Think Sarawak, and you likely think of rainforest teeming with rare wildlife. This Malaysian state on the island of Borneo has plenty of that, but it’s also blessed with gorgeous coastline and modern cities such as Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu. Global interest in the region has seen it up its accommodation game substantially, and even the jungle is home to unique – and sometimes luxury – places to stay.
The Ranee Boutique Suites
Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Suite Hotel, Business Hotel
Sculpted out of two adjoining antique shophouses, on the Kuching waterfront, the Ranee Boutique Suites certainly doesn’t lack atmosphere. The 24 suites all have different personalities, with a common thread of old-world charm combined with modern amenities. There’s an inviting library-cum-work space, and you’re perfectly placed to explore the street stalls, markets and shops of Kuching.
We’re curious to know if the Mulu is the remotest of all Marriott properties. Perched beside a river, in deep jungle near the Unesco World Heritage Site of Gunung Mulu National Park, the hotel is all about adventure. Not surprisingly, there’s a focus on activities, from trekking in the park to yoga and other wellness pursuits at the resort.
Miri is a great place to dive into the vibe of coastal Sarawak, and the Marriott Resort & Spa is one of the best places to experience it. With an imposing, Malay-influenced structure and vast swimming pool as anchor, the grounds here also include a sliver of beach and access to other active pursuits. Rooms are subtle and spacious, and numerous food outlets mean you may never feel the need to leave.
Perched on a peninsula north of Kuching is this low-slung, timeless-feeling, expansive resort. The rooms and suites are housed in a series of stately two-storey white structures that are strategically positioned between a backdrop of mountains and a vast infinity pool. Inside the rooms, dreamy cloud-inspired white and water-inspired turquoise set the tone – a constant reminder of the world outside.
With heaps of flair and a location right in the centre of Miri, the Kingwood Boutique Hotel is kind of a no-brainer. The 49 rooms blend contemporary and classic design elements, and bathrooms boast spa-inspired amenities and rain showers. There’s a rooftop bar, or simply wander the blocks surrounding the hotel for the type of street food that makes Malaysia such a beloved destination.
Tube-based accommodation is all the rage in Malaysia, and Kuching’s the Culvert has taken the concept to a new level. Spread over a jungly peninsula north of the city, the rooms range from glass tubes that house little more than a bed and bathroom to suites that claim vast tubs just begging for a soak. There’s an emphasis on sustainability, and a handful of dining options that may keep you on the property.
This self-professed art-rageous hotel in central Kuching brings together one-of-a-kind architecture, convenient commerce and an effortlessly comfortable stay. The 208 rooms are uniformly spacious, with an emphasis on premium beds. There’s easy access to a linked mall – Kuching’s largest – and more-than-just-fleeing views of some of Kuching’s most iconic buildings and landmarks, as well as the waterfront.
Kuching is home to some unique vintage architecture, including the restored three-storey mansion from 1885 that houses the Marian Boutique Lodging House. The exterior sports a Tudor vibe of dark timber and whitewash, an aesthetic that also influences the 40 rooms. Accommodation is breezy and spacious, as one would expect in a building from this era, and the hotel also includes a lauded restaurant and a shop.
The Pullman hotel dominates Miri’s Bagong riverside stretch. The more than 300 rooms provide a distinct sense of openness, and style-wise are dominated by calming greys, whites and creams, with splashes of turquoise that serve as reminders of the waters below. A location only a few blocks from the centre of Miri is a plus, especially for those who are tempted to dig into Malaysia’s lauded street food scene.