and financial centre of Kota Kinabalu.

As soon as guests are escorted by the doorman into the marble-floored lobby of the hotel, they begin to experience the special ambience. Elegant yet comfortable, in the style of a refined English Country house.


Jesselton Hotel in KKJesselton Hotel in KK

Forum Posts


by vincentf

I am planning on a 5-day trip to Sabah from Hong Kong late May/early June. I would like to know:
- how much are the local tours to snorkelling and visiting the rainforest?
-any local tour guides recommended?
-give me any comments on Pacific Sutera Resort, eg. are there snorkelling waters nearby?
-any good local Malay food in Kota Kinabalu?

Thanks from Hong Kong

Re: Sabah

by shellseeker

snorkeling trips to the Tunku Abdul Rahman NP are not so expensive and a good thing to do from KK. To find good local restaurants is not very difficult. I would advice you to go and see Mount Kinabalu NP, just 4 hours out of KK. Have fun. It is paradise!

Re: Sabah

by yeikloen

Well I am not sure how much is the trip but they have increase the entrance fee to about RM10/20 if you are interested you can mail to for some prices, but I paid about RM250 for a night trek to Mount KInabalu inclusive to a night accomodation at 11k feet.

Sutera Harbour, is gorgeous... just beautiful but its kinda far away from the city, but its a very beautiful resort area with golf.

Local Malay food... Malay is not the main ethnic group in Sabah so I would not actually suggest to try malay food there, but if you insist next to the Filipino market there is a huge open area with lots of malay stalls. But I can suggest you some really good food there, Bak Kut Teh (along Gaya Street), Assam Pedas Oxtail Soup (Hyatt Hotel or Wishbone at Jesselton Hotel), Beef Noodles (Generally very good), Curry Laksa (Kinabalu Coffee Shop just behind Gaya Street), Pizza heard that its very good but didn't have the time to try it even I stayed at the hotel, Capitol Hotel.

Place to party in the night, Shenanigans and now more popular for teens, Beach Street. 3 cans of beer for RM10.

I would say Kota Kinabalu is still my favourite city in Malaysia hope you enjoy it as much as I do everytime I am there.

Re: Re: Sabah

by vincentf

Thanks for the tips! I just got back from Kota Kinabalu 48 hours ago....
Anyways, yes I went snorkelling at Sapi Island, Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and visited Mount Kinabalu National Park w/canopy walkway at Poring Hot Springs.

what an exotic place! A far cry from the concrete jungles of Kuala Lumpur.

Re: Re: Sabah

by yeikloen

Hi Vincent,

I am happy that you enjoyed yourself there, I've always love the place.... the people, the food and of coz the beer.... too cheap to be true in Malaysia......

writing this makes me wanna go back there again.


Re: Re: Sabah

by vincentf


anyways, I can refresh your memories by visiting my page under "State of Sabah". I just uploaded my photos there and continue to add more to it.



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 The Jesselton Hotel

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Jesselton Hotel Kota Kinabalu

Address: 69 Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88000, Malaysia