Great stop-over hotel in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo: C’haya Hotel

On my recent ASEAN Explorer trip, I had a short stop over on my return in Kota Kinabalu. With little time and an early morning departure, I wanted an affordable hotel near the airport and picked the C’haya Hotel. Having stayed at airport hotels many times on business trips, I had low expectations – and ended up being positively surprised!

Location: The C’haya Hotel is located 1.2km from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Terminal 2, making it a very convenient option for a stopover, and they offer a free airport shuttle. It’s roughly the same distance to the beautiful Tanjung Aru beach, with a nice boardwalk and some bars and restaurants. There is a convenience store around the corner.

Chaya BathService: The main reason I booked this hotel for a stop-over was the airport shuttle – and it worked flawlessly: As soon as I left Terminal 2, the driver waited for me with a sign and I was at the hotel within a few minutes. The check-in was quick and friendly, providing all the information I requested. I had breakfast at the hotel in the morning and the staff was equally friendly. The drop-off at the airport the next morning worked equally well and was right on time. Given the category of the hotel, I couldn’t ask for more.

Room: The room is pretty large with hardwood floors and light-wood furniture. The hotel is new and the rooms are in very good condition and spotlessly clean. The queen-size bed is comfortable, there is a cozy window seat as well as a work desk and storage for your luggage. A TV as well as coffee/tea facilities are provided, all working fine. The bathroom is also modern, held in dark colors, with a glass shower wall and plenty of space around the sink to hold your toiletries. Everything in the room was clean and well maintained, although there was a smell in the bathroom on arrival, probably from not being used in a while – it disappeared after a while… The in-room wifi is slow, so don’t plan on getting a lot of work done.

Chaya Tanjung Aru BeachAmenities/Restaurant: The hotel has a rooftop pool, but I didn’t get a chance to look at it during my short stay. The small restaurant next to the lobby serves breakfast (not included in room price). It’s made to order and you have a choice of local and international options. The selection is ok and the quality of the food is basic, so it’s acceptable before catching a flight. The best and unexpected “feature” of the hotel was that the beautiful beach at Tanjung Aru is in walking distance. I headed there in time for the sunset to have some food. There are plenty of options and it was busy with people strolling along the beach promenade, making it a nice place to hang out.

Conclusion: The C’haya Hotel is perfect for a stop-over when traveling on AirAsia through Kota Kinabalu. The airport shuttle worked flawlessly, the rooms are clean and modern, making this a comfortable stay. Having the beach close by was an added benefit, so if you have trips planned to Sepilog or Danum Valley with only short stops in KK, the C’haya could be a good option for you.

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