Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu: A Nature-inspired Lifestyle Hotel Offering a Multi-Sensory Experience


Designed by world-renowned architect, Kengo Kuma from Japan, Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu located in the heart of the city’s lively dining and entertainment district, offers an experiential stay for savvy travelers and residents alike, from adventure seekers to culture vultures. Embedding the beauty of Sabah’s pristine nature in its interiors and featuring an extensive work of art by local artisans, this 222-room lifestyle hotel has also collaborated with well-known local fashion designer, Melinda Looi, to design the hotel team’s vibrant-colored uniform to further enhance the overall guest experience.

Integration of Nature and Culture in the Hotel Contemporary Design

Drawing inspiration from Mother Nature, the hotel was designed with two natural elements of Sabah topography in mind with a mix of lush green forests and the rocky mountains, paying homage to Mount Kinabalu, Borneo’s highest mountain. Using tree as the primary design metaphor, Kengo Kuma creatively applies its elements throughout the hotel’s different spaces in this 23-story hotel – the open hotel lobby represents the roots of the tree with dense lower greenery showcasing bamboo trees and calming water feature, while the hotel guest room floors depict the vertical lines of a tree trunk, and the rooftop area serves as the crown of the tree offering unobstructed views of the horizon and cityscape, using natural light to create dramatic shadows and colors.

A Showcase of Sabah’s Rich Cultural Heritage, Local Artisans and Designer Staff Uniform by Melinda Looi

The Lounge in the hotel lobby provides a communal space where travelers and local guests can converse about the day’s adventure and is home to a pop-up artisan corner featuring visually striking artwork.

Some of these uniquely commissioned pieces include a hand-carved wood sculpture by Anniketnni Madian located on the wall in the hotel lounge and if one looks closely, you can find the beautiful, rare Rafflesia flower in bloom within the sculpture. Another stunning piece which can be found on the gallery wall in ON22 Restaurant depicts the natural life of the valley. This delicate butterfly framed paper cuts and prints on fine art paper were made of natural materials by the talented Raku Inoue. Guests can also marvel at the work of art by Agnes Lau featuring ceramics on wood panels in the lift lobby, and abstract wall images representing Mount Kinabalu, designed by Regev Amrani.


To continue building interaction and connection with the local culture, the hotel has also cleverly used creative art works such as the fun colorful coasters, as conversation starters in the hotel’s restaurants and bar. Created by local artist, Binjai, the coasters provide fun insights about Sabah. By the end of a meal, guests will be saying “Maginum” every time they have a drink or satisfy their curious taste buds with the sweet and creamy “Tarap” and Borneo’s wild mango “Bambangan.

Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu also took a step further by making the hotel staff uniform a conversation piece with striking and fun design that expresses the different role and movement of each individual, from hotel engineers to front office staff. To deliver this bold concept, the hotel has partnered with well-known local designer, Melinda Looi, to develop unique designs to match the brand. The uniforms are paired with vibrant accessories from Happy Plastics Borneo made of upcycled plastic materials to promote sustainability in fashion.

Discover Hidden Gems through the Local Street Arts Scene

For the active wanderers and the curious travelers who seek authentic local experiences, the hotel offers guided street art tours to explore the hidden gems of the neighborhood. Curated by a resident of Kota Kinabalu himself, Jared Abdul Rahman, travelers and local guests can listen to the real stories and inspiration behind a collection of iconic works of street art from raw, organic graffiti to curated, commissioned murals, through this 60-minute walking tour. Highlights include an interpretative piece on the environment named “Vanishing Wall” (2019) by East Tribe, a collaborative work under the creative leadership of Kenji Chai, and a more understated piece linking to the area’s gentrification titled “Auntie” (2019) by Akid One.

Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu -Guided Street Art Tour

For more information, please visit or call +60154 874 1234.

Last reviewed: February 13, 2023

Other Recent Articles