A cultural and business crossroads in otherwise sleepy northeastern Peninsular Malaysia, Kuala Terengganu doesn’t draw many tourists, but those who make it there will find themselves pleasantly surprised by the city’s unique architecture – both antique and contemporary – friendly folk and good food. Heck, there’s even a beach, not to mention a variety of intriguing places to stay in “KT”.
Boasting some distinctly Muslim world-inspired design features, the facade of Kuala Terengganu’s Paya Bunga Hotel makes it a unique buildings in town. The theme continues into the 208 rooms, where it blends with sleek, contemporary furniture and designs. A location in the centre of town and an air-conditioned walkway connecting the hotel to shopping and drinking options mean it’s also a convenient place to stay.
The dual design forces of red bricks and minimalist black-and-white hues cross paths at this boutique hotel, located in an antique shophouse. Room options include bunk beds, ideal for families. A location in central Kuala Terengganu makes things easy for everybody – especially those in search of Malaysia’s street eats. Staff get positive feedback for both upkeep and service.
The facade of Kuala Terengganu’s Ming Paragon Hotel and Spa boasts an art deco feel – a contrast with much of the city’s British colonial-era or even Muslim world-influenced architecture. Inside, rooms are conservative, comfortable and spacious, with a colour palette that complements the warm woods and soft lighting. A location at the eastern edge of “KT” means both sea views and easy access to street food and shopping.
Resembling a Chinese temple, on the surface at least, Kuala Terengganu’s KT Chinatown Lodge is one of the city’s unique budget places to stay. Inside, rooms are simple, but also cosy and cheerful; its location in the city’s historical district, with easy access to even more fascinating architecture and cheap, tasty street food, makes up for any plain lodgings.
With a distinct emphasis on business, Kuala Terengganu’s Rest and Comfort Boutique Hotel is an efficient, practical office away from home. The 40, no-nonsense rooms span a variety of sizes, all emphasising practicality and comfort. Situated in the city’s premier business park, and with easy access to main roads, the hotel is a convenient base for eating, shopping and transportation.
In many ways more home than hotel, the Come Inn Premium is an expansive, freestanding villa that unites a welcoming, domestic vibe, bright colours, and ample room to move. Located 8km (5mi) southwest of central Kuala Terengganu, the family rooms and kitchenettes here are bonuses for larger groups. The staff have a positive reputation for hospitality, and the local-style breakfast has fans.
This pleasingly symmetrical building block, located just south of central “KT”, houses 36 spacious rooms decked out in white, red and inspirational messages (“Better than I was, more than I am, and all of this happened by taking your hand”). There’s a ground-floor cafe, but it’s a short walk to street-food vendors, not to mention Kuala Terengganu’s beach.
The Asia Premium Hotel is a no-frills option located just south of Kuala Terengganu’s city centre. The rooms feel almost as vast and expansive as the lobby, and offer puffy beds, functional furniture and almost entirely clutter-free walls. It’s just a brief walk to Kuala Terengganu’s city centre, a worthwhile destination for unique architecture and delicious local food.
Situated near Kuala Terengganu’s main mosque, the Grand Puteri has appropriately adopted Muslim world-design elements in its exterior. By contrast, the rooms feel overwhelmingly western and contemporary, gaining a warm feel from dark woods and predominantly red-and-orange hues. There’s a swimming pool, and you’re only a brief walk from tasty local food and some of “KT”’s main tourist attractions.