If you wish to stay within Kinabalu Park, your only option is to book overpriced accommodation through Sutera Sanctuary Lodge, who have the monopoly.
The options offered by Sutera are both clean and comfortable and some are decked out with wood burning fireplaces for that cosy mountain ambience. Non-package rates that include breakfast range from 310 ringgit for a dorm—yes that’s ONE person—to 9,888 ringgit for three-bedroom Rajah Lodge. Dorms are heated and very smart, but seriously if you can afford one, you wouldn’t be choosing to sleep in a dorm. For twin or double rooms, Rock Twin Share is the starting option, and is little more than a comfortable dorm converted into a twin room, with a share bathroom — again at 433 ringgit, you can afford not to share a bathroom. Hill Lodge (804 ringgit) and Liwagu Suite (865 ringgit) are the better choices. Hill Lodge is a honeycomb of hexagonal shaped brick bungalows as it says on the box, propped on a small hill facing the mountain. Parquet floored interiors are spacious and offer comfortable king or twin beds alongside restful lounge chairs and flatscreen TVs, but are a tad dark, particularly those with back facing windows. Liwagu Suite offers more hotel-like accomodation. Mezzanine style rooms are very smart with rich warm tones and textiles. The bed on the mezzanine level overlooks the living area below. Rooms are bright with large picture windows and glass doors opening to a small furnished balcony edging the jungle. Bathrooms in both are clean and offer hot water showers.
Other more expensive options are more suitable for families or groups and start with two-bedroom Peak Lodge for 1,212 ringgit. Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need to book well in advance, particular if a trip to the summit is on your itinerary. It’s possible to book accomodation at the base of the mountain on some booking sites at heavily discounted rates, but for the summit, you’re best to contact Sutera Sanctuary Lodge directly. The cheaper option is to stay at Poring, one hour's drive away, but that also means a very early rise to climb.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: House, low season: 9 ringgit, high season 9 ringgit. Notes: Rajah Lodge, 3 bedrooms
Room: Dorm air-con, low season: 310 ringgit, high season 310 ringgit. Notes:
Room: Dbl air-con share bathroom, low season: 433 ringgit, high season 433 ringgit. Notes:
Room: Dbl air-con private bathroom, low season: 804 ringgit, high season 804 ringgit. Notes:
Room: Suite, low season: 865 ringgit, high season 865 ringgit. Notes:
Inside Kinabalu Park
T: (0884) 87466
F: (0884) 87566
Room rates: 250 to 500 ringgit