Modern mountain chalets
A hop, skip and a jump—and a very steep driveway—from Kinabalu Park entrance, J Residence offers a handful of comfortable chalets clinging to the forested sloping mountainside.
The modern wood and metal-framed, glass-fronted chalets come in duplex or family-style, with wide furnished balconies, some with swinging rattan pod-chairs to enjoy the mountain and valley vistas. Spacious and bright rooms provided comfortable twin or queen plus a single bed with thick and cosy covers to keep out the mountain chills. A three-twin-bedroom villa is also available.
Dark wooden floors, bright painted feature walls and modern artwork contribute to the smart and clean ambience. Rooms are not heated, but sufficiently warm if you pull the curtains on the view during the night. Facilities include a small flatscreen TV and DVD player (with two action movies or a Bollywood spectacular to choses from on our visit), and there’s free WiFi. Tea and instant coffee makings are offered in the room, but you’ll have to use the small outdoor kitchen, shared between two rooms, to brew up hot water. Otherwise minimally furnished, and notably lacking bedside tables and reading lamps, there’s plenty of floorspace for your bags.
Clean tiled and polished cement ensuite bathrooms are semi-open, which is downright chilly on a cold mountain morning, but the showers are warm. Hooks and racks for towels are abundant, but several bathrooms offer no flat surfaces for your bits and bobs.
J Residence don’t have an on-sight restaurant, and breakfast isn’t included, however two restaurants are nearby, and if you pack a few snags, a spacious covered barbecue area is available. For travellers on a self-drive trip, car spaces are offered next to the chalets.
On weekdays this is an excellent flashpacker deal, but note on weekends (that is Saturday and Sunday nights, but not Friday) and public holidays the price ups about 60 per cent, and Ayana Holiday Resort up the road becomes the better deal, however even with the weekend surcharge, it’s still better value than a dorm inside the park. It would be wise to book ahead at these times. Staff were a little grumpy when we visited, but an inhalation of the fresh mountain air, and such minor complaints are forgotten. Rooms away from the road are very quiet, but if you plan to stay after a mountain climb you may appreciate room one, where you don’t have so far to walk.
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By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 2nd October, 2016.