We were so excited and looking forward to our one-night stay at Kinabalu Pine Resort, a mountain resort, located at Kundasang, a small countryside town situated at the foothill of Mt Kinabalu. It has 64 wooden cabins with open porches and mountain views. As the resort is on an elevated level and the air temperature is cold, we had to put on warm jackets.
Upon checking in at the reception, we were given a cabin at Block K, Room 1. We had the impression that all the rooms would face Mt Kinabalu. However, Room K1 does not have a direct view of Mt Kinabalu at all. Instead it overlooked the reception area, restaurant and roof tops. When we told our local guide that we wanted the mountain view, she told us that we had to walk to an outdoor platform to see the full view of the mountain. My husband went onsite to check and we were offered a room at the lower level of Block R, Room 4, which has a small porch which faces the mountain view.
After we have checked in, we found to our dismay, that R4 is a very small and basic standard room. It has a king size bed, a small tv console and a walk-in section where we could hang our clothes on a railing. On the opposite end, there is a small table with a kettle, coffee and tea-making facilities and a wall-mounted mirror and hair-dryer. The room is sparsely furnished and not air-conditioned as the air temperature at the resort is cold. There is a wall fan if the temperature gets too warm. The water heater took 20 minutes to warm up before any one of us could take a shower. When my daughter went into the toilet, she let out a scream and rushed out quickly as there was a menacingly-looking black beetle behind the toilet door. After much chaos, I bravely picked up the beetle on a tissue paper and set it free outside our room.
We were unable to connect to the free wifi/internet access in the room, probably because we were located at the lower level of the block and had to go to the reception area or restaurant to check our messages. Our door also locked automatically when it was closed so we were told not to leave our key card in the room otherwise we would be locked out. We found out from a map later that we were given a different category room. Our guide had booked a Deluxe room for the 3 of us for us but we were downgraded to a smaller standard room because we wanted a mountain view. Somehow, we felt short-changed and disappointed that the reception staff had not informed us about the downgrade of the rooms as we would have made a more informed choice of whether we wanted to stay in a Deluxe room with no direct view of the mountain or a small standard room with a mountain view. We thought all the rooms were of the same size and it was such a major disappointment and let-down as our comfort had to be compromised. Service was also lacking as we had to call the reception twice to deliver the mattress for our daughter. She had to sleep on the floor and did not have a good night sleep as her movement was restricted due to the tight space on the floor.
As we recce the resort and surrounding area, we found out that Block P, Room 1, a standard room on a higher slope, has one of the best mountain views from its porch.
Young children at the resort can visit the rabbit house where a few rabbits were housed in a caged house. There is also a small playground at the foot of the resort.
The Pines Restaurant at the lower level, serves both halal local, Chinese and Western cuisine. We had a set dinner comprising of sweet-corn soup, fried broccoli, fish and beef rendang, served with Chinese tea and a platter of fruits. A big group next to us, had steamboat which was a perfect meal on a cool, chilling night. There is also a karaoke lounge which opens nightly from 9 pm to 11:30 pm.
The next morning, we were awakened at dawn by the continuous crowing of roosters. To city dwellers like us, it was a delight to be awakened by roosters rather than an alarm clock. It was 5:30 am and the sky was still dark. We decided to venture out of our room to the capture the sunrise and Mt Kinabalu. We went to the viewing platform where there were wooden chairs and a sun-dial and enjoyed the fresh, crisp mountain air. We waited patiently for the misty skies to clear and clouds to move away from the peak of Mt Kinabalu, as it has been covered with clouds and we could not see its peak. Our patience and efforts paid off at 6:30 am as we witnessed a breathtaking, magnificent view of Mt Kinabalu, as the clouds moved away from its peak briefly and the dark sky was transformed beautifully as day breaks. The mesmerising view unfolded before our eyes: the grandeur and majestic view of Mt Kinabalu with its glorious peak, nestled in the background of a picturesque and rustic village, coloured tiled roofs of houses and surrounding casuarina, pine trees and fauna at the foothill. It was so tranquil yet so majestic and the sounds of birds chirping and the rooster crowing, complete the picture-perfect view and we were completely awed. Out came our cameras and handphones as we snapped away pictures and videos quickly, capturing every moment. After a few minutes, the clouds covered the peak again. We lingered at the viewing platform for more than 2 hours and met friendly mountain-climbers who shared about their conquest of climbing the 4095.2m Mt Kinabalu.
Breakfast items were limited. It was a one-dish meal of either nasi lemak, soup noodles or an American burger, which we had to order one day in advance, and served with coffee or tea.
Kinabalu Pine Resort is a beautiful mountain resort, for leisure travellers like us who were there just for the mountain view, or for the enthusiastic mountain-climbers who stayed at the resort before or after conquering Mt Kinabalu. However, the downgraded room dampened our stay otherwise it would have been a perfect stay and the highlight of our trip in Sabah.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kinabalu Pine Resort is a multi-award winning & privately run accommodation that caters to budget-conscious travellers.All of our cabins have wide open porches facing Mount Kinabalu. Unlike our competitors, all of Kinabalu Pine Resort's wooden cabins are fully built using the exclusive Selangan Batu hardwood. There are Standard or Deluxe cabins, with blocks S & N at the resort's crest. All rooms come with WiFi internet access, satellite television channels, intercom facility, en-suite bathroom, hair dryer and coffee & tea making facilities.Dining & entertainment'The Pines' caters local, Chinese & Western cuisine. On cool windy nights, try ordering Steamboat (Chinese hot pot). Our karaoke lounge & bar opens nightly from 9.00pm to 11.30pm. A Conference hall to conduct your meetings and seminars surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful landscaping. Our facilites can cater up to 150 delegates in theatre setting, or up to 60 in classroom setting.Other facilitiesIncludes an on-site children's playground, outdoor barbecue pits and public telephones. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kinabalu Pine Hotel Kota Kinabalu